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Daily Nuggets: A For Impact Blog

Hire When It Hurts


From the archives, but still relevant today – Read on for Tom’s thoughts on hiring.

Read a really terrific book called REWORK by the founders of 37 Signals. As are almost all of the books I really, really love, this is simply a collection of nuggets, loosely framed.

Three of the twelve nuggets from the chapter on HIRING really jumped out at me.

1. Hire when it hurts. “Don’t hire for pleasure; hire to kill pain.” I can’t tell you how many organizations I’ve been around that desperately want to hire a ‘Major Gift Officer‘ or more ‘Major Gift Officers’!

Nobody has prioritized their top prospects (Master Prospect List). Nobody in the organization has visited with their Top 10 or Top 20 or Top 33. There’s no Message, no Math, no Model.

Yet, we think hiring another development person/MGO is going to make some kind of difference.

2. Resumes are ridiculous. I can’t agree more with this. As they say, anyone can create a decent resume. Job titles, responsibilities, timeframes, then shotgun to hundreds of potential employers.

“If you hire based on this garbage, you’re missing the point of what hiring is about. You want a specific candidate who cares specifically about your company (organization), your products, your customers and your job.”

*And, I would add, in our world, your IMPACT!

I met a super candidate for a development opening with one of the best arts organizations in Ireland. I asked her to send her bio so I could pass it along to the right people. She didn’t. Instead, she:

  • Customized her past experiences to better relate to the organization.
  • Customized a cover letter explaining why she really wanted this and how her talents fit the role.
  • Customized a list of ideas and action she thought the organization could take in the States that would have a huge return.

WOW!

3. Years of irrelevance. Been one of my proverbial pet peeves for a long time. Does 20 years of development experience mean one year of experience repeated 20 times? Is 20 years of development experience based on a fundraising model from the 1950’s a good thing? Does 20 years of experience mean so much baggage that there is no potential for trying a different model or changing the way they work?

“How long someone has been doing it is overrated. What matters is how WELL they’ve been doing it.”