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Innovation@Work: Informational Interviews Lead to Talent Pipelines

What if your organization could connect with great talent, deepen its networks and promote its employer brand? There is one simple way to achieve these goals: informational interviews.

For New Profit Inc, a national venture philanthropy fund that makes portfolio investments in innovative nonprofit organizations, informational interviews are a part of doing business. According to Kathryn Price, New Profit’s Director of Operations and Talent, the organization has made a mission-driven commitment to meeting new talent.

New Profit Inc. makes approximately 10 hires per year, but receives inquiries from jobseekers on a regular basis. While they can’t hire everyone who is interested in their work, they try to meet with as many jobseekers as possible, and ultimately develop relationships with talented people they can consider for future positions. When New Profit or one of its portfolio organizations has a hiring need, the organization can easily tap these talent pipelines for candidates.

This past year, New Profit Inc. conducted about 60 informational interviews. The Talent Team helps to facilitate this process, and invites all staff members to participate in interviews.

“Conducting informational interviews reflects our spirit of wanting to be a good member of the community. It’s part of our culture,” said Kathryn, “Nearly everyone across our organization conducts informational interviews.”

As a result of informational interviews, Kathryn reports that she is better able to keep her finger on the pulse of talent that is interested in New Profit Inc. Whenever the organization launches a search, Kathryn has a talent pool that she can go to right off the bat.

In addition to building talent pipelines, informational interviewing has provided a great training opportunity to staff. According to Kathryn, staff gain an opportunity to be external facing and hone their ability to talk about the organization.

For organizations that are interested in conducting more informational interviews, Kathryn has a few suggestions:

  • Interview every referral from every source if possible. You never know who is going to be a great candidate for a future position, or a valuable source of a referral.
  • Dedicate a portion of staff time to conduct interviews. Assign individual staff as interviewers based on functional or subject-matter expertise.
  • Keep interviews to 30 minutes or less. Talk about the interviewee’s career interests and backgrounds, but don’t conduct a full-fledged job interview.
  • Encourage interviews to be a two-way street. If someone that you are interviewing is connected to potential partners, funders or board members, don’t be afraid to ask for introductions.

 

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