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Overcoming recruitment challenges in faith-based organisations

When the job market is experiencing a skills shortage across multiple sectors, acquiring talent for Christian charities, adds another dimension to the challenge. Faith-based organisations have this additional layer of difficulty as they desire a unique individual. Whilst they’re not necessarily delivering ministry, these charities will represent Christian institutions and therefore must reflect a specific message. What this means is with a lot of vacancies - for example, a fundraiser opening – the right candidate cannot simply have fundraising experience, but there is genuine occupational requirement for the individual to come from a faith-background. Finding practising Christians who accept the organisation's faith statement and have the skills needed narrows the field dramatically.

With the number of Christians in the UK on the decline, attracting the right person is incredibly difficult. There are many questions that will be posed:

  • Where do we find these unique candidates that tick all our boxes?

  • What language do we use in the job ad that does not alienate other candidates, whilst at the same time, ensuring the applicant understands the values and mission of the organisation?

  • Once an ad has been created, how do we know where to place it?

Building a faith-based recruitment system

A faith-based recruitment process is far more than simply placing an ad, it’s understanding what an individual organisation needs and keeping the mission of both the charity and the beneficiaries at the centre. Success also comes through accessing communication channels that are likely to be picked up by faith-centred individuals and utilising multiple platforms and means of connecting with them.

There is also a very distinct discernment process that must take place both with the clients and candidates. It’s about building a full and comprehensive recruitment process that not only assesses the skills and competencies of candidates but is framed in such a way as to evaluate and measure their commitment to the ministry of the church at the very least and a comprehensive knowledge of what faith-based charity work is all about.

We also find that organisations are going to require a greater degree of flexibility on a variety of fronts. Finding a candidate to tick every box might not be a realistic approach, so understanding your non-negogiatbles is really important. But exploring your appetite for flexibility is important. For example, will you consider candidates without charity sector experience? What is your approach to hybrid working? Is your salary really competitive against the sector?

A team from faith backgrounds

Charisma has over two decades of experience working in this area, and I joined in 2019 with the heart to grow our support of faith-based organisations stemming from my training for Baptist ministry and subsequent service in the local church and then leadership positions within the sector. Since then, we have been blessed to support many purpose-driven organisations with over 25 placements in the last 12 months in Christian organisations.

This workload meant that we needed another Christian recruiter to join our team, and our prayers were answered earlier this year. Nick Thomas joined us as a recruitment consultant with not only recruitment experience and CIPD qualifications but also experience as an Associate Pastor and Centre manager for Christians Against Poverty in Southampton. This has enabled us to strengthen our offering to fill vacancies for Chairs, CEOs, Trustees, Directors, and many other requirements for those with an active Christian faith through to those where it is not required.

During September and October we are working a number of Christian charities including Feba, Home For Good, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Mission Without Borders, St. Paul’s Cathedral and more. We ran a week-long ‘Job of the Week' slot on Premier Christian Radio as a different strategy to reach more potential candidates. We will also be running adverts in October through their printed media as well.

Shaping your recruitment

Recruiting in this space is certainly challenging and we face obstacles all of the time. Sometimes it can feel like a maze, but we are here to help guide and support through the twists and turns until a successful appointment is made.

If you are looking for a recruitment partner who understands the unique needs of faith-based organisations, please contact us today. We would be delighted to discuss your needs and how we can help you to achieve your goals, please do contact the Charisma team.