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Best Practices in Hiring

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By: Angela Palmer, Director Marketing

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You may have seen recently that we are currently hiring for an Events + Marketing Manager. With this hire, we are officially rolling out some new hiring practices that were beta tested for the last year by our VISTA team.

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Last year, Robin Hanson, the Alliance AmeriCorps VISTA Director, and I met to discuss steps that the Alliance could take to make our hiring practices more equitable, especially when it came to the VISTA program. This is especially pertinent to the VISTA staff as they regularly recruit new people and are given extensive personal information about each applicant that could potentially bias the VISTA Leader, who reviews the applications. We agreed on the following steps:

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·      The VISTA Director will initially receive the applications and remove any identifying information including but not limited to: name, age, gender, educational history, location, and email.

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·      The VISTA leader would review the applications and tell the Director which applicants should be interviewed.

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·      It is not until the decision to interview has been made that the VISTA leader receives the omitted information about the candidate.

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Over the past year, Robin has reported how easy this process was with very few, if any, minor hiccups. With the opening of this new position, we decided to expand these practices to our hiring in general.

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Robin has been very helpful as she receives the applications. She scrubs them of any identifying or biasing information and assigns each applicant a number. The application then gets dropped into a shared folder and the 3 reviewers (myself, Jennifer Purcell, and Michael Barry) enter our decisions of whether to interview in a spreadsheet. The final decision to interview is based on a majority rule basis. We tell Robin what applicant numbers we want to interview and then we receive the full application.

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These “blind” reviews are an easy way to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion work into what we are already doing and barely increases the staff hours needed for hiring purposes. Because of this ease, we are planning on continuing this process for every hire in the future. We hope that this plus the variety of locations where we post our positions will help us be able to recruit and hire the staff that is the most qualified and passionate about serving the nonprofit sector.