Sunday, May 17, 2009

When Hiring Advancement Staff (Part II)

In my last post, I spoke to importance of looking for character and curiosity when hiring advancement staff. Many of you might agree but may wonder how to find those traits and to make sure they are real. To get at the issue of character, I propose the following questions that can be asked of the job candidate or, with a slight rephrasing, of that candidate's references.

1. Under what circumstances would you say no to a gift or cease negotiations with a willing donor? Have you have encountered such a situation? What factors did you consider in making your decision? What did you tell the donor?

2. If you had to write a code of ethics for an advancement operation, what would you consider the 3 to 5 most important tenets?

3. What are the most important obligations a development officer has to the institution that he or she represents? To the prospect? To the donor? To their peers? To their boss? To their subordinates? To their own consciences?

4. Can you name a time when you were willing to stand alone or do something unpopular because it was a matter of conscience? How did you express your point of view? How did others react?

5. Who or what has shaped your moral and ethical development? How do you call on those sources in times of struggle?

Please keep in mind that we are not looking answers that are right or wrong according to only our world view or faith; we are looking for evidence of depth of thought and the ability to carefully consider, and reflect thoroughly, on the consequences of ones actions.

To discover a candidate's level of curiosity, I suggest the following questions:

1. What mysteries of life would you most like the answer to?

2. Name six people living or dead that you would most like to meet? What would you ask them? What would you most like to learn about them?

3. What would you most like to know about the institution that you are applying to? About this division or office? About me?

4. If you were asked to write an article about the art of the interview, describe your personal style and your favorite techniques for drawing out prospects? Describe how you have helped prospects articulate and understand their animating passions?

5. What countries would you most like to see? What books would you most like to read? What skills would you most like to develop? What adventures seem most appealing to you?

Once again, you are not looking for right or wrong answers; you're looking for indications of a fertile, open mind with a driving desire to learn. The asking of these questions will do more than provide you with insight into the person you are considering bringing on to your team; it will tell the job candidate what you value. And the more we make it clear that we are seeking those with values, the richer and more relevant our applicant pools will become.

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