January 24, 2024

Linnea Bywall

How to hire great people fairly and objectively?

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Summary of #TalentBuzz Episode with Linnea Bywall from Alva Labs

Challenges in Recruitment for Fair and Objective Hiring

Linnea Bywall, Head of People at Alva Labs, highlighted the slow feedback loop in recruitment as a significant challenge for companies aiming for fair and objective hiring. She pointed out that urgent hiring needs often lead to rushed decisions without proper follow-up, affecting the quality and diversity of hires. Companies tend to measure easily quantifiable aspects like time-to-hire, which may not reflect the true effectiveness of the hiring process.

Importance of Small Iterations in Hiring

Bywall emphasized the value of small iterations over viewing the hiring process as a massive project. Incremental improvements can lead to significant changes over time. This approach is more manageable and can yield better results than attempting to overhaul the entire process at once.

Business Benefits of Objective Hiring

Objective hiring focuses on relevant job aspects, leading to better-suited talent for the role. This approach can enhance workforce quality, fostering innovation and outperforming competitors. By focusing on objective criteria, companies can also increase workforce diversity, which has been shown to improve business outcomes.

Common Pitfalls in Hiring

Bywall and Samuli Salonen, the CEO and co-founder of TalentBee, discussed common hiring pitfalls such as:

  1. Falling for candidates similar to oneself, which can lead to homogeneity and lack of diversity.
  2. The difficulty of moving from an analytical mindset to embracing a diverse range of skills and perspectives in candidates.

Starting Points for Objective Hiring

The key starting points for more objective hiring include:

  • Acknowledging one's limits as a decision-maker.
  • Establishing a baseline to understand current hiring effectiveness.
  • Starting with small changes, like standardized interview questions or anonymous applications.
  • Engaging a willing hiring manager to pilot new approaches and share successful examples.

Long-Term Strategy and Hiring Retrospectives

A long-term strategy should focus on continuous improvement. Every hire is an opportunity to refine the process. Salonen suggested setting clear decision-making rules at the beginning of the hiring process. Bywall also recommended conducting hiring retrospectives to evaluate each process and identify areas for improvement.

Next Steps for Alva Labs

Alva Labs aims to further improve its hiring process by:

  1. Enhancing job ads to better showcase company values and the hiring manager.
  2. Considering anonymized applications.
  3. Providing more education for hiring managers on effective interviewing techniques.
  4. Preparing candidates better for structured interviews.

Concluding Thoughts

The episode concluded with Salonen emphasizing the importance of sharing insights and experiences to help SaaS companies improve their talent acquisition strategies. He encouraged listeners to share feedback and topics for future episodes of #TalentBuzz.

Actionable Tips:

  1. Implement Incremental Changes: Focus on small, manageable changes in the hiring process to gradually improve objectivity and fairness.
  2. Evaluate and Adjust: Regularly assess the effectiveness of new hiring practices and adjust as needed.
  3. Educate Hiring Managers: Continuously train hiring managers on objective hiring practices and effective interviewing techniques.
  4. Foster Diversity: Aim to reduce unconscious biases by emphasizing diverse hiring and creating a broader candidate pool.
  5. Clear Decision-Making Criteria: Establish clear criteria for decision-making at the start of the hiring process to avoid confusion and biases later on.

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