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Takeaways from FWI's Hiring Process

Updated: Jun 9, 2020

This blog post is a selection of a post we wrote on the Effective Altruism Forum.

Who should read this: This post will likely only be useful to those employers who will be directly involved in a hiring process, although the Recommendations for Applicants section should be useful for most job applicants. Job applicants may also find it interesting to learn about the employer side of the process.

We recently completed our hiring process for our first new full-time employees: a Research Analyst and an Animal Welfare Specialist. 

As neither of us had previous hiring experience, we set out to build a process based on the best available evidence on how to hire effectively, objectively, and kindly. The following is what we found and learned.

We hope that this process and the linked templates will be useful to your organization and will save you some of the large time investment required to create a new process. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment below or contact us.

Big Takeaways

  1. Probably the best hiring advice we received came from the CEO of a GiveWell-recommended charity. He looks for candidates who are “smart, nice, and really want the job.”

  2. Your hiring process is a reflection of your organization. To reflect FWI, we aimed to make our hiring process evidence-based, compassionate, unconventional/innovative, and requiring some dedication.

  3. If you’re not already, you should use Calendly or another scheduling software to schedule all interviews.

  4. We found EA Facebook pages, our website, and personal recommendations to be the best places to find talented applicants.

  5. Score everything with a template, where applicant materials and questions are all scored quantitatively. This will help you increase objectivity. You should input these scores for each round into one master spreadsheet.

  6. With interviews, we updated away from asking the same somewhat shallow questions. Rather, asking fewer and more probing semi-structured questions provided more valuable information.

  7. Don’t be afraid to gather more information about a candidate: additional calls, emails, and interviews can all be helpful.

  8. Don’t be a jerk to your applicants. Too many employers are. Your applicants will appreciate you for how you treat them and leave with a good impression of your organization.

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