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7 Tips for Conducting Effective Virtual Interviews

By | HR | No Comments

It’s a job-seeker’s market right now, with more jobs open than people applying for them. In June 2021, for example, job openings in the United States rose to slightly over 10 million, an unprecedented surge.

Accounting and finance are already highly competitive job markets, with companies and nonprofits vying for the most talented professionals. In this atmosphere, employers must understand the differences between interviewing job candidates in person and through teleconferencing. More and more, companies are using technology to screen applicants, first by screening resumes and then throughout the interview process. By understanding and using the virtual interview process effectively, you can shorten the time it takes to find and hire great candidates.

7 Tips to Host Effective Virtual Interviews

  1. Invest in the right software.
  2. Send instructions to the candidate.
  3. Leave 5 minutes for a test run of the software.
  4. Prepare for the interview.
  5. Ensure adequate light.
  6. Check the sound quality.
  7. Minimize distractions.
  1. Invest in the right software.

You don’t need an expensive platform, but you do need a platform that allows for adequate time for the interview. Zoom, GoToMeeting, JoinMe, and other virtual meeting software often limits the amount of time or the number of people on a free virtual call. Investing in a simple hosted plan can help you ensure you have adequate time for the interview. If you do opt for a free package, be sure to have a backup plan ready if you decide to go over the time limit. There’s nothing worse than getting cut off in the middle of a conversation!

  1. Send instructions to the candidate.

Don’t assume that the candidate has the software downloaded or even knows how to use it. Send them simple instructions and a link to where they can download the software free of charge. Make sure to send such instructions at least twice, once when you schedule the interview and the day of the interview itself.

  1. Leave 5 minutes to test the software.

Leave at least 5 minutes between interview appointments so that you can test the software and your connection with the candidate. You may need to spend a few minutes at the start of the call getting the candidate familiar with the software, for example, if they want to do a screen share to show you samples of their work.

  1. Prepare for the interview.

Just because the interview is virtual does not make it any less important than an in-person interview. Hiring managers should prep for the interview the same as they would an in-person interview. Have the job description and the candidate’s resume in front of you, either on a second screen or printed out. Be sure to introduce yourself and explain how your position interacts with the position the candidate is interviewing for and add any information that will help the candidate understand the role, the company, or the interview process. Develop your questions beforehand and keep them handy, jotting down notes or asking permission to record the interview for reference later.

  1. Ensure adequate light.

It’s off-putting for both candidates and interviewers to speak with someone who looks like they’re working in a cave. Make sure you have a good light source illuminating your face from in front or the side. If you do not have access to natural light, invest in a ring light, a simple gadget that provides better lighting for virtual calls. These can be found in many online stores for a nominal fee and attach directly to the computer monitor to provide good lighting. Candidates need to see your facial expressions and you need to see theirs to help you both feel at ease.

  1. Check the sound quality.

Computer microphones vary in sound quality. Put on your headset, if you have one, if the candidate cannot hear you easily. Make sure you both know where the “mute” button is on the screen as well in the (likely) event of background noises: pets and children both seem to sense an important call and crash it accordingly!

  1. Minimize distractions.

Check your software to see if it has a “blur” feature for the background. If you are interviewing the candidate from home and wish to maintain more privacy, blurring the background can remove any identifying pictures of family or children or simply blur out a distraction, like interviewing from the kitchen and showing your sink full of breakfast dishes in the background. Minimize distractions by closing your office door, moving your computer to a quieter location in your home, and asking a spouse to watch young children while you’re on your call. And of course, turn your cellphone to mute, and turn off instant messaging to avoid being interrupted.

With the right software and preparation, you’re well on your way to hosting successful video interviews and finding great accounting and finance professionals.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

How to Improve Employee Retention by Improving Corporate Culture

By | Abila, Accounting, Corporate Culture, HR, MIP Fund Accounting, Nonprofit | No Comments

We’ve all seen the statistics: it costs several thousand dollars, and several weeks or months of lost productivity to fill vacancies. Nonprofits face additional employee retention challenges in a strong economy with low unemployment. Retaining skilled employees becomes more challenging in a strong, robust economy.

There is no one size fits all program you can put into place to improve retention. Instead, consider building a sustainable corporate culture that encourages people to feel loyal to your organization.

What Is Corporate Culture?

Corporate culture is the overall tone, mood, feeling and method of work that occurs within an organization. While difficult to define, it is easy to spot. A productive, positive corporate culture leads to loyalty, low turnover, and high productivity. A negative corporate culture leads to disgruntled employees, poor productivity, high turnover, and myriad other problems.

 

Improving Corporate Culture

The Harvard Business Review lists several methods to improve corporate culture.

 

  1. Clarify the organization’s vision. Nonprofits who successfully retain employees have a clearly defined vision for their organization. Pathway to Stop Diabetes, an initiative of the American Diabetes Association, has a clearly defined mission: “Our visionis simple yet revolutionary: find a new generation of brilliant scientists at the peak of their creativity, then provide them with the freedom, autonomy, and financial and professional resources to set them on the road to breakthrough discoveries.” A defined vision helps unite and clarify the work of everyone at a nonprofit, enhances company culture and is a central point around which all conversations can revolve  .
  2. Hire the right people. We know, it’s easier said than done, but hiring people who believe wholeheartedly in the vision is an important step toward building organizational culture and reducing turnover. Look for people with a demonstrated work history aligned with your mission. People’s actions speak louder than words when it comes to demonstrating their values, and their work history is the record of how they implement those values in their careers.
  3. Develop guiding principles. Guiding principles are the shared statements that reflect how to implement the mission and vision of an organization. They also document how you expect employees to behave, treat one another, and do their work. Guiding principles should include the ideas and concepts you would like to inculcate throughout the organization. A corporate culture that accepts and honors diversity, for example, might have as its guiding principle tolerance for all races, creeds, religions and sexual preferences; a corporate culture that values innovation might have as a guiding principle the embracing of creativity and the time needed to generate creative ideas.
  4. Build a compelling narrative. Narratives are stories and every nonprofit have its own unique story. Marley’s Mutts, a nonprofit animal rescue in Bakersfield, California, builds on the narrative of the founder’s battle with end stage liver disease and the role that Marley, his dog, had in helping him overcome hopelessness. That bond between dogs and people is what inspires all of Marley’s Mutts actions and programs including their prison outreach, special needs children’s outreach, and rescuing so-called unadoptable dogs from shelters around the world.
  5. Promote connections. People are less inclined to leave an organization if they feel strong connections to it and to others who work there. Millennials are often cited as lacking loyalty, but in fact, they simply have a low tolerance for boredom and the lack of interest in their work. Build connections to the organization through promoting challenging projects, increasing responsibility, and improving chances for advancement.

 

Building a strong corporate culture to improve employee retention takes time and effort. Make it a concerted effort among your leadership team, human resources, and managers to enact positive changes that build culture and improve loyalty.

 

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting is a technology firm empowering nonprofit and government organizations with effective software, consulting & training that can help you with your accounting needs. We are committed to finding the most affordable technology, the most powerful solution, and providing expert support. By leveraging technology and superior reporting, our team helps to free more of your time to devote to the important work of your mission. We bridge people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We are passionate professionals who choose to work in the nonprofit sector for the same reason you do – helping others. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

Understanding Generation Z in the Nonprofit Workforce

By | E-Learning, HR, Nonprofit, Training | No Comments

With Millennials being the largest generation in the workforce, it’s no surprise that recruiters have been working diligently to understand the needs and wants of this generation.  HR departments around the country have discovered and implemented strategies to connect with Millennials to recruit and retain them.  It just may be time that a new generation takes the spotlight: Generation Z.

Recently, Jason Dorsey, from The Center for Generational Kinetics, enlightened the audience at AICPA Not-for-Profit Industry Conference with an overview of what Gen Z is all about, and what that means for everyone else.

Here are the top six takeaways shared from Dorsey regarding Gen Z and the workforce:

Who is Gen Z? The Center for Generational Kinetics defines generations by life experiences and geographies – not a span of time. Gen Z is a group of individuals born 1996 to present date.

  1. Work Ethic: There’s hope for the future with Gen Z. Dorsey shared that Gen Z is anticipated to “leapfrog Millennials in the workplace due to their higher work ethic and lower expectations.” This is key to takeaway, as early Gen Zers are already out in the workforce and many are available for hire.
  2. Money Management: A major difference between Gen Zers and Millennials is the recession. Gen Zers are not as conservative with money, since they didn’t experience as much of the recession as Gen Yers.
  3. All the Technology: Gen Z is far more technology savvy than the technology-dependent Gen Y (Millennials). If you’re looking to hire a well-rounded, technology-savvy individual, then don’t overlook this generation of digital natives.
  4. Attention Span: According to our 2017 Member Professional Development Study, the attention span across Gen Yers, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers peaks from 30-minute educational courses to one-hour courses. Members of Gen Z are expected to have even less of an attention span, so fast-paced environments will work well for these individuals.
  5. Driver of Key Trends: With an entrepreneurial spirit, Gen Zers are going to be key in driving trends, which can benefit your organization in brainstorming new solutions, creative content, and money management.

If your nonprofit is looking to grow, then the needs and talent of this generation shouldn’t be ignored – they’re ready to get their hands dirty and take your organization to the next level!

Take a look at Welter Consulting’s previous blog post for some fantastic ideas regarding retaining millennials and other generations, Attract and Retain the Best Employees with Job Flexibility Offers.  Also, don’t miss out on attracting a board member from all generations and professions.  Check out Millennials: Ready, Willing, and Able to Serve on Your Board for more information.

 Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

The Skills Nonprofits Need in 2018 – and Beyond

By | HR, Nonprofit | No Comments

As you start thinking about the year ahead, it’s time to think about the skills your team needs to move your nonprofit forward. Whether you already have team members with these skills or you’ll need to hire new employees with them, the fact remains that these are the skills most sought-after among employers.

The Top 5 Skills Nonprofits Need Now – and Why

  1. Cloud and Distributed Computing: So much of our software is moving to the cloud we predict that site-based software and support is going to be hard to obtain in the future. For these and other reasons, it just makes sense to move things to the cloud. Not only can you save money on your software, hosting, and security, but it also enables better data sharing, storage, and updates. If you don’t have someone on your staff knowledgeable about cloud computing, consider adding it to an IT job description or finding a consulting firm to assist with cloud migration.
  2. SEO and SEM: Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing refer to specific tactics your website utilizes to boost its visibility and hence its clicks and interactions. Adding these skills to your nonprofit will be invaluable in the upcoming months and years as competition for clicks increases.
  3. Business Intelligence: Business intelligence refers to the ability to gather data and information from one or more computer systems and distill it into usable facts. BI system can synthesize financial, accounting, sales, marketing, donation, grants and other information into one report that your nonprofit can use for better business management. Without BI systems in place, your organization runs the risk of having to export multiple data files or reports and manually extract data from each to get the big picture of the organization.
  4. Network and Information Security: You may think that your nonprofit is safe from cyber attack, but in many cases it’s not. Cybersecurity is critical for nonprofits, many of whom rely on small teams and volunteers for assistance. And while many security breaches are preventable, you still need someone in your organization to advise your teams while troubleshooting and fixing your systems.
  5. Corporate and Nonprofit Law and Governance: Corporate laws, including laws that apply to nonprofit organizations, continually change. It’s important to have someone in your organization who understands their application to the nonprofit world and who can help you adhere to all laws pertaining to corporate management and governance. It’s also helpful to have an accounting team member who understands the nuances of pending FASB changes as they pertain to financial reporting, such as FASB 606 changes, which will impact grants and contracts.

Hiring or Outsourcing to Get the Skills You Need

To find the skills you need on your team, you’ll need to hire new employees, train current employees, or outsource the needs to a consulting firm.

Network security and high-level accounting are both examples of skillsets that can be outsourced to a consulting firm. In both areas, consultants may actually be a better choice, because they regularly interact with numerous organizations and work hard to stay abreast of the latest developments in their field.

Training is available through local colleges/universities and professional organizations. This may be sufficient for current staff members who need a refresher or update on specific skills.

As the new year approaches, make a commitment that you’ll work to ensure your team has the right skills to meet the challenges the future brings. To serve members, constituents, and others, you need to be on the cutting-edge of many areas that the corporate world emphasizes, too.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.