NGO Recruitment: How To Make The Right NGO Employee Hire

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While hiring a new employee is challenging for any organisation, non-government organisations face present and emerging obstacles when searching for a great hire. Working for an NGO is very different from working for a for-profit business, and it can seem like the talent pool is shallow.

That said, hiring is a critical aspect of NGO operations, especially to expand and achieve their objectives. As the number of non-profit foundations, charities, and for-profit businesses grows, NGOs will have to face even more competition for knowledgeable professionals.

Here’s an explanation of the obstacles today’s NGOs face, a few tips to help you make the right non-governmental organisation hire, and how to get expert help from a professional NGO recruiter.

Hiring Challenges Faced by NPOs

Frequently, non-governmental organisations face the following difficulties when recruiting:

  • Lower pay. For most job seekers, pay is one of the most important factors when considering a job. Because NGOs often have a smaller, finite budget to work with than a for-profit company, compensation and benefits packages tend to be more generous from the latter. However, if an NGO is also a registered charity, they have access to special salary packages that for-profit businesses cannot use.
  • Odd hours. Most NGOs in the social care sector work odd hours. It may be required that an employee travel or work nights or weekends, which can be a deterrent to some job applicants.
  • Goals seem unattainable. Non-profit organisations are addressing major societal issues, which can seem like a never-ending uphill battle. New employees are often enthusiastic initially, however, they may become disillusioned over time if progress is slow or benchmark “wins” are few and far between.
  • Burnout. The above-mentioned issues often result in high turnover rates for non-governmental organisations. Employees experience burnout more quickly with higher demands, more hours, and low pay.
  • Difficulty finding applicants that share company values. Locating job seekers that are genuinely engaged in your organisation’s goals and purpose is often one of the most challenging tasks. Because NGO work is hard and often rewarding in less traditional ways, the best results are usually obtained when the candidate has a personal passion for the type of work your organisation does.

Although for-profit companies have an abundance of applicants to choose from when hiring, nonprofits often find it difficult to attract and keep top talent.

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Specialist Recruiter

Your ideal employees are not the same as people sought by for-profit organisations. Today’s top talent is more difficult to find than ever before, and hiring a specialist recruiter is something to consider.

Here are some pros and cons of utilising specialized recruiting services:


  • Specialist recruiters often have access to an existing talent pool of active and passive candidates that are interested in NGO-type roles.
  • Your company won’t have to spend time and resources going through resumes in an effort to select the best candidate; instead, you can focus on continuing to drive towards company goals.
  • Specialist recruiters generally have a wealth of industry experience to offer, which can be paramount in locating and selecting the right talent for your organisation.


  • Hiring a specialist recruiter does add some extra cost to the overall expense of filling a vacant position in your NGO. However, this often balances out the cost of training and losing poor-quality candidates.

In many cases, it’s budget that holds an NGO back from hiring a specialist recruiter. That said, it’s important to weigh up the potential benefits to your company that working with a specialist would have. If you were to crunch the numbers, you may be surprised to find out that you actually don’t have the budget to hire top talent without the help of an NGO job recruitment specialist.

Look for Life Experience and Be Open to Training Professionals With Other Backgrounds

Skill sets are only one aspect to look at when hiring an NGO employee. It’s a good idea to review them, and they can be helpful in the selection process, but it doesn’t always imply previous related work experience. People with unique experiences in life or who have held different types of jobs can also make excellent NGO employees.

Consider applicants who have worked for a non-governmental organisation in the past, or have volunteered or interned with one. You can also apply greater “weight” to applicants who have had experience working in your sector, whether it be on a personal or professional basis. These people are more likely to have the skills you are looking for, and more tailored training can be done once the individual has been hired.

Get Help With NGO Job Recruitment Today

NGO recruitment can be easier for non-governmental organisations with the help of an NGO recruiter. At Australian Barnardos Recruitment Services (ABRS), we understand the hurdles faced by NGOs when looking for top talent.

As the only charity-owned recruitment agency in Australia, our experienced consultants work closely with non-governmental organisations in the social care non-profit sector to assist them in locating employees who are a great match for their company. Contact us today to speak with an NGO recruitment specialist to learn more about how we can help your organisation.

Contact ABRS today to submit a vacancy by clicking here or calling 02 9218 2334.

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