From sustainability initiatives to employee volunteer programs and corporate foundations, companies have increasingly invested in corporate social responsibility. Not only has this buoyed their employer brand, but it’s been an important tool for attracting and engaging employees, especially Millennials.
Workers under the age of 36 are more likely to focus on a business’ impact on the environment or on society, and they are attracted to companies with a powerfully, positive social mission. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why KIND Snacks is a consistent favorite among job seekers.
“There has certainly been an increase in job seekers using a company’s social mission or social responsibility commitments as a filter in their decision-making process. While there is a perception that this is something that is only important to millennials, we find that candidates at all levels and backgrounds are evaluating companies for the social mission factor,” says Melissa Del Broccolo, Vice President of Talent Management at KIND. “In his book, KIND’s founder & CEO, Daniel Lubetzky shares his belief that social mission isn’t something you can just tack onto your brand with the launch of a cause marketing campaign.”
For job seekers, this means you have to have a critical eye when evaluating a prospective company. Ask yourself whether the company aligns with your personal values, interests and sense of justice. Then when applying, consider how you showcase your passion for social responsibility in everything from your cover letter to your panel interview.
If you’re interested in working for a company whose social mission aligns with your own, here are Del Broccolo’s tips for how to really stand out as a candidate and get hired.
1. Use your cover letter to give employers a “sense for your personality and passions.”
“Like many companies, we receive a ton of job applications every week. I think cover letters are still valuable as they provide an opportunity to differentiate yourself and share what you’ll bring to KIND. When a cover letter is customized and authentic, it can be useful way for a candidate to stand out. The best ones are highly personalized and will include a variety of details, ranging from your favorite KIND product to a story about why our mission is meaningful to you. Unlike your resume, cover letters can be used to demonstrate that you’ve done your research and elaborate on why our mission resonates with you.”
And, Del Broccolo, adds, steer clear of the generic cover letter — it’s a waste of time. “I would discourage the use of form/templated cover letters that you can pull off the internet. For [hiring managers], those demonstrate a lack of creativity and care.”
2. Show how you “add” to the company’s culture and bottom-line.
“We like to look for what we call “culture add” (versus “culture fit”) – we don’t want team members just to “fit in”, we want to bring in people who have different ideas, backgrounds and can advance and strengthen our team and culture. We are looking for examples as to how a candidate might add to our culture within their resume, but also during the interview process and from their social media activity.”
3. Choose your words wisely.
Del Broccolo and her hiring team look for clues in candidates resumes for whether they embody the KIND mentality. “We pay close attention to how candidates talk about their previous employers and how they treat others. We take our ‘no jerks’ policy seriously. The words on the page are important, but how they show up and whether they are authentic is what we’re really looking for.
4. Be consistent and show it at every stage.
In both your resume and the interview process, KIND’s recruiters look for candidates who are consistent. “In each stage of the interview process, we’re assessing for a person’s ability to problem solve, be agile, think like an entrepreneur, as well as passion for our mission,” says Del Broccolo. “Do your passions show up in a meaningful way on your resume? Do you speak about them genuinely and with sincerity during interviews? Are they reflected in your social media presence? Inconsistencies can help us gauge whether a candidate’s stated passions are truly authentic.”
In the end, “your passion and interest in our mission should show up in some way throughout the application process, starting with your resume but also in your interviews, the questions you ask, your social media presence and from your references.”
5. Do your research
“Speak authentically and passionately about the mission and why it matters to [you]. This often means that the candidate can demonstrate they’ve done their research and has a clear understanding of how we aim to make the world a little kinder.”
KIND’s Interview Process: Behind the Scenes
Interested in interviewing at KIND for one of their open roles? In the spirit of transparency, Del Broccolo shares exactly how her team approaches the interview process:
Insight #1. While our mission has always played a role in how we’ve recruited team members, we have continued to enhance and refine our process over time. One thing we’ve recently developed to equip interviewers to have more meaningful conversations is interview guides. Our guides are informed by our values and, among other things, provide suggested questions for interviewers to ask based on the role and level of experience required.
Insight #2. By asking a consistent set of questions, our interviewers are well-prepared going into each conversation and are able to engage more deeply about what matters most. After meeting a candidate, the interviewers come together for a debrief and evaluate not only the candidate’s technical skills but also their alignment to our values and consider how they might add to our culture. They also discuss whether a candidate’s passion for our mission was shared consistently and authentically throughout the interview process.
Insight #3. Candidates will typically interview with a team member from outside the one they are being considered for to ensure we’re thinking beyond departmental dynamics and consider their potential impact on our broader culture.
Insight #4. We also pay attention to the questions candidates ask our interviewers. Thoughtful questions show that you have genuine interest in how the organization operations and passion for helping us bring our mission to life. Like a cover letter, the questions you ask an interview can demonstrate that you have done your homework.
Insight #5. Reference checks are another important touch point that can indicate whether a candidate is aligned with our values and culture.
Finally, Del Broccolo adds, “candidates that rise to the top will be those who have fully leveraged these resources and as such, can clearly articulate what the company stands for and how they can help make an impact.”