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What Do Non-Profit Recruiters Do?

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  • Written By: Terry Masters
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2016
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Non-profit recruiters typically work to identify, recruit, qualify and place executives in open positions in the non-profit industry. This type of recruiter performs the same duties as for-profit recruiters, except in a different context. The most relevant distinction between what non-profit and for-profit recruiters do concerns the way candidates are selected and vetted for positions. Candidates selected to work for non-profits must often be above reproach financially, morally and ethically, because the ability of a non-profit to raise money depends on the public's confidence in the organization's leaders. Many for-profit companies have the luxury of hiring based solely on skill and aptitude for the job.

At a basic level, non-profit recruiters do the same things as their for-profit counterparts. Recruiters are expected to identify candidates. They do this by placing job ads in relevant places and by engaging in a process often called "head hunting." A recruiter head hunts by identifying a qualified non-profit executive who is currently working and trying to entice him to throw his hat into the ring for an open position with a different organization. Once candidates are identified, non-profit recruiters must vet their qualifications by checking work histories, conducting interviews and administering personality and aptitude tests.

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Those candidates who successfully make it through screening are matched to open positions that are listed with the staffing agency. Non-profit recruiters manage the candidate's interview process and the firm's relationship with client until a job offer is made. Once the candidate is hired into the position and remains in it for a specific length of time, the firm is paid a placement fee and the non-profit recruiters begin identifying new candidates to start the process again.

These duties are the same as those assigned to for-profit recruiters. The difference in the two positions lies in the nature of the underlying industries. Non-profits operate based on public confidence. If the public loses confidence in an organization's leadership, donations can dry up. One scandal involving a non-profit executive can put the organization out of business and lead to formal governmental investigations.

The role of non-profit recruiters in selecting appropriate candidates to fill open positions is somewhat more critical in this context than it is for ordinary corporations. Filling an executive director position for a major cultural institution, for example, can send ripples through the donor base that can immediate impact an organization's bottom line. Non-profit recruiters must add a level of personal and professional vetting to the candidate selection process that protects its clients against poor choices that only become evident after hiring.

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