How to Hire a Grant Writer, Part 3

What should an applicant know about your company or organization when they apply for the vacancy? Next to your public affairs department, a grant writer is your most vital spokesperson, and while a good candidate will memorize key facts about your organization from the job listing, an outstanding candidate will do their research to memorize more than a standard boilerplate.

The economic climate has motivated more people to pursue a shotgun job hunt approach. Hundreds of applications go unanswered, and while this is dismal from the position of the applicant, your highest priority is to find the best from that growing stack of résumés.

One way to find the stars is by separating the form submissions from the tailored products. People who submit a cover letter without ever mentioning the name of your organization should be rejected. A cover letter and résumé should follow traditional standards of highlighting those skills that directly correspond to the job post. Employers love to discourage phone calls, and while phone inquiries should not be explicitly welcomed, leave the possibility open to gauge how proactive your applicants can be. Anything to learn more about the organization should be seen as a positive indicator.

In Part 1 we discussed potential questions for the cover letter. Here are a few examples of interview questions to help you evaluate an applicant’s level of familiarity:

  • What do you like most about our organization?
  • How are your skills a good match for the work we are doing?
  • What are some organizations you think would be good partners for us?
  • What funders have you worked with in the past that you think would be worth our looking into?
  • Based on what you know of us, what ideas would you bring to the table on your first day?

Interest and enthusiasm cannot be taught through training. Either the candidate likes what you are doing, or they don’t, and while it is your responsibility to create a positive working environment that makes people want to work with you, the candidate needs to meet you halfway by demonstrating they have gone above and beyond to learn about your mission and show they want to be a part of it.

What are your thoughts? Did we miss something, and if you disagree, where did we go wrong? Sound off in the Comments, and don’t forget to check out Part 1 and Part 2.

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