Journey Towards Inclusive Hiring with Very Great

Published by:
WuQing Hipsh
June 16, 2021
min read

In the Spring of 2020, Danielle Brill sent out an employee survey to determine the next steps toward Diversity and Inclusion at Very Great. The survey listed: internships, volunteer days, mentorship programs, visiting speakers, training, hiring, and filling in the blanks. 

Overwhelmingly, recruitment was the number one priority to address diversity and inclusion. 

Danielle began looking for ways to make a more inclusive system, and she discovered Applied. 

WuQing: Tell me about Very Great’s journey To inclusive hiring

Danielle: We are in the consumer goods sector, and a Brand incubator. Prior to Applied we used a general ATS system. It was expensive and we had a hard time getting adoption across the company. 

We were looking for a new ATS system last Spring, during the beginning of the pandemic with a focus on D&I initiatives, following an employee engagement survey. 

Before Applied there was no system for DE&I. We noticed bias throughout our process, like group thinking, like people giving thumbs up in between interviews. People influenced each other’s opinions on candidates, and we didn’t have a system in place to help us be objective and fair. 

Before Applied, we did not track socioeconomic demographics, quality of hire-- we had no metrics which is a bummer because we cannot compare our progress now that we have  robust data through Applied! 

WuQing; How do you implement predictive hiring practices? What were some of the challenges moving away from CVs?

Danielle: Before Applied it was hard to identify the essential qualities and skills required for our roles.  Sometimes we would be halfway through the process, and find out a core skill was missing in our job description! 

“Once we moved to Applied, the hiring managers became more involved from the beginning; they were writing the job description and work sample questions. Now everybody is aligned with what we are looking for, which saves us a ton of time!”

WuQing: Designing a predictive hiring process needs proper assessment and metrics. How do you implement predictive hiring practices? 

Danielle: Structuring the hiring process is essential. It takes some time to understand predictive hiring. A gut reaction is to say, “Tell us about a time…” and I try to shape questions with obvious answers. To make sure our questions are as objective as possible, we make the work samples and the rubrics at the same time, and in a way that they can be answered in 250 words! The Hiring Manager writes examples for 1, 3 & 5 Stars when they write the questions.

WuQing:Now that you’re doing predictive hiring, what are the responses?

Danielle:We are excited to see how we can track, and to see how we can fix our process. Employees like it! We did a follow-up survey in January, and people feel like we are on the right track, but it does take more time. We also have a smaller team. I feel like hiring managers should be involved.

Candidates are always excited to hear that they scored high. We’ve also had positive feedback from candidates. The first one said she wasn’t sure she wanted to apply, but was so excited from the process that she wanted the role more! (left on a positive note, even though she wasn’t selected - understood why decisions were being made).

WQ: What advice would you have for HR professionals that want to increase diversity, or make their hiring process more performance based?

Danielle: Our company spans a lot of industries: Sales, Finance, Production, Marketing.

Some industries are predominantly white, such as design. There needs to be more collective work to nurture diverse talent such as Internships and mentorship programs to open the door for more career paths. We need to start much, much earlier than the hiring funnel. 

If you don’t have Applied, you can still do structured interviews, and try to manually hide names, addresses, schools, and companies. People can get very excited about specific companies.

Applied is the essential platform for debiased hiring. Purpose-built to make hiring empirical and ethical, our platform uses anonymised applications and skill-based assessments to identify talent that would otherwise have been overlooked.

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