[How We Hire] Finding the people to reach 200 million worldwide

Published: Oct 27, 2017

Though they already have 4,000-plus staffers deployed in more than 94 countries, expansion is a priority for international aid organization CARE USA: Having reached 80 million people to date, their vision is to make that figure 200 million by 2020. Talent Sourcer Melissa Wiley and her department are responsible for supplying that vision with passionate employees, recruiting for every division and work site CARE operates. “We love fresh talent and fresh ideas,” said Wiley, speaking to us from CARE headquarters in downtown Atlanta. “Our goals are ambitious, but we have the ability not only to meet them, but exceed them.”

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My pitch for potential hires: I use a different pitch with every position, but the way I always start is by letting people know that CARE has an ambitious, transformational agenda, and we need great talent to support it. Sometimes I put numbers to that agenda, which tends to resonate with people interested in what we do.

How I seek recruits: I look for very specific skill sets and experience that would translate well into the position at hand. I need to know whether they have global experience or are looking for it, but I don’t hone in on any one title, since a lot of positions in our industry are so fluid. Since I tend to seek out more passive candidates – those who aren’t necessarily looking for a new position – I use sites like LinkedIn and Devex to find them.

My favorite interview questions: I do a lot of pre-screening, which I tend to start off with three questions: “What do you know about CARE?”, “How did you learn about CARE?”, and “What interests you about CARE?” Our people are passionate about what we do overall and what they do in particular; they’re a diverse, inclusive group with a variety of ideas for taking CARE to the next level. We’re looking for the same in our new people: those who are open in every sense, and eager to see CARE thrive.

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My interview pet peeve: Someone who thinks they know it all. We want people who are confident in the expertise they can bring to CARE, but this is a learning environment – even people who have been here 20-odd years don’t know everything about CARE – so it can be very difficult for someone who doesn’t think they have anything to learn.

What people love about working here: The people. CARE gives you the opportunity to work with a very diverse set of individuals in a very welcoming environment. We have people who have been here 30-plus years, who started at our New York headquarters, moved along with the headquarters to Atlanta, and stayed on.

Something cool we do to support staff: To make sure CARE stays on top of everything we have to do, we offer many learning opportunities. One of those is our cross-training program: If there’s a department looking for temporary help, staffers can apply, in collaboration with their manager, to take the assignment. It’s a great way for staff to expand their skills and learn more about the scope of CARE’s work.

How we help new hires succeed: Apart from standard on-boarding, we also have CARE Academy, which includes elective modules in everything from soft skills to leadership development. We also have what we call the Catalyst Program, which identifies people who are leaders in their own right, and grooms them for top roles.

What newcomers first notice about the office: We have some of the most amazing photos I have ever seen hanging in our lobby, featuring the people we have engaged through our projects around the world. That’s what I immediately noticed, and what others do also: Proof of the amazing work we’re doing, captured in the beautiful faces of the people we serve.

CARE USA is the national headquarters of global humanitarian organization CARE International, which delivers lasting change to some of the world's poorest communities – saving lives, defeating poverty, and achieving social justice – with a special focus on women and girls. Find out more about them on their web site, or by following them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube.

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