How to get the best job applicants -Do Good Jobs

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Nothing sends an enticing message to prospective employees like a great recruitment process – and that all starts with your job listing.

A clear recruitment process saves your time and that of your prospective applicants – sending a clear message that your organisation is respectful and efficient.

Ever been baffled by jargon in job vacancy listings? You’re not alone. It’s a bit like real estate lingo. You know, where a ‘cosy’ house actually means a very, very small house and ‘needs some work’ equals bankruptcy for the average person? It’s worse in corporate sector ads but the not-for-profit world has its fair share of couched language.

All the care that goes into your print advertising and social media campaigns so their snappy, succinct and with clear asks? That’s what we’re going for here.

The basics:

  1. Include a full job description, including remuneration
  2. Specify whether the job is contract or permanent
  3. If it’s part-time, clarify how many hours a week it is
  4. State office location or remote
  5. If flexible with hours, be clear about what that looks like

The importance of disclosing salary

Stating that salary rates are negotiable or dependent on applicants experience and qualifications is not okay these days. As a manager, you’re clear on what your budget is for this role. It’s only fair you share that information. If you don’t know your budget yet (perhaps you’re waiting to hear back from the board), then your organisation is not ready to advertise.


Being clear about remuneration avoids putting applicants on the spot or having to be proactive in negotiating a rate they think is fair. The practice of not disclosing salary and putting the onus on the applicant to start the process of negotiation is proven to discriminate against people of colour and women as they’re generally (statistically) less likely to either ask for a competitive wage or be given it. It also sends a message that sounds a bit like “we want to pay as little as possible while still having you work your ass off for our product/service/mission”. Not a look you want for your organisation. Vu Le from NonProfitAF writes beautifully about the importance of disclosing salary HERE.

Do you really need someone with a degree?

In 2018, 100 companies signed an open letter stating that people don’t need a tertiary qualification to work for them. Instead, recruiters were focussing on other attributes like skills, experience and aptitude. This sent a strong message from corporates that university education is now seen as one way into a role, others being just as good.

Not-for-profits working in community development, or with lower socio-economic folks, need to be especially careful about asking for tertiary qualifications in job listings. Requiring your people to all be tertiary qualified could be said to smack of privilege. If you’re listing a community engagement or coordination role then surely experience and proven success rates higher than study? A friend’s organisation was hiring a Community engagement coordinator recently and community members their organisation worked with complained about tertiary education being a requirement. The target community for the organisation’s work is mostly a lower socio-economic demographic who have largely not had the opportunity for extended study. The community’s request was for the focus to be on hiring someone who had lived experience of the issues they were experiencing AND experience that proved the other skills needed to do the job well. Fair enough.

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

Lastly, keep your communication clear. Make sure your website is up to date and portrays an organisation people want to work for. The best applicants always do their research. Replying individually to each application can be a lot of work, so set up a canned response for applicants (check out our recruitment email templates too).

Studies show that job seekers don’t apply to not-for-profits who didn’t acknowledge the receipt of their applications in the past, or failed to outline the recruitment process and timeline. If we consider there can be a hundred applications on average each vacancy, that’s a PR disaster!

A positive job application experience has all of your applicants moving on with their high regard for your work intact. And results in a great hire.


Original article on the Do Good Jobs website HERE


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