Sector urged to prioritise feedback amid charity recruitment crisis

Charities have been urged to prioritise feedback amid the sector’s ongoing recruitment crisis.

Staff attraction and retention consultant, Paul Nott says that the sector needs to “get used to” thinking about candidate experience in the same way it does about supporter experience.

“The sector is finding it harder than ever to attract talent, but time and again those who do attend interviews after hours of writing an application, preparing for an interview and giving up time for the interview itself don’t receive feedback to help them improve for next time. As a sector we need to get as used to thinking about candidate experience as we do about supporter experience," Nott said.

“It’s not only the right thing to do morally, but for the sector. We need to do all we can to make our sector an attractive prospect for talented employees and a big part of that is communicating with them and treating them with respect."

It was previously reported that charities are facing a post-pandemic recruitment crisis.

Sector job applications slumped more than three quarters over the last year. While the average number applying for each job was 100 in May 2020 by July 2021 this average had plummeted to just 24.

Providing feedback

Nott told Charity Times that charities should provide feedback and ensure that the panel know they will need to provide feedback. They should include a feedback section on their interview notes so it’s easy to create.

They should also let the candidate know if they have been unsuccessful as soon as you can and tell them they can have feedback when they are ready. Be aware that not receiving an offer can be an emotional time, so it may not be the best time for absorbing feedback.

Feedback should also be factual, based on evidence from the interview and constructive. “There were others with more experience” isn’t very helpful, he points out.

Key points to let candidates know include:
- Which of the criteria they fell short on and why that is important to the role
- What the strongest parts of their interview were, using specific examples (without being so glowing that they are confused why they weren’t offered the role)
- Where they could have gone into more depth or given more examples to illustrate
- If they were lacking in some experience that would support them in applying for similar roles, it’s OK to offer advice about how they may be able to build up the experience they are lacking.

“Don’t forget to thank them for their investment of time,” Nott added.

“It is incredibly easy to create a positive experience and however you give feedback, the fact that you did it at all will mean a great deal.”

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