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Submitted by Dani Martin on


I work for a non-profit and am getting ready to bring a new hire on board for a position that's been open for almost a year (I've only been in my position 2 months). I'm concerned because a board member referred someone for the job and I interviewed him but am not offering him the position. I know it's the right decision; however, am somewhat nervous about alienating the volunteer who referred him. The volunteer is on our board, which supervises our CEO. He is also a very influential person in the community and I am depending on him to host our gala event this summer. I have only known him for 2 months, so I don't have a strong history/relationship that I can call on for his support of my decision.

Any suggestions on how to proceed? When do I tell him (the volunteer) in relation to when I notify the candidate? Do I give any reasons for my decision?

Thank you for any advice!

aspiringceo's picture

Hi Dani,
Like you I also work in the voluntary/not for profit sector and what Iam going to say is based on my experience in this sector for the past 15 years at various levels and from being a board member in a non work setting.

Firstly if your recruitment and selection procedures were carried out properly then go with your decision. You do need however to make sure your paperwork is in order and then meet with the unsucessful candidate and explain why they didnt get the position, remember you were interviewing on the basis of what they know and not who they know.

Secondly talk with your ceo and your hr manager and keep them appraised of the sitution. With regard to your board member, well frankly its non of his business as long as the correct procedures\werev carried out, he made a referral and it didnt work out, (it may well be that the board member was only trying to help fill a long term vacancy), I think if it were a case of "jobs for the boys" it would have been filled a long time ago. Now in saying that its none of the board members business I would still talk to them or better still get the ceo to talk to them and thank them for their input and explain why the sucessfull candidate got the post.

Lastly, if the board member is likely to take offence I would be asking if this is the type of person you want on your board as they should be there for the good of the organisation.

Good luck with your decision, I know that when I make difficult decisions like this or dismissing somebody I sleep easy at night because it wasnt personal and I carried things out in accordance with my organisations policies and procedures.

Dani Martin's picture
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Thanks for the advice! I appreciate it.

aspiringceo's picture

Hope things work out, please let us know the outcome.

Incidently what area of the voluntary sector are you in, I work in human services (specifically mental health)