Most would agree that building the right team is one of the most important aspects of any organization, but we often hear that finding the ‘right’ candidate for a role is the single, most significant challenge in the hiring process. 

To do this process effectively (both for the candidates and the organization), it can take time and energy, something that many small businesses don’t have in ready supply.

Regardless, organizations typically make a very earnest effort to seek out the best candidates by assessing CVs, casting a wide search for qualified candidates and determining thoughtful interview questions. Truly understanding the human behind the resume, and what motivates them, has become more crucial than ever.

Building a relationship on a one-way street is tough. 

Applying for new jobs can be a long, stressful process, and one that isn’t known for its transparency. People don’t want to be treated as disposable. Valuing the time and care that candidates put into applications regardless of whether or not they move forward, is key to humanizing the process. 

Over time, clever tools have been created to get to know more in-depth traits and abilities of people. Personality assessments, work assignments and pre-screenings are all aimed at discovering the “right person for the job.” In an interview, questions are tailored to uncover information about the candidate’s working style, communication preferences and relevant experience. 

There is nothing ‘wrong’ with the tools and techniques mentioned above, they can be helpful, but they all have one thing in common: The responsibility is often placed on the candidate to prove their capabilities and provide a complete picture of who they are in a short window of time. 

Depending on the conditions, candidates often feel pressure in this process, leading them to perform in ways that aren’t an accurate reflection of their most authentic selves.

Only if they are comfortable, will a candidate ask questions about the organization’s culture and values – and they are relying on the organization to give them a realistic perspective.

This experience can be demanding for both the candidate and the organization, as they both seek more meaningful interaction with the other – while relying on a process that is traditionally time-consuming and unbalanced by design.

So how can values-aligned recruitment help you find the right candidate for the role? 

Values-aligned recruitment is designed to help uncover alignment between an organization and a candidate and removes power imbalances from the process.

Watch this video produced by former Co-op Student Madeline Bedard-Adam with support of Nzingha Millar & Katherine Pindera

To be successful in locating a new contributor for a client, two things are critical: trust and clarity. Trust must be built, both with the hiring organization and potential contributors. We can’t leave any doubt about the integrity of our intentions. Once trust is established, we can start to peel back the layers and get clarity on both what the organization and candidate need from one another, to have their needs met. 

A values-aligned search begins by gaining an understanding of the hiring organization, the team and its culture. We have conversations, not only with the hiring committee but also with those the new contributor will work alongside. We embark on a journey to clarify what an organization  is looking for in a new team member. Sometimes this means uncovering biases, or challenging past notions and assumptions. This process is a welcomed learning opportunity for P4G as well. 

What does a foundation of trust feel and look like for candidates? Spoiler: It’s a two-way street. 

We encourage employers to treat candidates as mini-clients. In our process, candidates are provided with a confidential space to express who they are, and not just what they can do. It is imperative not to make assumptions about what a safe space means to someone else, and instead, ask if any accommodations can be made. Each candidate is given time and space to ask clarifying questions about the role and the organization.

Not only does a deeper understanding allow for both the candidate and client to make a more informed decision about working together, but it also helps to identify considerations and investments that may need to be made for the new candidate to thrive. 

The result is not simply an organization choosing the ‘right person’, but a process that allows both the candidate and organization to feel at ease informed and empowered in their decision to work together.

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