Newsletter – January 12, 2012

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Selling your job openings, better reference checking, and more

Hello friends,

I hope your new year is off to a great start! Since I’m assuming that all your new year’s resolutions revolve around management (don’t everyone’s?), here are five to get you started…

1. Articulate What Doesn’t Fit in Your Culture

When you’re looking for ways to articulate the values you expect your staffers to live up, one great way to capture their meaning is to talk about what behaviors don’t fit into your culture. We love the way the Center for Community Change has done this; as you can see in the second page here, they’ve listed not only what it means to live out each of the organization’s core values, but also what it would look like not to. For instance, behaviors that don’t fit their value of courage include “hanging back and watching things unfold until it’s safe to express an idea or opinion that may be unpopular; avoiding making hard choices and thus spreading ourselves thin; going along with what’s easy even when it’s not right; and not admitting your shortcomings or failing to ask for help or admit you were wrong.”

2. Use Your Job Postings to Sell the Job (and Your Organization)

All too often, organizations forget that job postings shouldn’t just list responsibilities and qualifications – they should also sell the job and the organization to your target candidates. Your job postings should get strong candidates excited about the possibility of working with you and make it impossible for them to bypass your ad. Here’s an example of how KaBOOM! made over the job posting for a project manager position. Take a look at the before and after versions!

3. Get Better Insights from Job References

We don’t believe that checking references is the be-all and end-all in hiring (simulating the job is our single favorite tool!), but references can be quite helpful, especially when you’re on the fence about someone. This article from Brian Halligan has great suggestions about how to ensure you get the most valuable information out of your reference calls. One recommendation from the article: “My favorite trick is asking, ‘On a scale of 0 to 10, what is the likelihood you would hire this person again in the future?’ Once you get the answer, follow up: ‘Why not a 10?’”

4. Retain Your Best People

Once you fill that job opening with a great person, you want to make sure that you don’t lose him or her! One way to do that is by being strategic about retaining your best people in the same way that you’d be strategic about anything else important – fundraising or campaign strategy, for instance. Even taking just 60 seconds to think through your strategy for retaining your top performers can make the difference between keeping a star staff member long-term or losing her to another opportunity. Here’s an embarrassingly simple chart to help you do that.

5. Improve Your Project Tracking

If you feel like your project tracking isn’t all it could be, here’s an example of how the New Organizing Institute tracks its team members’ projects, deadlines, and where work stands.

As always, I hope these resources are helpful in your work!


Jerry Hauser
The Management Center

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