4 Steps to decrease bias and create a measurable hiring methodology

For this post, I’ll use a framework that I created for BeyondScale‘s tech recruiting. I customized an example from Dan Kahneman’s book, Thinking, Fast and Slow with a few of my inputs.

Step 1: Define your evaluation criteria and weights

BeyondScale team felt that raw technical skill is 30% of the signal for a great employee. Starting with that insight, I added common attributes that are expected from a developer and assigned the weights.

The good thing about this framework of thinking is that you don’t have to be perfect on Day-1. If it’s not working, your team has a direct feedback for necessary changes.

CriterionDescriptionWeight
Raw Technical SkillReact/Javascript/Python/Citrix/other raw skills that they use day to day in this role1
Engineering decision making abilitye.g. Evaluating and choosing libraries0.7
Git Workflow FamiliarityImportant for devs to collaborate with other devs0.7
Predicting failure scenariosDefensive programming techniques0.7
Clarity of CommunicationVocabulary, Precision and to a lesser extent Pronunciation0.7
Common senseNot believing bullshit just because the manager said so0.7
HonestyCVs are inflated. How much is real?0.7
Passion for great workGreat craftsmen are fundamentally driven by a need to do great work0.7
CuriosityTinkering with things0.7
How far have they come?If the candidate is from a disadvantaged circumstance, then how far they came is a great signal of how far they’ll go. https://medium.com/incerto/surgeons-should-notlook-like-surgeons-23b0e2cf6d520.7
Example criteria and weights
Step 2: Create a google form for these attributes

For this example the form looked like this – https://forms.gle/HXo8aZ96TkPxw3QRA

Post every interview, the interviewers had to fill in this form independently and restrict their evaluation in each question to the specific question being asked.

Step 3: Compute a final score for each candidate

The formula for the final score is

SUM(SCORE_UNDER_CRITERION x CRITERION_WEIGHT)

Step 4: Sort by final scores and make an offer

The final step is to just make an offer to the highest scorer. That turns out to be surprisingly hard for teams as all kinds of emotional reasons come in at this stage.

Bias comes in many forms

Since recruiting is a highly subjective matter, you should resist the temptation to override the final scores for emotional reasons.

Measure and tune

As time progresses, adjust the criteria and weights in Step 2 as you gain better understanding of your talent needs. This framework of thinking gives you a way to

  • tap into your team’s collective intuition
  • measure effectiveness of your recruiting methods
  • improve your talent spotting ability by removing bias

Let me know your thoughts

Hope that helped. Feel free to share your thoughts & concerns about this framework. Do you have such criteria and weights that you can share in comments?

I’m happy to help create this framework for your team. Contact me at manu AT bountyhiring.com

Relatable Greatness Series: Lucija Mrzljak

Lucija Mrzljak shares how war shaped her thought and career and how she discovered her tribe.

Job Title: Illustration artist and animation film director

Age: 29

Location: Tallinn, Estonia

What do you do in your job?

I work on different projects as a freelance artist, mostly I illustrate books, design posters, and I make animated films.

What do you like about your job?

I like the unpredictability and challenges of creative processes.

What is hard about your job?

The fact that there are no strict working hours for a freelancer, sometimes some projects can turn into a 24/7 marathon. Over time, you learn to balance the priorities.

Client isn’t always right. As I grow, I feel more secure in what I’m doing.

It’s good to be a little flexible and they some times forget to tell you something which leads to trashing a whole month’s work. Now a days I ask more questions in the beginning to avoid such mistakes.

To prevent burnout I take advantage of flexibility in my work. Like Yoga, walks, cycle and meditation about twice a week. I also play violin and I cook.

What’s something that you did recently that you’re proud of?

Just recently I published a children’s book with my illustrations in collaboration with an Estonian writer.

What are your two values?

  • Passion – have some fire inside
  • Open-mindedness – avoid tunnel vision

Where do you come from?

I grew up in a poor farming family in Croatia.I started working early at around 16. I went to work in Zagreb, the capital city. While at Zagreb, I got an opportunity to travel abroad and I was forced to survive. That’s when you learned to take chances.

From the childhood I have always wanted to be an artist. There was never a single eureka moment. I didn’t know if I could survive as an artist but I knew that’s what I wanted to be.

Family was supportive while growing up. We lived in the country side. When I was born, there was a war with Serbia. We were in a relatively safe area but we were always hearing of death and tragedy. I only saw destroyed cities.

Due to this experience, my parents had this attitude that Life is Short and that you should do whatever you like though you may not earn a comfortable living. As a child, I was shielded from the horrors of war but war did have an affect on my environment.

I think it’s best to live through war as a child.

My brother is also into art, he’s a designer. So, growing up, we were each other’s support.

Where are you going?

I want to do more Illustrations and Films.

I don’t like to repeat myself. With each experiment you have a chance to open a new window and learn a new style. So I like trying out new techniques but not too big that you can’t recognize. So when some one goes through my works, they can still recognize that these are by the same person.

Who is your tribe?
I studied at EKA (Estonian Academy of Arts). This is where I met some of my fellow artists like Milly Yencken from Australia.

Why Estonia?
It was an accident. I was just looking for art schools and when a friend suggested that I apply to EKA, I remember thinking ‘Eastern Europe should be affordable too’. Estonia is a small country but it’s famous for animation. After Hiroshima and Annecy, Zagreb has one of the oldest film festivals. Estonia has great entries there every year. That’s how I discovered the Estonian animation scene.

What is one setback/challenge that you faced?

Every new day with it’s new challenges and every blank page waiting for ideas.

But you’re taking life with full lungs

Where can people find you?

https://www.behance.net/lucisiddbf2e


This article is a part of Relatable Greatness series where we explore greatness in everyday people as expressed through their values and actions. We believe that there are many great employees behind the success of companies and they have beautiful stories. If you want to get featured (you probably should 😉), fill out this form – https://forms.gle/2ebPSubVSztoVAV66

We try to publish every submission.

Relatable Greatness Series: Marilii Saar

After spending several years in Theater, Marilii Saar moved back to Estonia to become a full-time programmer. This is her story.

Job Title: Junior Web Developer

Location: Tallinn, Estonia

What do you do in your job?

I design and code websites

What do you like about your job?

I love problem-solving and finding solutions to difficult features – it is so satisfying when you test something and it finally works. I also enjoy team-work and discussing possible solutions / ideas with my colleagues.

What is hard about your job?

Testing – there always seems to be that one device that behaves differently from the others.

What’s something that you did recently that you’re proud of?

I completed the Vali IT! retraining programme and decided to actually make a career move to IT. I am really proud of the website we designed and coded during my work experience. I had to learn JavaScript for the very first time and it was great to see the client happy with the end result.

What are your two values?

  • Honesty is the best policy – I always try to own up to my mistakes. I am also a strong believer in “give credit where credit is due” which falls under the same category.
  • Always keep learning – There’s always something to learn and take away with me for the future.

Tell us about a time when you took a stand for something you believe in

Living in London, I had a very different job and I associated with a lot of artists – people who have very liberal and inclusive views. Therefore, when I first moved back to Estonia and to a much less ‘arty’ circle of people, the apparent fear of inclusion was rather shocking.

In fact, during those first few weeks, a group of us decided to go out to get to know each other better. Somehow the conversation turned to “harmless” black jokes and a member of the group thought they were OK amongst friends because “what’s said amongst friends, stays amongst friends”.

I must admit that I saw red and, therefore, was not as eloquent or calm as I would have liked. But, for the first time in my life, I felt the need to confront someone about their racist views. After the argument, I probably shook for the rest of the evening, both shocked by the fact that, in this day and age, that person still thought that racist jokes weren’t harmful to anyone and the fact that I actually confronted someone in a group where I was pretty certain I’d be the only one who had the courage to say anything.

However, if I’ve learnt anything from living in London, it’s that:

These conversations are more important than my personal comfort – as long as people get to express their racist views without any consequences, they’ll keep thinking that the rest of the world thinks like them but are just trying to be ‘politically correct’.

Where do you come from?

I suppose that my IT journey really began when I discovered pixel art as a teenager. I started designing very basic websites and I’ve been hooked ever since. For some reason, I always saw it as more of a hobby and decided to pursue acting instead. That took me to the UK where I attended drama school and got my BA in Acting. I worked as a freelance actor for years whilst doing customer service and admin jobs as my ‘day job’.

I actually started thinking about a career move a couple of years ago. I had started designing websites not just for myself but also for friends and family. This proved to me that I was passionate about programming – once I started on a project, I could work for hours completely forgetting the rest of the world. I don’t really recall being this engrossed in work before so when my mum suggested that I move back home to Estonia to attend a course, I jumped at the opportunity.

I wrote what I was sure was the worst cover letter ever and the rest is history. I was one of the lucky ones in my group because I managed to find a company who let me do my work experience from home – the only reason I could do it during the recent emergency state and isolation.

Actually getting to code for 8 hours a day 5 days a week for 8 weeks definitely cemented the idea that programming was the thing for me

I have never been this happy to get up in the morning to go to work.

Where are you going?

I am certain that I want to keep writing code, although I haven’t 100% made my mind up on the stack. I am currently still actively learning JavaScript, Java, and recently, Python. I’m also thinking of a masters in IT. I’ll make my mind up eventually but as long as I’m learning, I’ll ride the wave and see where it takes me.

What is one setback/challenge that you faced?

I had made my mind up about staying in the UK forever so deciding to move home almost felt like step backwards – I left everything I worked for behind to go and live with my parents again.

How did that experience change you?

I have realised that sometimes you need to go backwards in order to move forward.

Without the support of my parents and the chance to live at home again, I never would have had the means to complete an intensive IT course and I would still be dreaming about making a career change.

Change is scary and fear can play tricks on your mind but having pushed through it, I am grateful for the opportunity. If anything, this has been a huge leap forwards – it feels rejuvenating and hopeful, even in the backdrop of an emergency.

What is something you wish someone told you 10 years ago?

It’s OK to change your mind about your dreams

Where can people find you?

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mariliisaar/


This article is a part of Relatable Greatness series where we explore greatness in everyday people as expressed through their values and actions. We believe that there are many great employees behind the success of companies and they have beautiful stories. If you want to get featured (you probably should 😉), fill out this form – https://forms.gle/2ebPSubVSztoVAV66

We try to publish every submission.

The top 5% of talent: you’re more talented than you think.

Everybody is above average at some thing – be it programming or design or gardening. But if you’re above average and you also enjoy it, magic happens. Unless something stops you, you’ll soon land in the top 5%. Let me explain.

Skill is an exponential game

While practicing a skill, each time you overcome a new challenge, your brain makes new neural associations to solve the situation more easily next time. But this rewiring makes you strong for a hundred other similar situations. In mathematical terms, skill is exponentially proportional to the number of practical challenges you face.

But if you also like it

It’s nice when you understand something. But if you also like it, you will do it again. Mind-blowing, I know. So your n goes up, so does your skill and soon you’ll be in the top 5% – the zone Ken Robison calls The Element. You’ll surprise everyone, including yourself.

And when you’re in the top 5%, you should get paid. A lot.

So, if you are above average

When you overtake 50% of the crowd, you’re having fun. And you don’t stop. You’ll go much farther. You may soon find yourself in the top 5%. Unless, of course, a well-meaning uncle advises you to “take a step back and think about the good life as a Data Scientist” and you suspect that he’s probably right because “nobody ever told you that you had any special talents”.

So, next time you are above average at something (like training a dog) and you also enjoy it, take it seriously. Keep looking till you find that something but don’t kill yourself. Because, to find something you must stay alive.

Why Vulnerability is the new Super skill

Remember that time when you had to tell your colleague that they are wrong? Or that time when you had to stand in front of a crowd and speak your mind? This uneasy feeling is called Vulnerability and I believe that teams with effective skills to deal with it will dominate the market in the coming decade. Let me explain why.

Wait, what is Vulnerability again?

Vulnerability is the feeling of being exposed to hurt, disappointment, shame or ridicule. It’s an everyday experience if you’re alive at all. But some people are better equipped to deal with it than others.

How does it feel?

It’s crushing. Vulnerability is not easy for even the world’s greatest leaders.

Why does it feel so hard?

Each time you are in a vulnerable situation you risk being a fool, a loser or (my favourite,) a time waster. It’s often so hard that many people choose safety and stick to unremarkable options like continuing status-quo or copying what a competitor did or what they learnt in college.

Why is this a problem?

If your people are hiding away their best ideas inside themselves, your company is headed to one place: Mediocrity. But if you’re telling me “no, my team is doing ok”, I’d like to show you a few examples.

Looking the part

Picture a teacher. I think someone like this pops in your head?

A women looking like a teacher Photo by Javier Sierra on Unsplash

Perfect makeup, perfect hair, perfect dressing, modern and glasses. This is the stereotype from advertising and a few idiots on Tinder. But great teachers often don’t match this stereotype, like my friend Renuka Devi.

No alt text provided for this image

Her last victory was gaining the trust of a group of rebellious orphans and leading them to clean up a pond. She created a safe space for them to trust others and use their energy towards achieving something and taste accomplishment. But if talent like her focused more on looking the part, we’d never hear this story.

I have an idea

Somewhere in a boardroom in 2014, someone had the guts to propose “Let’s use plus size models for our clothing line. Also let’s not photoshop them”. This was definitely “not the way things run in this business” and I’d be surprised if no one asked “Who the fuck hired you?”. But still they tried this ‘radical’ idea and apparently, “while other retailers continue to shutter stores, Aerie has already revealed plans to open between 60 and 70 new stores in the coming year. “

Many teams have theoretically correct but wrong ways to deal with vulnerability.

  • Saying “You’re welcome to suggest ideas” but then not answering why no idea is actually implemented.
  • Diverting the discussion with “…that’s not your job” or “…you’re free to fix it if you have time” or “you don’t respect what someone did for you”
  • Saying “Let’s discuss another time” but then not following up with a meeting.
  • Saying “Show me proof” and not following that up with “here’s how to find proof”
  • Not saying “I don’t understand. Say more” enough
  • Make it easier to dodge the question than accept a mistake

These are just a few ways. Brene Brown goes into more detail in Dare to Lead.

Why Vulnerability matters now

In the 21st century, jumping off the cliff is the new normal for teams. And any such leap must ultimately come from a single employee who puts forward a crazy idea. Like Patagonia, a clothing brand, suing for protection of nature. And that move created many more loyal customers.

Understanding Vulnerability creates a safe space for ideas to flourish and people to grow. That, in turn, creates products that inspire and connect to customers.

You can’t innovate with broken people

A safe space removes a lot of background noise in people’s heads. They can focus on creating value instead of how to dress to get heard.

It’s pretty easy to fix things

I hope I have convinced you to examine and remove issues with Vulnerability in your team. The good news is it’s not super hard. You can start by hanging this poster in your workplace. 🙂

Quote Card by Brené Brown

I take inspiration from these ideas while building https://bountyhiring.com

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Learn more:

  1. Surgeons Should Not Look Like Surgeons by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  2. Dare To Lead by Brené Brown

4 Opportunities Amid Corona Crisis (Even If You Can’t Go Remote)

Everyone has seen enough graphs by now so I won’t show you graphs. In this post, we’ll talk about getting back in business stronger than before. Most advice I see online for corona is about going remote. Let me remind you, the majority of economy can’t do remote and the economy won’t resume without them.

1. Hire a corona survivor

Total Recovered
211,856
76,736 recovered
China
26,743 recovered
Spain
22,440 recovered
Germany
18,278 recovered
Italy
16,711 recovered
Iran
12,548 recovered
France
9,228 recovered
US
6,021 recovered
Korea, South
4,013 recovered
Switzerland
2,495 recovered
Belgium
Check the latest figure at https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

As we speak, at least 211,856 people have recovered from Corona already. They are the closest anyone can get to being vaccinated for Corona. They can help you restart the key operations in your business – even as simple as delivering important orders to your customers. Of course, only a minority of them are working age and they could be working somewhere else. But if you have a more pressing need, you can hire them. Regular hiring methods won’t work to find such a scarce resource. You need the full power of community. We can help – bountyhiring.com

Germany is already working on these lines.

As we speak, 212k people have recovered from Corona globally. They are closest anyone can get to being vaccinated for Corona. They can help you restart the key operations in your business. #HireAHero #Restart

2. You can remotize your business now

My friend works at a Qatar bank who have never done remote. Now they are struggling to onboard new employees. Which is sad because there are experts (some newly fired) who can set you up with a full virtual desktop solution for $50 a month per desk. Going remote isn’t that hard for at least some of your staff.

There are software solutions with enterprise grade security for all your needs. My expert friend recommends searching for “Citrix virtual desktop” providers. If you need help hiring a consultant or have questions, reach out to our support.

You still can remotize your business. There are experts (some newly fired) who can set you up with a full virtual desktop solution for $50 a month. #Restart

3. Now is the best opportunity to refocus your business

Corona gives you an opportunity to reflect on your fundamentals.

If you had to pick just one statistic to reflect the health of your whole business, what would it be?

 

In the book Good to Great, Jim C. Collins explains how all the Great companies figured out this answer before achieving exponential growth. The answer doesn’t have to be literally one variable but this question generates some of the most insightful conversations your company will have.

For example, a global fast food chain figured out that the amount of corner real-estate area they own is their variable. Another company found that the number of foot-falls into their stores is their variable. Remember, revenue is an effect not the cause. Once you figure out the cause, money follows.

This is just one example for an exercise you can do as a company. Depending on your context, you can work on different parts of your business.

Corona gives you an opportunity to reflect and refocus your business. #Reflect #Refocus #Restart

4. Remember that this will end

Don’t lose sight of the fact that this crisis will end. This is a great time to make strategic investments. Talent is super widely available to make your ideas happen.

A few ideas to consider:

  • Standardise your processes
  • Automate
  • Buy inventory that’s selling below market price
  • Create better communications for your offerings

Telefonica is doing exactly this in Peru by buying back $22M shares. Others are expected to follow.


Was that helpful? Share your feedback and ideas in the comments. Stay home. Wash your hands and wear a mask when you go out. We got this! 🙂

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