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Hiring for Social Impact Businesses: Creating Connections

Hiring for Social Impact Businesses: Creating Connections

The hiring process is all about finding the right fit for the role based on your candidates’ talents. However, as a hiring manager for a socially-minded business, it’s equally important to prioritize relationship-building so you can understand your candidates’ values. After all, your team members are more likely to have an impact if they have a vested interest in your cause or share your values.

By taking a proactive approach to relationship-building in the hiring process, you’ll create the perfect team in a fraction of the time. Let’s explore how your business can forge connections during the hiring cycle, from automating interview scheduling to publicizing your mission statement. 

Connect candidates with your company’s mission.

Unlike other companies, social impact brands have a unique aspect that can bring people together during hiring: your philanthropic mission. Start by creating a page on your website that clearly outlines your mission and how you plan on achieving it. Ensure it’s in a visible place and is mentioned on your hiring page so your candidates immediately know your business goals. 

As you start the hiring process, incorporate mission-related questions into the interview and ask interviewees to describe:

  • Their past experiences with a philanthropic cause or organization
  • How their skills and interests will advance your mission
  • An idea they have to improve your company’s pursuit of your mission
  • Their connection with your cause

By engaging your candidates’ passion for social justice early on, you can gauge their enthusiasm for your cause while showing that you care about their philanthropic interests. Plus, you can use this information to further personalize the interview and hiring process.

Make communication feel authentic.

While general language works for impact-driven marketing efforts to recruit applicants, you should take a more personal approach to communication with candidates that proceed through the cycle. Make the conversations you have with applicants more genuine by:

  • Sending personalized email updates. Keep your candidates engaged by sending application updates with their names, desired positions, and other personal details so the correspondence feels organic. 
  • Encouraging open conversations. Invite candidates to ask questions and provide feedback on their interview experience, even if they don’t end up taking the job so you show that you value their opinions. 
  • Inviting advocates to be part of the conversation. Connecting applicants with your cause’s supporters helps them learn more about your company’s mission and emotionally connect with your brand. Provide contact information for a supporter to applicants so they can reach out if they have additional questions.

From the moment you advance a candidate past the general recruitment round, you should also work to deepen your relationship past what’s written on their resume. Show your commitment to the candidate by expressing interest in their honest thoughts and regularly contacting them.

Embrace virtual tools and experiences.

With remote work skyrocketing in popularity over the past few years, there has been a similar increase in hiring software. With technology, your social impact business can make the hiring process more engaging, thorough, and accessible to applicants near and far. For instance, you can use:

  • One-way video interviewing software. This software records your candidates answering a few questions fully remotely so you can quickly identify the best applicants to send to in-person interviews. This allows you more time to make the in-person section more personal so you can forge a connection.
  • Webinar software. Another way to take the pressure off applicants during the hiring cycle is to host large-group meetings. Use webinar software to host large meet-and-greets where they can meet other team members and ask questions about the company.
  • Automated interview scheduling software. Juggling interviews with your busy schedule can be difficult. Make it simple by using digital tools that schedule your interviews based on your and your applicant’s availability. 

The right technology stack can help add value to your hiring process, facilitating deeper relationships with your applicants and making your company stand out from the rest.

Include a day-in-the-life chat.

As much as you’re interested in your candidate’s character, they’re interested in your company culture and team values. Provide a more holistic picture of your company culture by scheduling day-in-the-life conversations with other team members.

These short conversations are meant to take the pressure off the interviewee, allowing them to ask a potential colleague questions in a more laid-back setting than an official interview. Plus, it allows team members to see if the candidate’s personality clicks with the company culture from a different perspective than leadership. 

To set up a day-in-the-life chat, all you need to do is:

  • Ask your existing team members if they can conduct the conversation. When reaching out to recruit participants, emphasize that this isn’t a large time commitment. You could even incentivize participation with rewards, such as extra time off or lunch on the company’s dime.
  • Connect the candidate with your team member via email. Once you make the connection between the two parties, the team member will be responsible for reaching out to the prospect with a short introduction, calendar invite, and virtual meeting link.
  • Provide your team members with a general outline of what to say. While this shouldn’t feel like a highly rehearsed or structured conversation, it helps your interviewers to provide them with guidelines so the talk is productive. You can either provide exact questions or let them ask their own, but ensure they gather enough information to report back on certain criteria, such as the candidate’s professionalism and enthusiasm.

By providing the candidate with more touchpoints within your organization, you facilitate relationship-building across multiple teams and authority levels so your prospective hire has a better understanding of your business.

Forging relationships during the hiring process isn’t just about finding the best talent for your company. Applicants who have a real connection to your cause and align with your company culture add authenticity to your business and ensure you focus on what matters most: your mission. By using these tips, you can build your brand on genuine connections and attract passionate advocates to enrich your team.


Javan Van Gronigen Featured Guest Expert – Javan Van Gronigen 

As Founder and Creative Director of Fifty & Fifty, Javan is the tip of the proverbial spear. Javan started his digital design career 20 years ago as Art Director for what is now one of the world’s largest digital agencies (Mirum, a JWT Company). He then moved on to Invisible Children where he was responsible for managing the team and all digital assets through the entire historic Kony 2012 campaign. At Fifty & Fifty, Javan has participated in and led every project, including 300+ websites, campaigns, and brands.


Guest Post

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