Last week on the blog we shared 7 steps in How to Recruit the Ideal Candidate: Part 1. And today we share part 2!

Once we have defined the role, written the job description, built the ideal candidate profile, determined salary range, created the job posting and identified our sourcing strategy, we can now think about accepting resumes and selecting a candidate.



Resume screening can be divided into three steps:

Based on the structure and format of the resume, has the candidate given us the best opportunity to get to know their skills and experiences?

  • Is the resume easy to read? Can we understand their skills and experiences and what they are capable of?
  • Is their writing style effective? Are they able to communicate an idea in succinctly? Have they ensured that the resume they are presenting is in the best form or format that it could be?
  • To help narrow down the pool of candidates, we can scan the resume for 3-5 keywords that represent the skills and experiences we’re looking for. Be sure to include some equivalents (manager – supervisor, team lead, etc.), so that language isn’t a candidate’s deciding factor.

When we read the resume to evaluate their skills against the job requirements, can we confirm that some of the secondary criteria of the job have been met? For example;

  • Level of education
  • Years of experience
  • Salary range
  • Current location
  • Skills required for the job
  • Level of responsibility

Now let’s conduct a full review of their resume, including a subjective, qualitative read of their job history.

  • Does the candidate demonstrate a history of advancement including increasing responsibility?
  • Does the candidate have experience in the nonprofit sector? If so, how do the sizes and budgets of previous organizations compare with ours?
  • Can we see the relevant work experience in their resume?
  • Does this role mean an increase or a decrease in responsibilities for the candidate?
  • Are they overqualified? Would they be willing to accept a lower salary?

There are some red flags to watch out for. They do NOT necessarily mean that the candidate should be rejected. However, they may warrant some questions and conversations during the interview process. Often, these so-called red flags can be explained by the candidate and if they otherwise convince us that we want to interview them, then they deserve the opportunity to do so. They may be;

  • Gaps in work history (some of us have babies, experience illness, take sabbaticals, care for a sick parent, etc.)
  • Multiple jobs in short time periods (some of us have runs of bad luck, sometimes financial strains can impede effective decision making, there are plenty of toxic work environments, etc.)
  • Significant reductions in responsibility (sometimes we’re more attracted to the organization than the role, sometimes we have personal issues to deal with and choose a reduction in responsibilities, sometimes we have to take what we can get, etc.)

There are other aspects of the resume that may tell us something about the candidate. Such as;

  • Are they involved in team-based extra-curricular activities?
  • Does their voluntary experience reflect management or leadership activities?
  • Do they communicate well on paper? How is their spelling and grammar?
  • Have they paid attention to the details?

Sort resumes into three piles;

  • Looks great – let’s schedule an interview!
  • Not sure – let’s put on hold for now, and perhaps reconsider later
  • Not what we’re looking for



Although they may not work for everyone, telephone interviews can be an effective tool that saves our time, and potentially, the candidates’ as well. This process can help us learn a little more about the candidate before the formal interview stage and help us eliminate a few other candidates.

Here are some telephone interview tips;

  • Start with a friendly introduction and confirm the candidate’s continued interest
  • Plan the questions you want to ask ahead of time
  • Focus on determining the suitability of the candidate
  • Determine whether the candidate has the basic qualifications and might be a good fit:
  • Why did you apply for this position?
  • What experience do you have that could help you do this job?
  • What skills do you have that would make you a great fit for this position?
  • We can use this opportunity to enquire about salary expectations. What kind of salary range are you looking at?
  • We can follow up on questions we may have had during the resume review process, such as details about gaps in employment history
  • When would the candidate be available to start?
  • Let the candidate know if we have any other tests or inquiries (such as criminal record checks) that may be required
  • Thank them for their time
  • And unless we know for certain that we are inviting the candidate for a formal interview, don’t commit


  • Determine who will be involved in the interview process
  • Will there be more than one interviewer – together or separately?
  • Keep to our tight timelines; from the start of the in-person interview process right up to the hiring decision



Having an evaluation guide where each candidate is rated on the same criteria makes for a fair evaluation. Below you’ll find two examples within the Candidate Rating Sheet. We can choose which guide works best for us, our organizations and the position we’re trying to fill.


Examples of Candidate Rating Sheet


Using the guides above, interview notes, discussion with co-interviewers and reference checks, we can select the best candidate for the role.



A contractual-style employment offer letter is the best way to ensure we have communicated key employment information effectively to the new hire so that thre are no misunderstandings and expectations on both ends are clear and transparent. Additionally, an offer letter supports performance management.



After we have confirmed a successful candidate and a job offer has been accepted, we can advise all other candidates who did not get the job.



New employee orientation is an important step in creating a positive impression and establishing employee loyalty and retention. Orientation provides new employees information about the organizational culture, business, strategy, policies and procedures, as well as provides a clear understanding of performance expectations.

Developing a strategy for hiring the right people for our organizations is a critical leadership skill. We hope this blog series has helped the journey.

Until next time,


*This week’s blog was written by Tina de los Santos but was adapted directly from a guide and white paper written by PLC’s HR Coach, Jill Martin, CHRM. If you have any HR related questions and you work at a nonprofit in Peel Region, you can reach out to Jill for free at 416.451.3708. You can also get more information about Jill and PLC’s free HR Coaching HERE.

Tina brings a diverse mix of nonprofit and business leadership to her role at PLC. Throughout her career she has been passionate about creating engaging learning experiences that support and inspire people’s professional and personal growth. Tina is our chief knowledge sharer and enjoys digitally connecting with other leaders in Peel to help them find great resources and learning tools.



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