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COVID + Black Lives Matter + LGBTQ: How recruiting teams are retooling their process to rise to the moment

When COVID hit and req loads plummeted, forward-thinking TA leaders didn’t just retrench. While many had to make tough decisions, they also responded resiliently – shifting their teams’ focus from the daily grind of filling reqs to strategic projects that pay long-term dividends.

You could describe many of the projects they initially prioritized as “cleaning house”: clearing out the clutter that puts a drag on the recruiting team. Tactically speaking: tidying up the ATS, removing expired reqs and refreshing job descriptions, tossing out outdated or ancillary tools in their tech stack.    

These investments are good ones; they’ll surely drive efficiency. 

But as a national protest movement and a landmark Supreme Court ruling have once again brought bias and fairness to the forefront of every conversation, the best recruiting leaders are reframing how they’ll use this unique opportunity to retool their hiring process. 

They’re asking themselves: shouldn’t we be using this moment to do more than a surface-level scrubbing of our dashboards and data sets? 

Shouldn’t we be holding up a mirror to reassess – and retool – the core activity that influences every hiring outcome and colors every candidate experience: our hiring conversations? 

We’ve been inspired by TA leaders who are saying: let’s invest now to ensure that we assess every candidate fairly, and with minimal bias. Let’s be confident we’re interacting with candidates in ways that will drive up NPS and close rates across all demographics. Let’s make sure we’ve established the expectations, processes, and technology to hold all our interviewers to a standard of excellence, in every conversation from phone screen to closing call.

But how are teams investing to improve hiring conversations when they’re not having many – or any? 

Rolling out interview training now can help to set the right expectations and foundations. But training alone won’t ensure we’re our best selves, in the moment, when it really counts.

What teams can do today is put in place the processes and technology to ensure excellence in every candidate interaction. Specifically, they can make these three strategic investments:

1. Audit your hiring conversations. Run an anonymized survey across the last cohort of new hires who joined your company. Ask about their hiring conversations, from their initial screen through to their closing call. What were they asked? What was their impression? How often did they repeat themselves? What expectations were set for them? Did they feel fairly assessed? What was missing? 

Interviews are indelibly etched in people’s memories – you’ll be surprised how much you can learn about your hiring conversations – the good, bad, and ugly – from what your recent hires recall about going through it. (Even better if you can extend this survey to include candidates who made it to final rounds and were not hired.)

2. Create real structure for your hiring conversations. There is evidence that structured, behavior-based interviews have higher predictive validity than what most hiring managers do – which is just wing it. But driving rigor into hiring conversations requires up-front planning and work – more so than just setting up a simple scorecard with ratings for a few competencies. 

Take this downtime to partner with hiring teams to define ideal performance criteria, draft specific questions to elicit concrete and relevant evidence, and make sure these assets are accessible to the entire hiring team and re-usable over time. Investing in this structure now will dramatically improve hiring quality when req loads pick up.

3. Bring modern technology into the heart of the hiring process. Interviewing is incredibly hard. There’s no reason we should still be relying on pen, paper, and our (fuzzy) memories to get the job done, when technology can immediately elevate the effectiveness of every hiring conversation.

Modern technology can give every interviewer a virtual assistant, helping them structure every conversation and capture the moments that mattered to make sound decisions. It can turn discussions into data assets, giving TA leaders new visibility into the heart of the hiring process. And it can ensure candidates get the experience they deserve: a fair, transparent, consistent process, with timely decisions made based on real evidence. 

We have a rare opportunity to set a new bar for how our teams hire. At BrightHire, we’re proud to be working alongside a handful of forward thinking TA leaders who won’t let this opportunity go to waste.

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