May 14, 2020
Making Community Spaces Safer: On Hiring and TransparencyBy Caitlin Perry on behalf of the Educopia team
Over the course of this year (2020), members of the Educopia staff will be contributing blog posts to the “Making Community Spaces Safer” series. Each post will explore one of our organizational values and describe our efforts to live into that value, including our successes, our failures, and the hard-won lessons that occur in between. We will announce new posts on the Educopia website and on Twitter.
Since early 2018, the Educopia team has more than doubled in size. This rapid growth has proven to be a driving force for the organization. From formalizing our values to reorganizing our staffing structure to revisiting our hiring practices, the last two years have offered a host of new insights and lessons.
As our team has grown, each new job search has given us the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to our values. Throughout, we have kept our eyes trained on transparency, reliability, and responsiveness as the core components of our hiring and management practices.
Our commitment to accountability and transparency in hiring begins the moment we post a new position. Giving applicants as much information as possible throughout the process creates an environment in which applicants can feel confident in Educopia’s workplace culture. Each position has a detailed description of the job and its requirements, a salary or salary range, the skills or experience that will help an applicant be successful in the role, the position term (if applicable), the date when the application review will begin, and an email address for questions.
The goal here is three-fold:
- to be respectful of the time and energy of applicants so that no person has to spend time creating an application package without knowing that the position will pay enough or that the timing will work out
- to signal to potential employees our dedication to honesty and transparency in hiring and compensation
- and to remove the systemic and personal challenges that people encounter when negotiating for salaries
Being open regarding pay, benefits, and timing promotes a system that supports equity while also recognizing the humanity of each applicant.
Before our interviews begin, we strive to communicate as clearly as possible with all applicants and to give them a sense of what to expect at each stage of the hiring process. Candidates who are invited to interview are provided, in advance, a list of everyone on the hiring committee, an agenda for the call, and a list of topics to be discussed. For candidates who are not invited to interview, we let them know as soon as that decision has been made by the committee, usually before the start of the first interview.
Once the interviews have commenced, most commonly via teleconferencing software such as Zoom, the hiring committee begins by outlining the structure of the interview, and then each committee member introduces themselves and asks the candidate to do the same. The committee then poses questions verbally, but we also provide the questions in written form (via the chat function) so that candidates can refer back and avoid feeling caught off guard or overwhelmed. We encourage candidates to turn their video on or off, whichever option makes them feel most comfortable.
After all of the interviews are complete, the search committee meets as soon as possible to make a decision, usually within one or two days of the last interview. A top candidate, or possibly several, are identified, and each is made aware that we are checking their references and moving towards making an offer. At this point, all additional candidates are notified that they are no longer being considered for the position. We believe this step is key in responsible and respectful hiring practices; our ethics of care guides us to convey this information personally and quickly, rather than leaving candidates waiting and wondering without resolution.
Throughout every step of the hiring process, we strive to keep every applicant informed of their status as soon as it is known to the committee. We recognize that applying and interviewing for a new job often results in vulnerability and insecurity for candidates, so we work hard to lessen those feelings and experiences at each stage of our hiring process. We believe that this level of transparency is a kindness and a gesture of respect, an acknowledgement that each applicant deserves an interview process in which they feel comfortable and in which we demonstrate that we value the time and energy they invest.
Hiring is a reciprocal process; each person who applies for a position within Educopia is also evaluating us. Given the very real and human challenges surrounding job transitions, we believe that the hiring process is a critically important time to live up to our values.