Recruiting people for specific tasks

Element Descriptor

Different people come with specific skills and motivations. Being able to find the right person for the right (usually unpaid) job, and present the work to them as an opportunity for warm-fuzzies or activist credibility tokens is a valuable skill. Not having it means you don’t get to tap into the broader ecosystem of potential supporters.

Level descriptors

NovicePractitionerExpertNinja
You are able to approach a variety of people who have the skills and perhaps time to do some basic jobs that you need doing, and clearly explain to them how it fits into a big project (if it does) and why it is worth doing.You have a reasonably good grasp of who might say yes or no to a given request to help out, and a sense of how much chivvying/nagging you might have to do with each person, and whether you will need to do much/any polishing of their work.You have a thorough grasp of who is available for what, and how to pitch to them in ways which resonate with their current interests and needs, and how to allay fears they have that they are being invited to punch a tar baby…You know exactly who to ask (and who not to ask) for any given job (big or small, short or long-term) based on their attitudes, aptitudes, how well they will get on with other folks active on other parts of the same project. People rarely say no (because you know who not to ask when) and even more rarely lunch things out because you’re able to spot lunchoutism and gauge how reliable people are at the minute. You’re kinda like that guy at the beginning of the old Mission Impossible episodes

Element Overview Essay

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The causes of this being done badly are twofold. 

One is, groups don’t have a coherent up-to-date list of the specific tasks that they need doing. And so therefore, how can they recruit anyone? 

And number two, they don’t know what skills other people have, by and large, so it is impossible to find the right person.

The consequences are that you don’t get the help that you would need, with a task from people with the right level skills, which means it takes you longer and the final product isn’t as good. And at the same time, there are people who are not asked to do a job and then when they see it, they’re mildly perhaps not resentful, but regretful that they weren’t asked, but they’re gonna assume that you know who they are and that you just didn’t think it was worth asking them, and they’re not gonna stick their hand up. And the whole sorry cycle will continue unless you do something. 

So the solutions to being bad at recruiting people for specific tasks, pretty straightforward. 

One is to have a really good jobs and roles list that’s kept up to date and kept on your website. 

Number two, develop a GDPR compliant database of what people out there have in terms of skills and desire to get better at stuff because ultimately, you’re offering them opportunities not just to flap their wings but also maybe to stretch them.

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