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Losing Top Candidates? Revisit the Pace of Your Recruitment Process

By Jennifer Dunlap, President and CEO, DRiWaterstone Human Capital

In today’s employment market, things are moving incredibly fast. The number of available opportunities has grown significantly over the last few years, giving candidates more options as they search for a role and an employer that aligns with their individual purpose and goals.

According to the Pew Research Centre, “2.5% of workers – about 4 million – switched jobs on average each month from January to March 2022.” And those job changes were happening fast. LinkedIn’s 2022 hiring trends found that top candidates are “off the market in 10 days” and that a majority of candidates believe the turn-around time from first interview to job offer should take “less than two weeks.”

Hiring committees that don’t react to market conditions when building out their talent acquisition strategy risk losing out on top candidates. It’s something the executive search team at DRiWaterstone Human Capital is seeing more and more in our work with non-profit or social impact clients who have been having trouble winning the race for talent.  

Thorough, thoughtful talent acquisition processes make sense given that the cost of a bad hire is up to 30 per cent of the employee’s first-year earnings (according to one estimate by the U.S. Department of Labor). But in today’s market, slow processes can hinder more than help your recruitment process.

Three barriers to winning the talent race:

  • Over interviewing
    We’ve all had an over interviewing experience – where you feel like you’re being asked to meet everyone in the organization before a decision can be made. Hiring committees need to be confident their top candidate(s) meet the skills requirements for the role and that they’ll align to the purpose and culture of the organization, but in today’s market that assessment must happen in an efficient manner. Determine who absolutely must meet each candidate and then look for opportunities to streamline your process (e.g., introducing panel interviews if appropriate). The candidate and your existing team will thank you.
  • Scheduling delays
    From finding time in busy calendars to unexpected requests to reschedule, scheduling delays can wreak havoc with your hiring plans. Whether you reserve blocks of time for potential interviews during the hiring window or offer off-hours times (e.g., after work or on weekends), leaders need to be as flexible as possible when it comes to scheduling in order to reduce delays and move candidates though the process in an efficient manner.
  • Holding on too long
    In a candidate-driven market like we’re seeing today, there’s no time to wait and see if someone else comes along who is a closer skills match or just a bit more aligned with your purpose. Holding on too long sends a message to the candidate that you’re unsure and makes it easier for them to take their job search elsewhere. If you’ve found a candidate you like, move them forward or make your offer as soon as you’re confident in their ability to do the job and drive results for your team.  

Work with experts in recruiting and retaining talent

Working with an experienced executive recruitment team is a great way to keep your search on track and ensure you’re able to find and hire top talent who is aligned to your purpose and has the skills needed to help you meet your revenue and performance goals. DRiWaterstone Human Capital’s team has more than 20 years of experience working with mission and purpose-driven clients in the non-profit and social impact space. Book a call with one of our search experts today and let us help you win top candidates.

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At DRiWaterstone Human Capital, we have the opportunity to help exceptional clients fill roles that are integral to their ability to meet their strategic and revenue goals. We are also fortunate to have placed some of the best candidates working in the non-profit and social impact space.

Meet: Ron Estrada, CEO at Farmworker Justice

DRiWaterstone led the search that recruited Ron as CEO of  Farmworker Justice in March 2022. The national advocacy organization for farmworkers is based Washington, D.C., and works to empower farm and agriculture workers to improve their wages, working conditions, occupational safety, health, immigration status, and access to justice.

As CEO, Ron stepped into an organization “that needed an infusion of funds and a refreshed approach to how we were doing our work,” he says. And he’s already had the chance to make an impact – with bold ideas for change and some historical activations.

We recently sat down with Ron to catch up on his first few months in the new role, and learn more about his experience working with the DRiWaterstone team.

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DRiWaterstone (DRiW): How are you enjoying your role?

Ron Estrada (RE): It has definitely met, and in some places exceeded, the expectations in terms of what the role entails as far as the opportunity to make an impact and drive results that move the needle for the farmworker community. That’s not always the case when you come into a new position. But taking a 40-year-old organization and having the opportunity to move it forward is something I was certainly looking forward to taking on, and it’s absolutely been what I expected and enjoyable.

DRiW: Describe your job search experience. What was it like working with the DRiWaterstone team?

RE: Without a doubt, there’s a significant, positive difference in working with an executive search firm. At DRiW, I felt there was a team genuinely representing me and supportive for my advancement.

There’s was an immediate connection and sense of trust. They gave me that sense of “I have someone here who’s calling it like it is and wants to see me succeed and be the best both for the organization and my personal growth.” The team was very attentive to detail and very communicative. It put me at ease and made me comfortable reaching out to the team with any questions. There was nothing that I heard from DRiWaterstone that made the role a surprise for me. It was very clear: finance and fundraising was going to be critical, there were going to be issues around leadership change (my predecessor was in the role for more than 33 years) so there were going to be some bumps that comes with such change.

DRiW: What surprised you most about your experience working with the DRiWaterstone team?

RE: I’ve worked with a handful of other search firms, but I felt right away that DRiWaterstone provided a sense of “this is real, it’s a true opportunity that you have in front of you and here’s what you need to do and our recommendations to best prepare you.” Others were more “we have a position open, would you or someone you know be interested?” So, it wasn’t really about me. With DRiWaterstone, it was a three-way communications platform - DRiWaterstone, me and the organization – and so I found that it was really well communicated what everyone’s needs were.

DRiW: What do you love about working in the non-profit/social impact sector?

RE: You really do get a chance to impact lives. My career trajectory has positioned me at the intersection of advocacy and social impact. I not only love what I do, but I truly believe I am at the right place at the right time. Representing communities that lack basic human rights and still remain largely invisible to the general public. I now have the opportunity to see my work be directed to a greater good, and that’s not often the case outside the non-profit sector.

DRiW: What advice do you have for other candidates looking to change roles in today's job market?

RE: Number one it’s find an opportunity that you truly and genuinely care about. If you have the comfort and the flexibility to put salary and compensation aside and not make that the number one priority, definitely go with something you are passionate about. However, you also need to be true to yourself and ask the question, “Do I have the tools to elevate this position, and the wherewithal to make an impact and contribute?

I left a corporate position for a non-profit. A number of non-profits approached me, but it wasn’t until I saw Farmworker Justice and saw that they actually play this critical role in feeding the country and bringing food to tables, that many of the US farmworkers are still treated as invisible and with no dignity. I knew I could come in and make a difference. I felt this immediate connection. That’s what’s going to get you over those tough moments – where you’re having issues with unforeseen factors or just having a tough day. The fact that you’re working in a space you care about, that’s your north star.

The advice I got and advice I’d love to underscore for corporate to non-profit, especially the CEO, is be patient as you grow and do the appropriate assessments and reviews. That was advice DRiWaterstone gave and I certainly would validate it.

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At DRiWaterstonewe have the pleasure to work with some of the best clients and candidates in the non-profit and social impact space. To learn more about how we can help you build high performance teams and drive growth, email us – we’d love to talk!

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