How Social Entrepreneurs Can Hire Talent Effectively

A good hire can do wonders in building the right kind of team

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The rise of social enterprises is undoubtedly a much-needed and exciting addition to the development space, globally. Yet, they are still bundled together with traditional NGOs and are surrounded by misconceptions: voluntary work, less pay, extreme work-life balance or merely a charity. A social enterprise rarely includes any of these and is defined as ‘a business for good’. As a result of such misconceptions, these social enterprises often struggle to attract the right talent that will help their organisations scale and grow.


Given below are a few suggestions that can help social entrepreneurs attract and hire the right talent.

  • Create an exceptional job description:

A concise job description clearly states the vision, mission and values your social enterprise stands for, the social change the enterprise seeks to bring as well as the details of the role and responsibilities. Do away with the jargon and articulate how the role brings value to the overall goal of the organisation.

  • Be involved in the hiring process right from the start: While the delegation of tasks is critical in enhancing overall productivity of the organisation, having the senior management involved in the hiring process right from the start can help find more suitable talent.  To attract the right team members for your social business, it is essential to emphasize on the strengths of the organisation: talking about the impact you have created, or how the enterprise is socially, environmentally conscious and changing the society or the world - a task that no one but the founder (or very senior leadership) can do better.

  • Seek support from the board members and advisors: Hiring in the development space is largely based on networking or word of mouth. Given the sector is highly referral and relationship driven,  it is a good idea to seek advice from board members on the different kinds of role you are keen to hire for, as well as have them speak about the organisation in their circles. Experienced development sector professionals can provide insights into relevant profiles as well as the overall governance of the organisation.

  • Understand what inspires/motivates your potential employees:  Understanding candidates’ motivations, and how they want to make their career meaningful or the kind of impact they are looking to create will help the organisation in assessing a good fit. This also goes a long way in understanding how their skills can add value to the goal of the organisation.

  • Address key concerns brought up by the interviewee: Whether financials, relocation or any other concern, be empathetic to the interviewee’s concerns and deliberate how to address the same. The right candidate with the right attitude can do wonders for your organisation. Surely you can work around matters that are not integral to your organisation?

  • Include Employee Value Proposition in the offer letter: Employee Value Proposition includes benefits that a candidate receives in return for a good performance, skill set and valuable experience they provide to their role. To retain employees long-term, it is crucial to offer them something beyond their salary, something that keeps them deeply invested in the organisation. These could be a bonus, learning and development opportunities, career progression, healthcare support and more. For those candidates who are seeking to create a meaningful career, the opportunity to grow, and learn are vital.

  • Inspire them to join your social enterprise.

In the beginning, what a social enterprise need is a belief in their purpose, and why they are trying to solve a particular problem. Thus, for you to find people who believe in the purpose of your organisation, you have to inspire them. They need to clearly understand why you exist, and how they will fit and support you in solving the problem. Once you are able to persuade them, it will be easy to convince them to join your team.

An organisation is only as good as its employees. This is even more crucial in the early stages when an organisation is looking to build a certain culture and emphasize its values. A good hire at this point can do wonders in building the right kind of team. A strong team will enable the social enterprise to scale-up as well as navigate the uncertainties and ambiguities, which are always a part of such organisations.

Social entrepreneurs must market their goals and work to attract young and passionate talent. This will go a long way in creating a strong pipeline of learners and aspiring employees.

Hiring the right talent may seem challenging but it is a challenge that social entrepreneurs must take for this is crucial to the success and impact of the enterprise.