Educational Equity Newsletter – April 9, 2020
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Taking Your Hiring Process Online!
We hope you and your team are doing well and starting to create a new rhythm as we move forward together.
One of the areas many EDs and other nonprofit leaders are focusing on right now is finalizing staffing plans and hiring for next school year. We know there are lots of demands for your time this week and next, but we’re advising leaders to prioritize these two areas over the next month, to ensure you’re able to bring the best talent possible to your organization next year.
Create your hiring blueprint.
Before you begin (or resume) hiring for SY2021, get these three things in place:
- Confirm who will (and won’t) be returning: Pre-COVID 19, you probably had a strong idea of who you wanted to retain, and who—if anyone—you didn’t want to extend an offer to for next year. You probably also had a sense of who might be leaving, but—with all that’s happening in the world—that may have changed. We strongly advise that you get clarity in these two areas before you begin your hiring processes for next year. (If you need help thinking about what to do with lower performers during the pandemic, stay tuned for our email next week on this topic.)
- Settle on your staffing plan and make sure the must-haves you’ve identified for each role still make sense: Before you begin recruiting, take some time to decide on which roles you’re hiring for, what the must-haves for each are, and how you’ll assess against those must-haves.
- Block off time in your calendar to ensure good hiring happens: We advise that you set protected appointments on your calendar for the next two months to block the time needed for hiring to happen (and add a 50% buffer to ensure you account for how much longer many of these tasks take remotely and the follow-up needed from interviews).
Ensure equitable hiring in a remote context.
Bias exists as much in remote hiring processes as it does in in-person ones. To mitigate bias and ensure equitable hiring, you’ll want to make sure that the same strong practices you engage with in a typical hiring process (focusing on must-haves vs. nice-to-haves, performance tasks/demos with rubrics, structured interview questions, a diverse hiring team) are followed in a remote context.
Build the pool using different techniques.
With the federal quarantine guidance, most people in our sector are working from home most days. This presents a rare opportunity to find new talent to apply for your open roles, if we think differently about recruiting:
- Passive recruiting on LinkedIn: One idea might be having your HR team search LinkedIn for candidates they want to encourage to apply for open roles. They can passively recruit these candidates by searching for keywords in job titles, or certain kinds of experiences, and then use LinkedIn in-mails to reach these candidates directly, ask them for referrals, or invite them to apply. For example, you might say, “I’m [name], [title] at [org name]. I’m reaching out because we’re looking for an [adjective, adjective] [title] and we thought you might be a great fit. If you’d like to hear more, or if you know of others who might be a fit, I’d be glad to hop on the phone!”
- Share your organization’s culture with candidates: Use online fireside chats with staff, virtual open houses with leaders, Q&A office hours for pools of candidates, and other mechanisms to share your organization’s culture with potential candidates and answer their questions before they apply.
- Attract talent for your organization through social media and informal networks: Now’s the time to update your organization’s social media profiles, reconnect with networks that you don’t normally have a chance to post roles to, and send emails to ask for help with recruitment.
Keep doing live demos and performance tasks.
Just because we’re remote doesn’t mean live demos can’t happen. Any in-person demo can usually be done remotely (whether a Zoom lesson to a handful of students or teachers, or a role-play with a tricky parent played by you or a staff member at your school). If you have specific challenges adapting a performance task, we’d be happy to troubleshoot it with you. Reply to this email with your specific question and we’ll be glad to send you a few ideas.
Build a more diverse hiring team (even with limited staff bandwidth).
As more and more team members are caring for others or for themselves during the pandemic, there’s a greater risk that interviewing teams will be missing people of color, LGBTQIA staff, or others at the margins. This is a problem not only because it means key voices will be left out of the selection process, but also because candidates of color and others are looking at the diversity of the hiring team to determine whether an organization walks its talk on issues of race and equity. With that in mind, there are ways you can ensure a race and gender diverse hiring team, even when staff bandwidth is limited:
- Carve out bite-sized roles: Create ways for staff to engage with the hiring process that don’t require a ton of time to complete. Example: helping to design performance tasks or assessment rubrics, or helping to assess work samples using a simple 3-4 point rubric.
- Record Zoom interviews so that unavailable team members can watch them and give feedback when they’re free: If an interviewer can’t make it due to caregiving or caring for themselves, let them watch the video later and assess the candidate using your standard interview rubric. Set a 1-2 day turnaround for watching the video and returning the feedback.
- Assign interviewers (and back-ups) with specific “look fors” based on their expertise: Jigsaw your interviewer roles so that each interviewer or back-up has 1-2 must-haves to focus on aligned to their expertise/experience. For example, if one interviewer for a VP role is a highly skilled grade-level chair focused on how the leader coaches and supports their teachers, then have 1-2 other back-up interviewers that are also uniquely qualified to assess that must-have.
We hope these tips make your next few interview processes more effective. If you run into trouble along the way, reply to this email and we’ll be glad to help!