Take your hiring from chaotic to confident with structured hiring

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4 mins, 24 secs read time

Here at Greenhouse, we’re a little obsessed with structured hiring. In fact, Greenhouse Co-founders Daniel Chait and Jon Stross just wrote a book – Talent Makers – on this very topic. But we also recognize that structured hiring can seem intimidating if you’ve never done it before. And that when you’re pressed to meet hiring goals today, it can be tough to find the time to think about improving your process for tomorrow.

At the first Open Forum 2021 event, Join the Talent Makers, Greenhouse President and Co-founder Jon Stross moderated the panel discussion “From chaos to confidence: Why structured hiring is worth the effort.” In this conversation, panelists Grace Koo, Managing Director and Head of Talent Acquisition at KKR, Jan Fiegel, Head of Talent at Sidewalk Labs and Jill Macri, Partner/Co-founder at Growth by Design Talent, share how structured hiring has transformed their approach to recruiting.

Discover the key takeaways from their discussion below or check out the on-demand recording to make sure you don’t miss a thing.

How do you get your team to buy into structured hiring?

“Instead of talking too much about how you should swim, you should just get in the pool,” says Grace. She finds that you can use scorecards and interview kits to guide your debrief conversations with the hiring team. When you integrate the tools of structured hiring into your discussions, you’re helping your team adopt this new way of working much faster.

Jill says it’s helpful to start with the why. Interviewers want to get a better sense of what they’re interviewing for. Recruiters want to know how to measure whether they’re hiring the right people. And founders want to ensure that hiring is aligned with company culture. “Structured hiring is the answer to all those things,” Jill shares. Make that clear to your team and it’s an easy sell.

“Good recruiting is not harder than any of the other things you’re doing – but it is that hard,” says Jan. For any skill – whether it’s raising capital or developing a product – we intuitively understand that we need to dedicate ourselves to honing our craft. Yet for some reason, many people feel that when it comes to recruiting, they can just improvise. Jan says it helps to share the research that shows how structure can mitigate some of the bias that comes up in the hiring process. And, of course, to remind your stakeholders that candidates see the hiring experience as a proxy for what the employee experience is at your company. In a competitive talent market, candidates aren’t afraid to dismiss a company that offers a sub-par hiring experience.

How does structured hiring lead to better results?

Structured hiring provides you with a number of data points. Over time, you interpret what the data is telling you and refine your process accordingly. For example, Grace explains that an on-campus recruiting event for university hires gave her team the chance to do some learning of their own. While conducting multiple days of interviews in rapid succession, they realized that one question was not generating the intended answers and therefore leading them to exclude too many candidates. Because they were asking the same questions in every interview, they were able to make this observation and then remove that question from all scorecards.

In addition to providing greater insights, structured hiring makes your process more efficient. “Once you implement structured hiring, it’s really interesting to see how much faster decisions can be made,” says Jill. Providing clear criteria for interviewers makes it a lot easier for them to make quick decisions.

You need to move fast but you also want to implement structured hiring. What do you do?

You might feel like there’s a bit of a Catch-22 when it comes to structured hiring. If you’re rapidly scaling, it can be tough to pause and implement this new way of working. But if you don’t take the time to make changes, your process is more likely to be inefficient, biased and frustrating for everyone involved.

To overcome this, Jan says you simply need to make structured hiring the default. “Make it easy to do the right thing.”

Jill says it’s helpful to understand that structured hiring saves you time in the long run. When your process is ad hoc, you’re actually losing a lot of time along the way. And if you can achieve alignment with your hiring team before you take a job out to market, it will have a positive impact on your time to hire.

Finally, Grace points out that scorecards are important visual tools. At a glance, you can see if a candidate got an overwhelmingly positive or negative assessment from the hiring team. “It makes it easy to see an obvious yes or no, so it saves time for all the unnecessary conversations you don’t need to have,” says Grace.

The conversations during Open Forum give you a chance to learn from other business leaders and talent pros who have built diverse, high-performing teams. Sound like something you want to be a part of? Join us for the next Open Forum event, Building Belonging, on June 16.

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Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno

is a freelance writer and former Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Melissa previously built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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