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How to improve the recruitment process for not-for-profit organisations

Not for profit recruitment

Although there are issues in the not-for-profit sector when it comes to recruitment, it’s often down to a gap in knowledge around the available options when it comes to recruiting. Other than the obvious, agencies, websites and papers that the sector has always relied on, there is a certain lack of clarity around what the options are.

So as a not-for-profit, if you are struggling to find staff or attract volunteers… what can you do about it?

The first thing to do is look at where time is being consumed during the hiring process, what processes are manual, monotonous, prone to errors and takes too long. One infamous area of recruitment is the sorting process whereby applications and CVs are checked, the best fit for the role is considered and communication goes out to the candidates informing them that they have/ haven’t made it to the next stage. Automate this process!

Recruitment survey image

If your applications aren’t coming into a central, online portal (not your inbox), then you are wasting hours, potentially even days of manual effort. Consider an applicant tracking system, or if you aren’t in a position to take on a system full time, there are services out there that allow you the use of a system for the period of 30 days or until the end of your campaign.

When it comes to interviewing, hours of time can be consumed by speaking to the shortlist of candidates, not only taking up your time, but theirs as well. Many companies consider using telephone interviews as an additional shortlisting step, or even video interviewing. Video interviewing enables you to remove the distance element from the recruitment process, no matter how far the candidate lives from your location; you can have a ‘face-to-face’ interview with them. This potentially opens the doors to international hiring which is a notoriously untapped resource for the not-for-profit sector.

An attractive trait to working in the not-for-profit sector is the importance placed on organisational values; whilst this is key to many not-for-profits, other sectors focus on things such as working practices and perception of the organisation within the marketplace. This needs to be celebrated not only in job adverts but also over the company’s careers page. Candidates that apply to a charity will almost always apply because they have some sort of appreciation for the organisation’s mission.

Staff retention is one sure way to keep recruitment costs down. Staff churn is a huge cost to businesses from any sector, with the cost of training and investment into the employee disappearing as they leave the business, added to by the cost of sourcing, training and replacing with a new candidate. By using assessments such as psychometric testing, candidates can be compared against your ‘best’ and longest standing employees.


Outsourcing these solutions to individual companies would be a costly endeavour however centralising them with an Applicant Tracking System that provides diverse functionality saves both money and time. ATSs come in a range of sizes and shapes although it is essential to work with a provider that knows and understands the problems faced by the sector.

Vacancy Filler work with a number of charities and other organisations in the not-for-profit sector from British Cycling, Museum of the Year: Victoria and Albert and also St. Mungo’s Broadway.

More information around our work with the not-for-profit sector can be found here.

For more information on how we can help your organisation contact Vacancy Filler Recruitment Software on 01509 236 434 or email 

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