Work For Impact - Don't Just Work. Make an Impact.
Log in Join us

What skills do purpose-driven organisations look for when hiring?

In a world where hiring on-demand based on skills is on the rise. And traditional educational paths are disrupted by online methods and on-demand content offering. It seems to many that today it is easier than ever to create your own mix-and-match journey according to your interest and values.

But what are the most in-demand skills that impactful leaders look for when looking for new team members?

We reached out to our favourite impact-driven founders and team leaders for some insights on the topic.

What skills are you looking for when hiring freelancers?

Ubongo | Christina Bwana | Cartoons inspiring change

Ubongo is an NGO helping Africa’s 440 million kids learn with the help of high quality “edutainment” and leverage their learning to change their lives. 

During our interview, Christina Bwana, their COO, shared what she looks for when hiring new team members.

“We’ve evolved in this because we used to hire for skills and someone who we know can get the job done without a lot of handholding. So we’re growing very fast now. We’re hiring people who have the same values as what we say.”

Ubongo stands for culture and fosters a solid collaborative spirit where the whole team works “for the kids “. For Christina, candidates must share the same values and culture as skills can be trained through many capacity building activities they organise internally. 

“That’s one of the things we hold very dear. But it’s hard to change people’s values and change people’s cultures. Right now, we hire from the angle of how will they work collaboratively with the team? How will they prioritise kids across Africa versus my kind of personal growth or what I need?”

For Ubongo, it is a balance between having professional skills and having the same values. So, when there is a need for extra effort to get things done, they will understand and “do it for the kids”.

Goodfind | Nohelia Rambal | Connecting shoppers with good brands 

 Nohelia Rambal launched the UK-based startup Goodfind in 2020, to facilitate the purchase of eco-friendly products. On the site, you can find environmentally curated brands and special offers. 

Started as a side gig, Goodfind has grown and is now backed up by a great team of both freelancers, consultants, and full-time employees.

So, we’ve asked Nohelia to share her secret sauce for finding the right talent:

1. Passion for change: Cause what we do is for impact, and the people we look for have to have that passion; otherwise, it’s a no go. 

2. Bias towards action: This comes very much from the company culture I’ve experienced in the past. I much rather get something done that is not 100% correct and learn from it than put pressure on myself and the team to develop something to perfection that doesn’t exist.

3. Having a growth mindset: For me, having people who know can improve is essential and obsessed with doing the right thing.

4. Learning how to be more inclusive: Understanding that you will make mistakes and fix them and strive to learn more, knowing that you’re going to do what is right for people.

5. Transparency: From my cultural background, I am very open and don’t have many filters. I try to say things as they are, kindly, but as they are, and I appreciate that in people. So, it is vital to work with people who can tell me things that will be constructive. 

ReSea Project | Kenny Louring | Fighting plastic pollution and helping communities

ReaSea Project is a community-driven organisation at the forefront of fighting plastic pollution. Their ambition is to spread their solution throughout the world, to places with inadequate waste management and poverty, to restore and protect the heart of our planet.

Kenny Louring is the project’s Marketing Manager and has shared his experience when hiring for his team.

“It means a lot for us to have people with the right skillset. But I would never look into having the number one marketer in the world. I would rather look into the personal skills and the social skills, and then look for people with the same passion for this project and the topic that the rest of the team has.”

Undoubtedly, Kenny would look for people who are eager to learn and execute things. People who can bring good ideas to the table and are not afraid to challenge the management or anyone among the team. For Kenny, it is vital to be open and share new ideas without hesitation. At the ReSea Project, they like to test different ideas and learn from the results.

“I would say that the human aspects, the human qualities, and passionate people are the most important things for me.”

Another essential aspect for international projects like ReSea, is to adjust successfully to remote working. And the fact that they manage people from many different countries and cultures. 

“We want ReSea Project to be a global brand. That requires talents from other countries, as they have a far better understanding of how to enter a certain market.”

Of course, team leaders can understand how Western and Asian Pacific countries react to different marketing activities. But there is a rising need for people living in those countries to help open doors and help take the ReSea Project to the next level.

Millie | Rachel Klausner | Workplace giving made fun

Millie facilitates workplace giving through an interactive platform. Its founder Rachel used to appreciate freelancers’ passion back in her early hiring days. But she soon realised when hiring for a social impact project the importance of matching projects’ and people’s values.

“And so, what I look for is obviously that’s the baseline, right? You gotta have that passion for social impact.”

But beyond aligning purpose, Rachel looks for self-starters and people who like to wear many hats. For small companies, freelancers must be willing and capable of jumping into different roles and adjusting according to the company’s growth and priorities.

“You want people that are willing to wear so many different hats. Because the business is going to change, the business needs are going to change, and you want someone that can be flexible because if you’re not flexible at that early stage. That’s where things tend to break. Because someone can’t step in and wear that extra hat.”

Being own boss is also crucial for Rachel, where indeed as a CEO, she is leading the overall direction, but she looks for freelancers who are good at being their own boss, go-getters who do not need anyone to hold their hand.

“If you’re one of those people that’s just driven for the sake of drive and getting stuff done; that is what I look for.”

 We Act | Raymond Laracuenta | The collaborative chat app for activists

Raymond is the founder of Software, creators of WeAct. The collaborative app designed for anyone striving to create positive social change.

As a startup in a small company, We Act looks for self-starters and very adaptable to any situation.

“They don’t need a lot of information to get going, and they become a partner very quickly. So I think freelancers that have a partnership mentality will do well in general on this platform and working with startups.” 

Beyond the technical or artistic skills, Raymond looks for freelancers that can quickly contextualise what they’re doing. People who become part of the company for however long they’re working on the project.  

OLIO | Saasha Celestial-One | The local app fighting food waste

Located in the UK is Saasha, Co-Founder of OLIO. This app connects neighbours with the purpose of sharing food instead of throwing it away. For Saasha, the most important thing when hiring new team members is mission alignment.

 “Or, as we often say, mission obsession. We’re so committed and passionate about the problem that we’re solving. This is an intense job. We’re working together all the time. We should enjoy it to bring our best.”

Experience has shown Saasha that it is more challenging to achieve the results needed when that extra commitment is not there. However, whereas it is possible to train skills for Olio, it is not possible to learn mission alignment.

“And so we do, first and foremost, look for people who you just want to get on this journey and take it to the end.”

That has resulted for Olio in incredible talent retention and a robust company culture. Because the team is united and committed to tackling the world issue of food waste. 

Kuri | Baptiste Malaguti | The sustainable cooking app

Baptiste is the vegan founder of the cooking app Kuri. When Baptiste thinks about bringing new teammates as a planet-driven startup, he looks for people with shared opinions and interests in food and agriculture. 

“People who can question things in this space are really important for us. In the team, we’re having constant conversations and sharing articles about the subject that we care about.”

In addition, as a startup, resources are limited. So, for Kuri, it is crucial to make the right hires. Meaning that they need to vet the people they’re going to work with and see proof of work and what they’ve been working on. 

“As a startup, you may find yourself saying Yes to people. You might find yourself saying, ‘Wow, someone wants to work for my startup!’ But I would say that it can be a trap. If you don’t take the time to do some research and find the right people to work with you, it can cost you a lot of money.”

 Botany Labs | Friedrich Eickhoff | The Air Purifier & Smart Planter

Friedrich is the CEO and Co-Founder of Koru, the air purifier and self-watering smart plant pot that will care for your plants and the air quality of your home. 

When onboarding new team members, Friedrich cared most about having a similar entrepreneurial mindset.

“We want to collaborate with people and hire people who have the same values: people who want to be seen as an individual, who want to be empowered, respected, valued and trusted. People that will be comfortable in knowing that they’re going to do their work correctly and we don’t have to micromanage.”

Friedrich sees leadership as the key driver for every successful business. Where they empower everybody to be innovative and make decisions.

These are the top skills impactful leaders look for when hiring new talent:

  1. Real passion for change.
  2. Shared values and genuine interest in the topic of work.
  3. Go-getter mindset where things get done rather than polished to perfection.
  4. Flexibility towards different roles and responsibilities.
  5. Partnership mentality and commitment to taking the project where it needs to go.
  6. Not to be afraid to ask all the questions and try new things out. Test and Learn.

What did your journey look like? Do you find that purpose-driven leaders hire based on a different mindset? Tag @workforimpact and share your experience on Facebook or Instagram.

Are you looking for meaningful job opportunities?

Join us at Work for Impact. From our dashboard, you’ll be able to take a look at our open job board and find your next purposeful project. To stay in the loop for new opportunities that match your skill set, create a Work for Impact freelancer account today and make your profile an eye-catcher for the hiring managers that look for talent on the platform every day. ✨

Stay tuned for more news on the workforce that is contributing to a better tomorrow.