Test for real-world skills during the MGO candidate interview

How Dartmouth College uses role-playing exercises to test MGO candidates' skills

Topics: Major Gifts and Campaign Strategy, Advancement, Fundraising, Donor and Prospect Relations

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Recalibrating Your Hiring Process

While understanding the key profile attributes of a Curious Chameleon is helpful in planning MGO hiring and professional development, EAB’s focus on pragmatic research necessitated discovering how advancement shops have designed and deployed innovative methods of testing for Curious Chameleon key profile attributes.

Our research uncovered the difficulty members face in determining if a candidate will be a good fundraiser. People may be able to talk the talk, but there's often no way to verify their claims. Interview exercises and activities can help in determining which MGO candidates have the key attributes of the Curious Chameleon by putting them in more of a 'real-world' situation. Many people can skate by on talking the talk, and there’s often no way to verify claims they make.

Darthmouth College's role-playing interview exercise

For nearly a decade, Dartmouth College’s leadership annual giving team has been using a set of exercises to ascertain job candidate fit with fundraising roles. Before the interview, the candidate receives an email with a description of what will be expected during the interview, along with biographical information on a fictional prospect who is an alumnus of Dartmouth College. The activity, the details of which you can see below, tests the entire range of Curious Chameleon key profile attributes.

Dartmouth's Role-Playing Exercise

What our research team found most interesting about this set of activities is that it enabled the hiring manager to test many skills and traits in a single hour. Specifically, the activities provided the hiring manager with information on all four key profile attributes associated with Curious Chameleons.

An ancillary benefit of introducing this exercise is that it has worked its way into the DNA of office culture, so much so that Dartmouth reports that it’s considered a “memorable rite of passage” for all members of the team, something that contributes to an esprit de corps in the office.