Today’s topic

11 steps to help Hiring Managers prioritise potential in hiring

Engaging colleagues to move from insisting on years of experience as a metric isn't easy. Whether you're helping to shift the mindset of an HM or a founder, here’s a reframing exercise you can use to take stakeholders on a journey to embracing core skills, reducing bias and finding candidates who have the potential to grow.

You’ll need to tailor this framework to your needs: do you have an upcoming vacancy that you want to re-work? Are you socialising ideas? Maybe you’ve started working with a psychometric assessment tool and you need to increase engagement with a new system?

Whatever the reason, by working with your team to help them uncover the gaps, you’ll make it easier for people to voice their reservations. You'll help them to understand why you’re moving to a system that allows a company-wide move to hiring candidates who have potential to grow with your company, and to help you all to increase success in growing the diversity of your teams.

Ideally, this is a workshop where stakeholders are free to voice their opinions; using a Miro board or Post-It notes, Sharpies and a wall, help stakeholders to explore their learnt assumptions about CVs and screening: allow everyone to be engaged with the process of moving to a transparent, evidence-based screening process.

How to guide your stakeholders: ask them ‘How Might We Screen Candidates More Effectively?’

1. Explain a ‘How Might We’ framework, where we take a problem and turn it into a question. E.g.,

Problems: We spend too long screening CVs. We don’t know what we’re looking for. We don’t know if we’re doing a good job

Problems: Our candidates lack diversity. How do we get more diverse candidates to apply? How do we increase diversity?

2. Reframe those problems into questions

Questions: ‘How might we start a more effective screening, one that shows us which candidates have better readiness to start and potential to grow?’

Questions: ‘How might we build a screening process that allows us to increase diversity at screening?’

3. Ask stakeholders what they like about CVs

Encourage positive responses, creating a safe space for ideas sharing

If there are no positive responses, highlight this!

4. Next, explore what information isn’t knowable via CVs 

Raise themes of potential, reliability of information, qualifications from other countries.

Explore how some of this information makes the stakeholder feel - if they see qualifications that they can’t verify, would they feel confident to move them to the next stage? Would they screen that applicant out?

5. Ask your HMs or your founder to ask what core skills they feel the post requires.

If they get micro, draw them back to top-level skills, for example, leadership and engaging the teams. Maybe display some mock, or anonymised CVs - ask them to explore their reactions

6. Demonstrate the common pitfalls of CVs (e.g., opacity, biodata-based bias)

Provide evidence that women and people of colour struggle to get past the screen, that it increases agism, fatphobia,

Explore *why* we use metrics such as years of experience: ask them to think about why we have a habit of asking for this. Guide them to understand that we are looking for social proof, and to use it as a screening tool to create a longlist.

Communicate that a deeper understanding of the core skills of a position are more important, e.g., for a Customer Success manager, we’re looking for a team player who loves collaborating, a people person.

Work through understanding that the 'fact' of 5 years experience doesn’t help us to understand who is a top performer.

7. Ask stakeholders what they want to know about candidates at screening

Explore ideas such as

  • learning who has the minimum skills needed
  • who seems worth taking forwards
  • a quick tool to screen out many applications at scale

8. Challenge stakeholders on their red flags

Why do we think of them as red flags? e.g., typos - does that really show us that a candidate is so careless that they can’t be trusted?

9. Introduce core skills

For example, a team leader should have skills in leadership, engagement, diplomacy, and working to targets
Explore why these matter

10. Challenge and reframe until you’ve created a list of core skills for the job

Need to know what core skills you need for a job? Click here for a top-level list.

Aim for a concise list that uses action based language, to encourage diverse applications

11. Demonstrate the difference in profiles, and ask stakeholders to consider how they'd feel about reading the new list of skills

You're done!

If you’re working on job that’s about to go live, you can use this as a test-case to shift the dial. Help Hiring Managers and Founders to understand why the changes need to be made, and where you need to go to build future fit teams.