Shelley Poole

Jul 9, 2022, 10:00 AM

Values in recruitment – How can charities find the ‘right’ employees?

Recruiting the ‘right’ people is an important part of managing a successful charity, but is not always as easy as we might hope. We may feel like we’ve hired the perfect candidate in terms of experience but find that they don’t fit into our organisation as seamlessly as we’d hoped, or we may struggle to attract the right candidates in the first place.

One reason that we may be making mistakes in this area is by not focussing enough on values during the recruitment process. We obviously want to find candidates who can do the job we’re advertising, but we also want to find candidates who will live up to our charity’s values while they’re doing it.  Here are some values-based considerations to bear in mind when deciding how to manage the recruitment process.

Make sure your values stand out

Anyone considering employment with you needs to be clear on what your values are, and you can let people know in a number of ways. If a jobseeker sees a role advertised, they’re likely to look at your website to find out more about your business, so make sure that your values are prominently displayed on it. You also need to make them an integral part of your recruitment and induction process.

When you’re recruiting a new role, consider how your values will be shown in the way the successful candidate does their job. Your values should translate into behaviours which the candidate will need to display on a day-to-day basis, so show this in your job description. Making this as clear as possible will help cement what you want from a candidate and will attract the kind of people you want to employ – as well as putting off the kind of candidates you don’t!

Create a clear job advert

Once you’ve finalised your job description, consider how your values can be shown in your advertisement. You can highlight your values in each advert to show how important they are in your organisation. It’s a good idea to specifically state that the charity’s values are important and that everyone working in the organisation must share those values.

You should also clarify how they come to life in everyone’s day-to-day work. You can go back to the job description to see what behaviours were listed and ensure that that comes across clearly in your advert. For instance, if you work in the care sector and one of your values is compassion, a question in your job advert could be ‘Can you demonstrate how you’ve shown dignity when managing residents’ individual needs?’ or ‘Are you keen to positively influence our clients’ experiences of living in our homes?’

It's also important that your advert doesn’t go against any of your values. If inclusivity is a value of yours but your advert states that the role is 45 hours a week, with no option for flexibility, and contains a very long list of essential qualifications which are not hugely relevant for the role, can you really say that you’re an inclusive organisation?

A successful example of utilising values in adverts can be seen in Mencap, who wanted to improve their ability to find successful candidates who were a good fit for, and were more likely to stay in, their organisation, and to give people with a learning disability a role in the recruitment process. According to their case study, shown on the CIPD website, they altered their method to align more with their organisational values, creating adverts featuring the individuals who required support and then involving those individuals in the selection process. This has had a positive outcome for both Mencap and its beneficiaries.

Consider implementing values-based recruitment

More and more businesses are implementing values-based recruitment, ie checking that the candidate’s values align with the values of the organisation. 

A values-based recruitment model would include the two points we’ve already discussed in addition to a methodology for testing these values in the interview and onboarding process. This can include things like running personality tests, situational judgement tests, roleplaying as part of the interview and values-based interview questions.

Show employees that your values are consistently important

When you find a good candidate, it’s important to hold on to them. Those who have joined your charity will want to see your values being adhered to throughout the whole of their employment with you.

So don’t forget to check periodically that your people processes are still fit for purpose and linked to your values. How you reward employees, how you develop them and how you manage situations where values aren’t being shown all need to be considered in order to keep your best people.


Shelley Poole

Shelley Poole is an Associate of Action Planning who runs the HR consultancy business Wellington HR Limited, and is also the Chair of the West of England Branch of the CIPD.


Having the right people doing the right things in the right way is fundamental to a not-for-profit’s potential to achieve its aims. Action Planning has deep experience of helping organisations find the right people, develop their skills and enhance and measure their effectiveness.

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