Something Worth Reading: Rethink hiring development talent through the article “Stop Using a Left Brain Process for a Right Brain Situation”

I stumbled over this article post today while perusing linkedin. It’s definitely something to get you thinking. Lou Adler, whose specialty is performance based hiring talks about reimagining how you think about recruiting and attracting talent. One of his most salient points is:

Most left-brained hiring processes are designed from left to right, weeding out the unqualified candidates and force-fitting those that remain into a pre-defined job. A right-brained, more creative process is designed from right to left. It’s purpose is to attract the best by emphasizing what the person will be DOING and could BECOME. In this way what the person GETs is not a filter to engage in a conversation, but part of a balanced negotiation. ….

The traditional default left-to-right hiring process begins by posting a skills-infested job description. This process will only work in a talent surplus situation where there is an excess supply of good people available. It also assumes that the best, fully-qualified people are willing to take lateral transfers. This alone limits the number of qualified and highly motivated people who apply. Worse, the process won’t work in a talent scarcity situation when the demand for talent outstrips the supply. In this case, an “attract the best” approach is essential. 

How many organizations have you seen realize they need a new principal gifts officer or high-level database manager and the first thing they do is post a job description with 20 bullets on proven experience and background desired of the candidate? Mr. Adler points out that this mechanism only will work when you have many candidates to choose from and simple need one to meet the base and to fill. In a talent scarcity situation, which describes the development field as the data has told us again and again, this process actually limits both the talent pool you reach as well as the qualifications and appeal of the position itself. The best performers need to be attracted to the position.

So, when it’s time to hire someone new (or even when looking at retaining and growing your existing talent), try thinking from the other side of Adler’s spectrum and ask yourself – what does this position offer the candidates beyond a salary? What opportunities do we provide that will make a top candidate choose us? Non-profits have an advantage in this area because their mission and vision tend to fulfill a social desire to do good, but they tend to fall behind in demonstrating that their open positions can impact someone’s personal and professional goals as well as their pocketbook.

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One thought on “Something Worth Reading: Rethink hiring development talent through the article “Stop Using a Left Brain Process for a Right Brain Situation”

  1. Pingback: 5 Contingency Plans for When Hiring a New Fundraiser Has Stalled | Targeting Fundraising Talent

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