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Another season of insight from Work for Good

The parade of insight marches on at Work for Good, the national, nonprofit-exclusive hiring and career resource run by the Georgia Center for Nonprofits. Our monthly newsletters, Hiring Insight and Career Insight, continue to provide of-the-moment advice for purpose-driven employers and talent, helping you make the most of your greatest professional assets: the people who work for you, and the career skills you’ve amassed. (Sign up here to receive our monthly editions.)  

Most notably, we’ve recently delved into the results of our nationwide employee survey and put our findings into Work for Good’s first ebook, The nonprofit workforce speaks: Candid insight to attract, engage, and retain top mission-driven talent. It’s full of encouraging takeaways about sector loyalty and employee satisfaction, indicating a level of engagement almost three times the national standard, and spotlighting a high incidence of sector-switchers making a permanent home in the sector. “This report is good news for nonprofit organizations, demonstrating the commitment of our workforce and the growing demand for purpose-driven careers,” said our CEO Karen Beavor. “Nonprofits can capitalize by casting a wider net for talent, and focusing on what makes our workplaces great.”

The research also reveals pain points for nonprofit workers, including the factors behind a significant rate of financial discomfort, and what employers can do to keep their people on-board and fully invested. You can find the ebook here, along with a video capturing the passion and priorities of nonprofit workers in their own words.

Below, you’ll find excerpts from some of the most compelling articles we’ve shared lately. For more, check out the full range of insight on Work for Good. And if you don’t want to miss a thing, sign up for our newsletters using the form on this page – and be sure to check the box for Hiring Insight!

From Asking too much: Is salary history fair game?

Since 2016, salary history questions have been subject to bans in six states, six U.S. cities, and Puerto Rico… As it’s gained traction in legislatures across the country, a number of thinkers in HR and nonprofits have been writing about this topic and tracking developments. Among the most useful resources so far:

From 12 reasons to hire older

By Janice Burch, career coach and resume writer

I have worked with a number of older job candidates, and I am continually amazed at the level of talent, experience, and wisdom they can bring to their next employer. For the value they offer in terms of resiliency, loyalty, and leadership, the “older worker” should be on every hiring manager’s radar.

  1. They’re focused on end-goals. They won’t drone on endlessly at meetings, wasting everyone’s time trying to prove their value, because they already know the value they bring to the company.

  2. Highly developed soft skills. Groomed through decades of face-to-face communication – in a time before texting, cell phones, and Skype – the older worker knows how to handle a lunch meeting with no hesitation, to engage a standoffish client by connecting personally, and more, using empathy, skill, and confidence. Younger workers can gain much by watching this in action.

  3. Less ramp-up time. After 20 years in a career, older workers understand how each cog fits, and can easily jump in, learn a company’s specific process quickly, and run with it.

  4. They WANT to be there. More concerned with delivering great service, products, and performance than things like status symbols, titles and a corner office – they’ve been there and done that – older workers tend to apply to jobs they really want to do (rather than seeking a stop-gap or stepping stone).

From Why Thomas Edison served soup at every job interview

By Jeff Haden, author and Inc. Magazine contributing editor

Deciding who to hire is part science, part art – even if you actually are a scientist.

Take Thomas Edison. When he interviewed candidates for research assistant positions, he offered them a bowl of soup. Why? He wanted to see whether they would add salt or pepper to the soup before they tasted it.

Those who did were automatically ruled out. Edison wanted people who didn't make assumptions, since assumptions tend to be innovation killers.

Many people use little tests as part of their evaluation process. For years, I used what I called the "receptionist test." Interviewees give you their best: They're up, engaged, and switched on. But how do they act when they aren't trying to impress you?

Think about what matters most in your organization, and devise your own way to test for cultural fit. Maybe you'll use a version of the server test. (You know how you go out to eat with someone and they're nice to you, yet dismissive of the server? That's the server test.) Maybe you'll do what a friend of mine does, and see if the candidate pitches in to you help stack a few boxes at the end of an assembly line.

Whatever you do, the goal is to learn more about the candidate, so you can make a better hiring decision.

From Do tell: Preparing for every interviewer’s opening line

By Alnierys Venegas, Supervisor of Program Initiatives at Sinai Health System

If you’re like a lot of jobseekers, you dread the moment when someone says, “Tell me about yourself.” But have you thought about why?

Getting a job involves more than just submitting your bona fides. It takes a story: one that’s composed strategically to connect your past experience, your career goals, and your next move – that is, the opportunity at hand. Here’s how to figure out yours:

Know yourself. Engage in self-reflection exercises such as the Myers Briggs personality test. These will allow you to understand your strengths, weaknesses, and career propensities.

Seek a mentor. Looking for a job can be frustrating, but it can be even more difficult when you don’t have a sense of direction. A mentor will help you set tangible, realistic goals, and then hold you accountable for them.

Create your dream job description. At some point, most people – even those deep into their careers – find it impossible to define exactly what they want to do with their professional lives. One way to begin figuring it out is to write down your career desires in the form of an imaginary position. Start with your goals, and then describe the types of duties, responsibilities, and work environment that would make up your dream job.

From Stand up! Getting a new perspective

By Laura Paradise, career coach

Want to show up alert, energized, and confident? You can use these tips while gearing yourself up for an face-to-face encounter, interviewing over the phone, or getting through a hard day – anytime a perspective shift might help.

Stand up. You’ll have more energy, feel a greater sense of weight and substance, and be more in contact with your feet and legs, causing you to be more present.

Take a walk and look all around you. Walking gets you out of your mind and into your body, and looking outward counters the depleting effects of navel-gazing. Together, they remind you that there is a vast world beyond your worries (and your computer screen). Make a point to look in all directions – north, south, east, and west – and think about where each could take you.

Use visual symbols. Reflect on qualities that inspire you and give you strength, then choose a visual you can look at, or picture, to connect with that energy. For example, a redwood tree might convey strength and growth; an image of Rosa Parks might say “speak your truth”; a mountain view might represent the satisfaction a goal reached. (You can even get a talisman to put in your pocket and carry around as a “tactile” version.)

From Effective reference checks: Early, open-ended, and expansive

By Charlene Fitzpatrick, president of human resources consulting firm The HR Girl

Here are my tips for making getting the most out of reference check:

Check references early. Contrary to what you might think, saving reference checks for last isn’t always the best idea. Conducting the reference check early on in the process can provide clarity around which individuals to advance, and which to eliminate. If you wait to check references after you’ve already made your hiring decision, the chances of you absorbing any negative information about the new hire are slim, which can lead to costly mistakes.

Ask the right questions. It is imperative to always ask open-ended questions, and never cut off the person talking: Your goal is to have a conversation about the applicant, not to get yes-or-no answers. Realistically, and as is proper, most employers follow rules regarding what they can share about previous employees. However, that shouldn’t stop you from asking for information that will assist in your decision.

Dig deeper. Don’t be afraid to ask the references listed by your candidate for more people to talk to: Speaking with people who your candidate didn’t list ensures you will get very honest information. The purpose isn’t to disqualify your candidate, but rather to solidify the information you’ve gathered from the candidate and their references.


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