Hiring continues to be top of mind for leaders across advancement shops, as there has been no decrease in folks leaving our industry, moving to a new opportunity, or retiring altogether. This is nothing new: Recruitment and retention have been buzzwords for years now. And yet, too many shops aren’t taking action to build a culture that actively supports successful recruitment.

This is where many of us turn to search firms when we have a position open. Search firms can be great partners; but, not miracle workers. They need us to do our part too. Yet, I find so many of us aren’t sharing our recruitment goals with our teams, and even fewer are blocking time on calendars to make connections, mine LinkedIn, host informational interviews, or create a proactive plan for growing candidate pools.

Imagine what just 5-10 minutes a day dedicated to spreading a positive word about your team and your institution would do to support your efforts next time you hire someone. Don’t know how to begin? Start here:

  • Think about the most ambitious, positive language you can use to share about your team, your institution and your cause. Now, where do you share it, both internally and externally? Remember that retention is more effective than recruitment, so make sure you use your language with colleagues too.
  • When you and members of your team attend conferences, webinars or other professional development or networking events, how do you talk about your institution and open/upcoming positions? What tools are you providing to support these important discussions?
  • How are you networking with institutional partners (admissions, career services, annual fund, patient services, etc.) to find new talent that can be a transferable skills hire? Are you sharing your openings across your alumni network, volunteer/auxiliary groups, and program staff?
  • Every member of your team can contribute! How do they speak and post online about your institution? Are they networking? What tools can you give them to support your growth efforts? (My favorite is a card that shares your team values, with a QR code linking to open positions.)

We are in a fight for talent. But we are also an industry of incredible purpose and mission. Many of us even came to this field by accident. And now our role is to educate others about how our own teams can offer careers that provide fulfillment, joy, and impact on issues we care about deeply.

We can do this in just 5–10 minutes a day — a small investment that could yield you and your team some incredible new teammates.

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