We’re Hiring: Client Success Manager

 Client Success Manager Job Description

100 Degrees Consulting is seeking an experienced and enthusiastic Customer Success Manager to join the team. The CSM will guide clients through the sales process into the support phase to ensure they’re receiving the tools and support needed to achieve their goals. This role will express and embody 100 Degrees Consulting’s mission, vision and values and how we work as a company. The CSM will be a liaison between the client and the client success team to ensure both sides are in alignment with each other. 

  • Responsible for cultivating and maintaining client relationships
  • Implement and maintain procedures that improve the client’s experience
  • Plan and leads regular check-ins with clients
  • Leads client gifting and appreciation initiatives
  • Manages team capacity and resource planning
  • Work to identify and/or develop upsell opportunities
  • Creates referral program and consistently asks current and past clients for referrals
  • Manages entire process from sales call through onboarding and relationship management
  • Takes proactive steps to help clients achieve their goals and minimize client attrition
  • Serves as a collaborative partner between leadership, team, and clients
  • Handles conflict resolution with clients when needed; communicates directly and empathetically 
  • Handles CFO and bookkeeping overflow work and projects

Job Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree and 3+ years of experience in a customer-facing role, such as Customer Success, Customer Support or Account Management
  • Experience working with senior and executive level clients
  • Accounting Experience
  • Extreme attention to detail
  • Are a skilled, professional writer and communicator
  • Available to respond to team communication and take meetings during regular business hours in the US
  • Have your own computer, mobile phone, and internet access
  • Maintain a workspace free of unnecessary distraction where client and internal calls may be taken in a professional manner
  • Able to be on video chat for scheduled meetings 
  • Experience with the following systems:
    • Dubsado
    • Google Workspace
    • Asana
    • Slack
    • Zoom
    • QuickBooks Online

Qualities We’re Looking For

  • Thrive in a fast-paced environment
  • Organized and detail-oriented under pressure
  • Creative and strategic thinker
  • Hate being late and never miss a deadline
  • Communicate proactively with questions and updates 
  • Hardworking, highly self-motivated, and a quick learner
  • Proactive, willing to learn new things and energized to grow in your role
  • Great sense of humor, high-energy, and enthusiasm for working on a small and growing team


  • Compensation is competitive and commensurate with experience
  • The position will start as part-time with the opportunity to grow into full-time.
  • We offer a flexible, remote work environment

How To Apply

  • Send a cover letter explaining why you think we’re a good fit and your resume to hello@100degreesconsulting.com
  • Applications without a cover letter will not be considered. 
  • Please include “Client Success Manager” in the subject line.
  • Deadline to apply is September 30th, 2021

About 100 Degrees Consulting 

100 Degrees Consulting provides CFO and bookkeeping services to visionary leaders. We help nonprofit organizations and entrepreneurs globally on all things finance; accounting, bookkeeping, audit, board reporting, financial analysis, budgeting, cash flow, 990s, and compliance. We give leaders clarity and confidence in their numbers so they can make a bigger impact on the world.

We serve our clients with knowledge & expertise, passion for their mission, dependability, and approachability. We have high standards, high expectations, and we move quickly. We have extraordinary capacity and expect the same from everyone on the team. Most importantly, we love what we do and who we serve.

We are an equal opportunity employer, and you would be joining a small, diverse team. We believe that diversity is an asset and inclusion is non-negotiable, so please only apply if you share those values.

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The 100 Degrees Consulting 2020 Client Wins

Unprecedented. Challenging. Tumultuous. Uncertain. 

We’ve heard just about every adjective to describe the year 2020, and in some ways, it’s exciting to bid adieu to a year that was weird and hard, and welcome in what we hope will be a fresh start. 

For me, while there were many challenging moments, like figuring out how to run a business with a preschooler and little baby at home without childcare for several months, it was a year filled with opportunity and abundance. Personally, I’m ending the year with incredible gratitude and love for my family, my team, and my clients. (Want to read my full 2020 recap blog post? Click here )

My team and I spent some time going through our entire client portfolio to see what wins they all experienced this year too, and it blew me away so I thought I’d share with you. Sharing these wins is, in no way, meant to take away from the tough things that many people experienced this year too – illness, death, depression, loneliness, fear, insecurity, poverty, injustice – but I often find hope and inspiration when I see others’ successes and I hope you will too. 

Without further ado, the 100 Degrees Consulting 2020 Client Wins:

Many nonprofits were hit incredibly hard this year. Uncertainty in the market caused a significant drop in charitable donations, and many organizations could not operate their programs because of the pandemic. But nonprofit leaders are some of the more adaptable and resilient people I know.

  • Landed partnerships with major companies to help support programs
  • Secured significant grant funding, some specifically for COVID relief and others for general operating and program support, ranging from $10k to $3M
  • Adding staff to help with grant writing, fundraising, and operations
  • Increased net income by up to 100% from last year
  • Pivoted in-person experiences, programs, and galas to virtual events that were highly successful
  • Acquired a $150k low interest SBA loan to support production of artisan goods
  • All of our nonprofit clients received fully forgivable Paycheck Protection Program funds to help support payroll expenses during Q2 and Q3

Businesses didn’t fare much better across the US. As we sadly watched small businesses in our local towns close their doors, many online businesses did really well in a new reality where we’re all spending our time behind our phone and laptop screens. Entrepreneurs and small business owners are innovative and determined and our clients had some major wins:

  • Grew net income by 100%+ from last year which means these business owners were able to save for houses, increase their charitable donations, and grow their team – what an amazing ripple effect on a whole community!
  • Pivoted sales outlets; moving from in-person events to online, from online to strategic shop locations, from Facebook advertising to organic reach, from organic avenues to Facebook advertising. So many leaders tried new things this year that worked!
  • Added new team members to keep up with increased workload
  • Acquired new companies to help further expand their reach and support their mission
  • Opened retirement accounts and began contributing monthly
  • All of our small business clients received fully forgivable Paycheck Protection Program funds to help support payroll expenses during Q2 and Q3

I move very quickly, too quickly sometimes, and forget to celebrate the wins, no matter how big or small. So before diving directly into the new year, I am celebrating our client wins across the board and thinking about the words that describe the amazing leaders we work with:

Resilient. Innovative. Adaptable. Creative. Determined.

What was one of your favorite wins in 2020, big or small?

(Are you looking to set yourself up for stability, clarity, and success in the new year? First, download our Profit Playbook for a template to help you easily visualize your numbers, then schedule a call to chat with a CFO! Click here to get on our calendar)


How to Pay Yourself Consistently

I have a confession to make.

I used to be scared of spending money, including paying myself.

My consulting practice was consistently bringing in a few thousand dollars a month and I was terrified of taking any money out for myself, for fear that I wouldn’t bring in another dime.

I was also scared of paying anyone to do anything for me. After I toiled away at a custom branded PowerPoint template for what felt like days, I finally paid someone $50 on Upwork to create it for me. Not only did they finish in about an hour, but that was officially the first outsourcing I ever did for my business. And I probably debated on whether or not to do it for a ridiculously long amount of time.

You may have similar fears as I once did, or ask yourself weekly:

How do I know when to pay myself? How much should I pay myself? What if my revenue is unpredictable? How much should my expenses be?

While I believe that the root of the issue is the scarcity mindset (we believe that there is NOT more where that came from), everyone wants to make sure they are allocating their incoming cash appropriately so they can build a sustainable business they love AND get paid to do so.

Remember, if we are not paying ourselves, we have a hobby, not a business.

And if you’re not cutting yourself a regular paycheck, or making a regular owner’s draw into your personal checking account (even if it’s just $100/month!), you will begin to feel resentment towards your business, and trust me, it all goes downhill from there.

So let’s dive into how to ensure you can pay yourself consistently, even if you don’t yet have consistent revenue.

Step 1 – Visualize your money. I don’t mean close your eyes and picture piles of cash a la Scrooge McDuck, I mean map out your revenue on paper.

Grab our template hereJump to the Budget & Forecast tab.

Step 2 – Fill in your revenue for the last six months. Add a line for each different revenue source you might have (wedding photography, newborn photography, product sales, etc).

Step 3 – Input your estimated revenue for the next six months (or beyond). Here’s where people freeze. But I don’t know how much money I will make in the next six months! Of course, you don’t. But you are a smart person who can make an educated estimate. Here are a few ways to estimate the unknown:

  • Look at your pipeline. What clients or work do you have committed? What clients or work are almost committed?
  • Look at last year. If you’re struggling trying to figure out how much money you’ll make in October, check out how much you made in October last year. Is it typically a busy or a slow month?
  • Look at your goals. If your goal is to make $120k this year and you’ve already made $80k, you need $40k for the rest of the year. Divide that by how many months are left and figure out the building blocks to get you there. For example, if your photography packages are $5k, you need 8 more. How many can you add each month?

Step 4 – Once your revenue is all laid out on paper, take a look at how it might ebb and flow from month to month. Are there big dips in revenue?

Step 5 – Here’s the fun part! Let’s do a tiny bit of easy math to figure out exactly how much you can afford to pay yourself, how much you should set aside for taxes, and how much you should spend on your business.

(Side note: If you’re super into this and want a great resource, Profit First is a good book to get started. I’m going to simplify it even more though, so if you’re not down for 300 pages of reading, stick with me here.)

Close your eyes for a second. Picture a bucket filled with money. This money is your total income for the month and this is how much we have to allocate every single month.

Let’s say there is $5,000 in that bucket. We want to divide up that $5,000 between a few other buckets:

  • Taxes (for the IRS and, if applicable, state government taxes)
  • Owner’s pay (that’s you!)
  • Business expenses (everything you need to run your business)
  • Profit (extra money to hold onto, invest in the business, save for a rainy day, etc)

Each month, we will take our revenue bucket and divvy it up like this:

  • 15% for taxes
  • 30% for business expenses
  • 45% for owner’s pay
  • 10% for profit

Step 6 – Set up different bank accounts. I recommend at least two business accounts plus your personal account. Your first business account is where all income will be deposited and where your business expenses will come from. Your second business account should be a savings account where you move your 15% for taxes and 10% for profit every single month. And of course, your personal account will hold your owner’s pay.

(Side note: Profit First recommends more accounts than this, but this is how I’ve set up my own business and it works well.)

Step 7 – See how you stack up. If you already track your expenses, owner’s pay, and profit, calculate the percentages (always calculate as a percentage of revenue) that you’re allocating from your bucket now. Make any adjustments necessary starting next month.

Step 8 – Deal with issues. But what if my expenses are higher than 30% now? What if my revenue is 0? What if I want to spend my profit on a big coaching program or new equipment? What if my expenses are lower than 30%; can I take more owner’s pay?

I know, I know. This formula isn’t entirely foolproof, no questions asked. Your business is a unique flower filled with nuances that you’ll need to work through. My quick answers?

  • Lower expenses when you can
  • Increase your revenue so you can pay yourself the 45%, even if that is only $20
  • Go ahead and spend that profit but only after you have a 3 month reserve in the bank
  • Absolutely adjust the percentages as fits your business, just use percentages and track it monthly!

Step 9 – Enjoy a business that fulfills your creative and professional goals, sustains your family and pays you consistently, and makes an impact in the world!

PS – Did you know that we offer VIP days? If everything above sounds wildly helpful, yet totally overwhelming, we can help. We’ll sit together for a whole day and look back at your numbers, then work to create achievable goals and a financial plan to get you there. We’ll set you up with the templates and tools you need to manage this on your own going forward and even check back in three months to see how you’re doing and tweak anything necessary. VIP days can be done virtually OR in-person.

Let’s talk!


Four Finance Professionals For Your Nonprofit

Do you have the right finance team to help your organization soar?

Click here to take the quiz and find out! >>>

A lot of times when I tell my prospective clients (or even family members for that matter!) that I’m a CFO, I get a blank stare.

Chief Financial Officer, I clarify.

Still a blank stare.

Today I am breaking down all of the financial professionals in your nonprofit organization and what they do for you. I’ll show you how a CFO is the missing piece to your arsenal of numbers people.

Bookkeeper. Your bookkeeper manages the daily transactions in your organization. She enters your bills, invoices your donors, reconciles your bank accounts, and makes sure the true numbers are accurate and booked to the correct categories. The bookkeeper often comes with lots of experience in a particular software like Quickbooks Online.

Accountant. This is your tax expert; they understand the ins and outs of the 990, the nonprofit tax return, and they are the ones who conduct your annual audit.

Financial advisor. If your organization has invested funds, your nonprofit likely has a financial advisor who provides insight on how and where to invest your money, based on your internal investment policy (which is reviewed and approved by the board). Your financial advisor should be a fiduciary.

But what about when you have a question on your nonprofit’s financials? Like, can we afford to make a big investment into a new program area next year? How do we reach our $1M annual revenue goal? How do I know which programs are most profitable? Where am we spending too much money?

Chief Financial Officer. Your CFO is your nonprofit finance expert. We review your numbers and draw insights and trends from those numbers, giving you more information to make better decisions for your organization. Our one and only interest is providing more insight into YOUR NONPROFIT. We focus on budgeting, forecasting, cash flow and more. Without a CFO, you have virtually no way to make your numbers work for you strategically.

Your CFO focuses on how to make your nonprofit strong and sustainable based on your numbers.

Think about your own organization: do you have this critical missing puzzle piece in place?

Want more info on what a CFO is and does? Read our FAQs here>>> then hop on a call with our team to see if we’re a good fit to support your nonprofit!


How I got permission to play bigger

I think in to-do lists and excel sheets. Clean, crisp lines and boxes and structure. When anything gets a little too vague or dreamy, I immediately get uncomfortable. I’ve told myself for years that I’m not a visionary, that I don’t think big picture, that I’m not an inspiring leader. And because I’ve told myself those stories, I have retreated even further into my black and white, structured world.

Until entrepreneurship came along.

Like motherhood, entrepreneurship throws your entire universe and existence on its head. I want my business to grow because I am a Type A high achiever. Status quo is a foreign concept to me. But in order for my business to grow, I have to think outside the box. I can’t continue to do what I’ve always done if I want to see growth and change – I’m pretty sure a famous guy told us that that was insane.

One thing I’ve invested in over the past two years is a business mastermind. In fact, I even wrote about my mastermind experience here. I just finished up a weekend long retreat in New York City with my fellow mastermind women and it just clicked in my brain about my biggest takeaway from this experience.

My mastermind gave me the permission and ability to think bigger.

Left to our own devices, we are all inclined to play small. We move slower than we could and think we can’t do as much as we truly can. Now, I’m not advocating for pushing yourself beyond your natural limits or breaking yourself in the process, but when I envisioned my business model looking the exact same in five years from now, I knew I was playing small.

When I think about the value of this mastermind, I used to try and come up with a dollar amount ROI. I took the amount of money I spent and then think about the value I received. Well, I got a couple clients so that’s X amount, and I was able to launch a course which will make Y amount, so I guess it was a good deal.

But I realized, just yesterday, during a journaling exercise where we evaluated and celebrated where we are now compared to nine months ago when we started the mastermind, that this group of women and our leader have given me something so, so, so invaluable.

I now have the confidence and skill to think bigger than I ever have. To play bigger and expect more from myself.

I am so incredibly excited for the future of my business and my life, and its thanks to this mastermind.

Have you ever been part of a mastermind, or any group of peers where you get support and encouragement and challenge over a period of time? How did that change you as a leader or a person?


How Virtual CFO Services are Like a Superhero + Crystal Ball Combined

“A shift is happening. The early CFO, version 1.0, was The Historian. Next came version 2.0, the Real-Time Analyst who caught issues based on real-time dashboards. It now appears that we are beginning to see a new version: CFO 3.0 – The Futurist.” (Source)

I talk about Excel being my crystal ball all the time. With the right numbers, used in the right way, we can literally see the future. Through financial modeling and forecasting, we can predict what will happen with our revenue, expenses, cash flow, and more. It’s not totally failsafe but it is the most educated guess around.

I love The Futurist CFO 3.0 as described by Intacct, but I think the most successful CFO is a solid combination of all three: Historian, Real-Time Analyst, and Futurist. We can’t know where we’re going until we know where we’ve been. It’s incredibly difficult to make future predictions without any data on past performance.

Intacct says, “the low cost of storage and computing power, coupled with the internet of things revolution, makes available large portions of data for smarter solutions. In short, we can get to answers more quickly by comparing the previously incomparable to discover new trends and relationships that are otherwise beyond our line of sight.”

Yup! And that’s exactly what I do – discover new trends and relationships to help you make better decisions.

When we decide to work together, I have a tried and true process I use to analyze your numbers and make predictions for the future. Here it is:

  1. Do a cursory review of chart of accounts. What is missing or redundant?
  2. Run P&L and balance sheet by month and by year for the past 3-5 years. Review P&L vs budget and variances. Where are the biggest variances? Which revenue streams have grown or decreased the most over time? What are the biggest expense line items?
  3. Calculate a litany of ratios and financial measures to determine areas for opportunity.
  4. Review budget and cash flow. Many small businesses don’t have a budget and most organizations don’t have a cash flow, so we create one. This is the crystal ball that gives the most insight to see around corners. Because we’re projecting out 12 months (or more in detailed financial models), we can make educated and accurate predictions based on the historical review in step 2 above so we can change course NOW instead of later to maximize revenue and minimize risk. It sounds easy because it kind of is!

“Such becomes the case for CFO 3.0 – Master Jedi – seeing around corners and flying through walls as they guide their business to scale and profitability.”

Master Jedi, Crystal Ball Reader, Excel Guru, Business Superhero. Or maybe just Chief Financial Officer. 🙂

PS – Do you want to get this deep insight for your organization? I can apply my process above to your numbers to give you info about your business that you haven’t seen before. Grab a spot on my calendar today to start the conversation!



Welcome to the newest member of our team!

My vision for 100 Degrees Consulting is to provide personal, best-in-class service and financial leadership to my clients. I don’t plan on building this company into one where I oversee a team of outsourced CFOs; there are plenty of other companies that do that. I want to continue doing the work because I get my kicks from Excel spreadsheets and number crunching. What can I say?!But as my business is growing (beyond my wildest dreams, quite frankly!), I realized I needed some help with client bookkeeping so I can focus on high-level, strategic analysis. For my clients to get the best of me, I needed to slightly pull away from the transactional work.Enter: Carrie Poppelaars of Local Ledgers LLC.

Carrie is a bookkeeper and accountant with over a decade of experience serving small businesses. She specializes in working with passionate leaders to help take their numbers from chaos to organization. She’s Quickbooks Online Certified, AND has owned her own restaurant – so she understands the ins and outs of running a business and wearing many hats, like our nonprofit clients.

In addition to her experience and skills, Carrie thinks of life as an adventure (a woman after my own heart!). She has 4 kids with her college sweetheart, loves coffee, wine, micro brews and great food. She loves hiking, biking, beaches, water, and is in awe of the mountains. Carrie is an optimist who loves meeting new people, and the perfect person to add to the team.Welcome, Carrie!


How to tell if your consultant is a good match

Do you know who your “Dream Clients” are? I’m sure you do. What about your “Dream Collaborators”? As a consultant, I know who my dream clients are (ambitious entrepreneurs and growing nonprofits!), but it’s important for you to know if we’re a dream collaboration!

How can you know if we’re a good match? Think about these things before you hire any freelancer or contractor:

What does their track record look like?

Any consultant you are considering should not only be able to pitch well, but provide examples of work they have done on similar issues or with companies similar to yours in size.

(As an example, I’ve worked with for-profits and nonprofits ranging from $100k to $20M in size, and have dealt with financial and investment issues across the board.)

What is their cost structure?

Don’t look ONLY at who offers you the cheapest rate. Experienced consultants or freelancers may bill higher, but because they resolve your issue more quickly you’ll ultimately pay less. A consultant with less experience may bill at a lower rate, but may avoid providing an end date or try to draw the work out indefinitely which will cost you far more in the long run.

(I started working with nonprofits a decade ago, and although most of my clients work with me long-term, they always know what to expect from me and when.)

How do they communicate?

Effective consultants are expert communicators. They will really listen to your concerns and provide an unbiased observation about your issues and the various possible solutions. If your consultant doesn’t communicate well, it will impede your ability to integrate them into your team AND your ability to understand what it is that they are doing for you.

(My preferred methods of communication are occasional check-ins via phone or video call and email, which I almost always respond to within a day. A few clients even text me!)

Do they explore the challenges you are facing and establish Key Performance Indicators?

It is tempting to assume you know how to solve a problem once you know what the problem is. With that said, consultants you approach with your issue should try to find the best solution or solutions after reviewing the underlying causes of the problem. Together, once a solution or series of solutions are determined, you and the consultant should decide on the metric(s) of success.

(I cannot stress enough how important it is for everyone to be on the same page – it’s part of why communication is essential! It’s also necessary for consultants to be creative AND effective at resolving your problems.)

Are they transparent with you the way you are with them?

To get the most out of any consultant or freelancer relationship you need to be able to share the good and the bad of your situation. If you are struggling to understand your finances or your accounting team needs help, the consultant needs to know. That requires honesty on your part. In that same way, they need to be open and honest about their experience and capabilities before they begin any work for you. Trust is a two-way street.

(My clients must be willing to help me understand their business environment before I begin work for them. I start every engagement with a call to dig deep into your business so I know where to focus my work. We get so much more out of our time together if I understand any issues up front!)

So what do you think? Could we be a perfect, dream collaboration?

Set up a call on my calendar or check out my FAQs!


A hiring dilemma: Employee or contractor?

One of the best parts of my job is the fact that every single company or organization I work with is in some stage of growth. Expanding programs, increasing revenue, diversifying scope of services – it all means growth and change. I’ve never been one to sit still for very long so thinking about what’s next excites me.

As organizations grow, we realize we can’t do it all alone and need to bring on help. In fact, I am at that point in my own business – anyone looking for bookkeeping work? I am an awesome manager! Back on topic…

How do you know if your business is ready for an employee on your payroll? Or should you just stick with using contractors?

Let’s first go to the IRS for their guidelines. In short, it all comes down to control.

  • Does the company control what and how the worker does her job? You have an EMPLOYEE.
  • Or does the worker control her work process, schedule, and equipment? Does she have multiple clients? This is a CONTRACTOR.

It’s important to ask yourself these questions upfront, as the IRS imposes strict penalties for classifying an employee as a contractor (which many small businesses do because it’s a LOT cheaper to hire contractors!).

Unfortunately, even the IRS admits that there’s no magic formula or hard and fast rule about hiring employees versus contractors, so here are a few more considerations:


  • Much more permanent. This can mean increased loyalty to the company, flexibility to take on more than just their job description, and improved workflow due to less turnover. There is the understanding that the assignment is long term and gives an opportunity to build a solid relationship between employer and employee.
  • Much more expensive. In addition to salary, employers are responsible for paying workers’ comp, unemployment taxes, Social Security, Medicare, and health insurance (and potentially other benefits!).


  • Increased flexibility. You aren’t tied to a monthly payroll and can hire contractors only as you need them. If the business has a slow month, you don’t have to incur any costs for the contractors or deal with the messy business of letting someone go.
  • Decreased cost. The business owner is not responsible for the contractors’ taxes and benefits, computer equipment, professional development, etc.
  • Decreased control. You don’t have control over the contractor’s schedule, work flow, or pay rates. You may experience more turnover as contractors find other clients or increase their rates.

And finally, what do your FINANCIALS tell you about your ability to hire an employee versus a contractor?

  • Profit margin. Is your profit margin above or below 50%? If it’s consistently below 50% then you might not be ready for the financial responsibility of a permanent employee.
  • Cash reserve. How many months’ operating cash do you have in the bank? If it’s less than three, you might want to reconsider an employee since payroll will need to be run regularly.
  • Revenue. How consistent are your revenue and cash receipts? Do you have months that hover dangerously close to zero? Your business and revenue streams should be well-established and consistent before taking on the responsibility of an employee on payroll.

I hope that clarifies the question on whether to hire an employee or a contractor. Either way, bringing on additional help is a great indicator that your business is growing and thriving!


Getting the right people on the bus

We all know Jim Collins and Good to Great, right? If so, then we know how important bringing the right people into the organization is. If not, go here to catch up then meet me back here!

I recently found this article, How to Hire Like a Superboss, on Harvard Business Review, one of my favorite lunchtime reads. It talks about bosses hiring and finding employees in non-traditional ways; in other words, outside of HR, no resumes or cover letters in sight.

I like it.

Who a person is, how they will perform, what types of ideas they create, is really hard to effectively capture on paper for the interviewer. It’s also hard to appropriately convey when you’re trapped in an uncomfortable heels in a stuffy room full of strangers grilling you on your grad school coursework. I’ve been in interviews where the interviewers went in a circle around the table, recited a pre-rehearsed question, listened to my answer, then the next person asked their pre-rehearsed question. I wanted to get up and scream, Stop! Can’t we just talk? This isn’t me! Let me tell you about WHO I AM! I left that interview feeling like they didn’t get to know me one bit and like I had no clue about the culture of the organization, other than robotic.

I think we need a balance though. We need something between simply liking someone and hiring them then figuring out later what they can do (um, let’s first define the business need for hiring them, please!) and a terribly formal, rote interview process where we learn virtually nothing about the candidate except canned answers to boring questions.

Here are some tips to help you get the right people on the bus:

Treat the interview like a conversation.

Create a list of questions to guide you but let the conversation go where it goes. Don’t obsess with taking notes on every single answer; look your candidates in the eye, ask probing follow-up questions and try to learn who they are. Their grad school transcript will not be indicative of their success in the organization; let’s assume they’ve made it this far because on paper they are absolutely qualified. Can you imagine communicating with them daily? Working on a high-impact project together? Watching them interact with your board or other stakeholders? How do you feel about all this?

Ask the right questions.

Speaking of questions, don’t ask stupid ones (or illegal ones!). If you were stuck in a jar, what kind of fruit would you want in there with you? is ridiculous and tells you nothing about the person. Don’t try to be funny or clever. Here are some great pointers on asking the right questions. I especially love the forward-thinking questions: outline your plan for this job or forecast the evolution of this job.

Be mindful of formality but don’t be uptight.

The nonprofit field can vary wildly in terms of formality. I’ve seen everything from the Monday through Friday suit and tie crowd to leggings and hoodies all be acceptable. As an interviewer, I expect job candidates to put effort into their appearance and show me you care about the job. I do not expect, however, ultimate formality. I’m not deducting mental points if you don’t have a leather folio (I actually despite those things!) or perfectly coordinated belt, shoes and bag. Be yourself and dress like you care, that’s all!

Invite other departments/groups to participate.

When it comes to hiring, more minds can be better than just one. Notice I said “can be better” – please do not have a search committee of ten people. That will be chaos. It’s important to get other departments’ perspectives on how this person would fit into the organization since it’s unlikely she will work alone 100% of the time. How does this finance person come across to non-finance people? Does his communication come across as effective or arrogant?

How does your organization handle the recruiting process? Need help creating a process? Or maybe just filling a role or two? Call me; I can help!

More resources: