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How to copy Hearken’s hiring process, step by step

A step-by-step guide to attracting a diverse pool of candidates for your next job opening.

When Hearken – a small organization focused on audience engagement – decided to hire its ninth employee, more than a third of the applicants identified as people of color, and about one-sixth identified as LGBTQIA. How did they attract this diverse pool? The Hearken team outlines the 11 very intentional steps they took, and how you can replicate the process for your own newsroom. At the end, the authors include several links that should be required reading for all hiring managers who care about diversity.

The 11 steps Hearken took to hire our latest team member. (Quick overview)

Step 1: Define the job in writing.

Step 2: Define the application process and timeline.

Step 3: Write an outreach plan. Assign tasks and deadlines for sharing the job posting.

Note: The three steps above are the most important steps to getting good candidates. Do not rush them. It will take more time later if you do them poorly.

Step 4: Post job, execute outreach plan.

Step 5: Review applications, scoring each on a rubric.

Step 6: Of top scoring applications, move on to review their resumes, again scoring each on a rubric.

Step 7: Talk with the others reviewing the applicants and see who on average scored the highest. Choose several to interview. Reach out to those folks to set up interview times. Promptly notify everyone who is not advancing to the interview round.

Step 8: Write interview questions. Consider what you’re looking for in each answer.

Step 9: Complete first-round interviews. Have each member of the team independently rank the top people they’d advance to the next round. Discuss, from those that made the top spots, which to advance. Set up those second-round interviews. Promptly notify (with more personalized notes) everyone who is not advancing to the second round of interviews.

Step 10: Write second-round interview questions that address the weaknesses and concerns team members have about each candidate. Also write questions that aim to validate what you believe are the unique strengths of each candidate.

Step 11: Complete second-round interviews. Have team members independently rank their top choice. Discuss and come to consensus. Offer that person the job. After that person accepts accept, promptly call the other final round candidates to close the loop.