Three people-first principles for making your hiring process transparent and equitable

It’s January 2022, and let’s face it— hiring during the last couple of years hasn’t been easy. However, at Alley, we’ve taken this time to walk the talk of praxis: acting and reflecting on the world in order to change it. We know the importance of valuing people, and so we’ve set up systems and best practices for making our employees feel cared for, starting long before they accept an offer to work with us. Here are three people-first principles we’ve incorporated into our hiring process that you can try too. 

Show candidates you care about them  

You’ve applied to a job you really want and have poured your heart and soul into an application only to receive the dreaded: Thank you for your interest in <insert dream job with dream company here>, but we’ve decided to move forward with other candidates. At Alley, we understand the importance of taking the time to respond to each candidate with care instead of sending automated, robotic responses that reduce people to numbers.

When receiving numerous applications each day, we acknowledge the person on the other side of the application who took the time, thought, and energy to apply for our job opening. We understand applicants may be going through a range of life experiences or barriers to applying. Maybe they are having a terrible week but felt a glimmer of hope when they saw the job opening. Or maybe they were met with an overwhelming sense of imposter syndrome when they read the job description but chose to apply anyway. Interactions with candidates matter before they apply, during the interview process, and after they’ve accepted a position. 

Here’s how Alley is building candidate relationships at the beginning of the applicants’ journey that you can apply right away: 

  • Audit and revise rejection emails to add a human touch. We added language to show that we genuinely appreciate the time and energy they’ve invested into our job opening, especially since there are a lot of companies who are hiring. Even if they don’t get an interview or advance in the process, we want Alley applicants to know we genuinely appreciate their time and interest and encourage them to keep in touch with us. Some candidates may not have the experience now, but who’s to say they won’t in a few years? We have actually hired candidates who didn’t have the experience needed for the role when they first applied but reapplied after a couple of years and were hired. 
  • Respond to applicants throughout the process. If a candidate asks a question, respond. If they tell you to have a great weekend, reciprocate. These seemingly small interactions leave candidates feeling valued and seen, which helps us build a positive relationship with them before they even start working with us. 
  • Share feedback to help applicants grow. If an applicant wants to know why they were rejected, we give them specific and actionable feedback because we value their growth and hope they’ll consider applying in the future. 

Prioritize equity and accessibility

At Alley, we value and respect our colleagues who come from many unique backgrounds and aim to foster an environment where our employees feel like they can bring their whole selves to work. As written in our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Pledge, Alley is committed to making sure our teams reflect the broader demographic makeup of the U.S. and other countries where our team members are based. As a result, we’ve focused on taking actions that make our Hiring process more equitable and have documented these tips that you can implement too:

  • Organize unconscious bias training for everyone involved in the hiring process. 
  • Decide on objective criteria for approving candidates through the use of a hiring rubric. A hiring rubric is a scorecard that highlights specific objective skills required to accept a candidate and develops a shared understanding on the hiring team of what you’re looking for. It helps mitigate bias and stereotyping that might creep into the screening process.  
  • Review job descriptions and hiring process for possible bias or language that might signal an uninclusive work environment.
  • Identify job boards curated for diverse and underrepresented communities to get your job opportunities in front of qualified individuals that you may be missing out on. 
  • Prepare to make accessibility accommodations an interviewee might benefit from, such as audio captioning devices or interpreters. When inviting candidates for interviews, we make sure they know these options are available for them.  

Keep the interview process as transparent as possible 

Transparency is something we value at Alley, and that includes during hiring. We don’t think our hiring process should be kept a secret, so we’ve done the following to make the process as clear and visible as possible. You can take these steps as well:

  • Create a list of Frequently Asked Questions for candidates who are looking for more information about the interview process and working at the company. 
  • List starting salaries and benefits on each of our job listings so candidates have the information they need to determine if they would like to submit an application. 
  • Let them know what to expect. At Alley, we give candidates a head’s up on what the interview process will look like when we invite them to meet with our team. We’ve even written a blog post about the fourth and final stage of our interview process: the Slack Interview. From providing code sample tips for developer candidates to sharing information about our hiring process, we want candidates to know what’s ahead if they apply for a position with us. 

By making our expectations and process visible, candidates know what to expect and how best to prepare for interviews so they can focus on being themselves, thereby helping both the candidate and the hiring team determine if Alley is the right place for them. 

Interested in joining us? Review our openings and apply on our careers page

Transparency is essential in the hiring process and creating a product vision. Take a moment to read about Bringing Inclusivity into Projects from the Beginning.