Hiring Process

Posted by Iain Russell on


Hiring Process
I currently lead a team in five time zones across two countries. We hire between 500-1000 people a year. With my team facilitating a technical test as the final step in our hiring process. At this point it is fair to say - how did an ex fashion designer get looped into the world of hiring. Well it wasn't a direct linkage but I do see similarities around sustainable design practices and a successful hiring process. I want to share a few pieces of the process that I personally love and I feel really add to a better hiring system. 


Building a rubric
Two years ago we put the time, effort, and research into our marking rubric for the technical assessment process. Trying to more clearly outline what behaviours were shown during the interview. We originally worked on a 1-4 scale - I personally don’t believe humans work well on linear scales so we actually moved to a yes, no, sometimes. This is two fold as it allows for candidates to gain marks for showing what we know are successful behaviours for the role. While also allowing the adjudicator to feel they are being fair in the assessment. Basically did you do the thing.  


Team Calibrations 
Hiring happens in the moment. Of course you can add steps to a process to allow for additional bias checks - but what's life without a little risk right. Being able to all score and discuss the same candidate on a bi-weekly cadence allows for a remote dispersed group to know their coworker would mark the same work at a similar score. I have never wanted a process that is the exact same across the board - no scripts here - but I do want a process that is fair. Calibrations allow me to sleep well at night knowing that the same candidate will not have vastly different experiences depending on their adjudicator. 


People above all else
Seems like it would go without saying - but like clothing design is about end use of the garment. Hiring is about an even more precious resource - people. In hiring you have to remind yourself you are not helping someone by giving them a chance. Not only does that take a space from someone who would have been successful but people quit jobs and change their lives for your opportunity. We want people to thrive and grow into doing their best work. It’s so crucial in any hiring system to think about people above all else. When you are getting pushed to hit a number know that you must focus on quality above all else.

Diversity and Belonging
Hiring process will inherently be biased - simply put people need to and will fail. Your process will need to be designed with accommodations in mind. At the same time you will constantly need to reflect on who you are bringing into your hiring funnels as well as, how the process will be skewed to a North American service standard and general service niceties. As a director of a process you need to reflect on this with your team. Have conversations about how our long standing biases aren’t helping us. At the same time we need to focus on belonging - nothing upsets me more than optic hiring to hit a number. You need to focus on how your employees are a community and communities need to have common connections beyond just the work we do. 


The biggest parallel I see between fashion design and the process design of hiring is never being happy with the outcome. There is always work to be done, things that need to be worked on, changed, and refined. Like fashion it changes almost seasonally - from Fall/ Winter to Q3/Q4. If anyone is hiring I of course am always open to chat! 
-iain