Great! you’ve got your new funding in place and have an idea about what kind of person you want for the role. Now you need to craft the perfect job description.
Here are our top tips to help you best present your vacancy and attract the best people.
1. Remember that the job description has a “shelf-life” and it’s not just a document that is used as part of the recruitment process. When someone is in post this document outlines their core activities and may form part of a re-grading or job scoping exercise at a later date. So give it due care and consideration.
2. Include a stand-alone paragraph early in the document that clearly outlines the main purpose of the role – not the tasks, not the responsibilities – the clear and actual reason for the job existing in the first place.
3. Although this is a formal document, try and give it some “personality”. Choose language, a writing style, even a font, that represents your charity’s style and ethos.
4. Use two sections to outline the tasks. Every job has some really important elements, call these Key Responsibilities. Other, less frequent or lower priority elements of the role should be called Other Responsibilities. If you lump them all together, applicants won’t know what the priorities of the role are, and therefore how suitable they are for the position.
5. Link the job description with a clear person specification. Know the difference between the two – the job description outlines what the job entails and the Person Specification outlines what skills and experience you need to do it.
Great, you have an interview… now what?
How much do you know about the charity or organisation you are interviewing for? It should be plenty, and much of the information you need is available online. Here are tips on how to research, get the inside scoop on the culture, and use your connections to gain an interview advantage.
Visit the Charity Website
Visit the charity website, review their mission statement and history, services and management, as well as information about their culture. The information is usually available in the About Us section of the site.
Use Social Media
Check Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Like or follow the charity to get updates. You’ll find information you may not have found otherwise. LinkedIn company profiles are a good way to find, at a glance, more information on the charity you’re interested in. You’ll be able see your connections at the charity, new hires, promotions, jobs posted, related charities, and statistics. Take a look at your interviewer’s profile for insight into their job and their background.
Google and Google News
Search both Google and Google News for the charity name. You can also set up alerts to receive a notification when they are mentioned in the news.
You may be asked to take originals and photocopies of your professional qualifications and/or your original passport or birth certificate to confirm you have the right to live and work in the UK. Failure to take the required documents with you to interview may give the impression that you are disorganised or unable to follow instructions.
If you are asked to prepare a presentation as part of your interview, we would suggest you forward a copy of this to us prior to your interview to enable us to forward to the panel. Technology doesn’t always work the way we want it to so please ensure you take a hard copy of your presentation with you just in case your pen drive or memory stick doesn’t work on the day.
On the day
Plan your route, allowing extra time for any unexpected delays. Arrive early for your interview (but not too early) -we suggest 10 minutes before your interview is due to start. It does not do any harm to do a test journey to the interview location in advance. Remember traffic varies at different times of the day and car parks can be full at peak times. Have change with you in case you have to park on a meter. If you are too early you can always go for a coffee and look over your notes.
Whilst you may anticipate your interview taking no more than an hour, on occasion, they do run over the time allocated which may result in your interview time being delayed.
Dress to Impress
If your appearance is neat and clean, you will give the impression of being someone who is organised and pays attention to detail.
Whether you are asked to meet the charity for an informal chat over a coffee or attend a formal panel interview, first impressions are very important! We would recommend you always dress smartly when meeting your potential new employers.
No one has ever not been offered a job for being too smartly dressed!!
You should always have some questions for your interviewer to demonstrate your interest in the position. We recommend you prepare a minimum of three questions, some of which will give you more information about the job and some which delve deeper into the culture and goals of the charity.
Do not ask questions about time off/holidays at interview as this can show a lack of commitment if you are already thinking about how short you can make the working week. If you need flexible working for an issue like childcare please discuss this with the recruiter at application stage as they can on your behalf before the interview.
Flexible working is not always appropriate to a role or charity and employers do not like to find the perfect candidate only to then be forced into negotiations on hours.
Finally, everyone at Charity Careers Scotland wishes you the best of luck!
What do you do when you start in a new third sector communications post with a blank piece of paper and the freedom to shape your organisation’s digital profile?
To avoid being overwhelmed by the technical jargon regarding the digital world we’ve compiled our top 5 list of resources to help you on your way:
Lots of resources including free how-to guides and online training courses on digital comms on KnowHowNonProfit.
Fundraising UK Ltd helps charities in the UK and internationally to use digital tools and channels to enhance and extend their existing fundraising activities.
Insight, advice and best practice from the Guardian Voluntary Sector network.
2. Forums & Blog Posts
Together We’re Better is the online community for not-for-profit digital professionals
Zoe Amar is a charity marketing and digital communications expert and freelance consultant with extensive experience in developing and delivering marketing, digital communications and social media strategies.
Kirsty Marrins has been working in Communications for the charity sector for the past seven years and has been responsible for social media, PR, managing websites, producing enewsletters and copywriting. She has presented at a number of conferences and is a Media Trust trainer. Kirsty is also a proud Trustee of the Small Charities Coalition and a CharityComms mentor.
Charity Chap is a digital marketer. He helps charities use digital channels to raise more money and reach more people. charitychap.com
3. Social & Actual Networking
Charity networking events from the I Am Networking group on LinkedIn.
@nfptweetup has been created for charities & nonprofits wanting to use digital & social media more effectively. Founded by@rachelbeer, sponsored by @justgiving & helped by many.
4. Consult the experts
Sound Delivery are a specialist digital media training, production and consultancy company with a passion for digital storytelling, offering hands-on training workshops and creative production services to help organisations to tell their stories better and get their messages out to new audiences.
The Media Trust improve the way your organisation communicates through training, consultancy, film production and distribution services.
Third Sector Lab is Scotland’s leading digital media agency working solely with voluntary, social enterprise and public sector clients. We provide a wide range of digital services, including website design, social media strategy, training and event support. We’ve been privileged to work with a wide range of clients including Oxfam, Voluntary Action Fund, Enable Scotland, Tramway Theatre, Relationships Scotland and Voluntary Arts Network.
5. Membership & Mentoring
Join a network of charity communications professionals and take advantage of the excellent resources to help you and your organisation develop your communications.
If your organisation is eligible, become a member of the Small Charities Coalition, it’s free to join and you can apply for a mentor too.
Many thanks to all the contributors on The Third Sector PR and Communications Facebook group for providing their expertise and advice.