Reflections on values-based recruitment

16 October 2018 | By Mary Beth Lepkowsky

We tried something different in our search to identify new team members in the USA.   Knowing we’d be working as a remote team, it was important to use what we know about person centered practices and supporting each other well to create a welcoming, comfortable environment in which each candidates could contribute their best self…online.

And it was important to me that our process mirror our H S A values, knowing that candidates needed a way to evaluate if this was a good for them just as much as I needed a way to evaluate they were a good fit for the team.

The first step in our process after an initial letter of interest was an invitation to have a brief phone call with Mary Beth to ask questions about the role and organization. During that call I also had a few questions to explore with each candidate that helped me evaluate if they had the foundational skills needed to perform the role of an Associate.

Successful candidates were invited back to participate in a 3-hour online group interview, using Zoom videoconference, that included different sections and exercises to evaluate individual strengths and group dynamics. Some of the highlights included:

  • Each participant was given a person-centered thinking skill and asked to prepare and deliver a 5-minute presentation to the whole group as a way to demonstrate their understanding of core content and their ability to present learning in a group setting. These were far more informative and imaginative than I had expected. Lori and Meredith will be sharing their presentations later this week.
  • Then we had a group activity to see how the candidates worked together using a scenario to create a new program or course for H S A.
  • Following the interview each candidate completed an online survey to reflect on their experience and performance in the interview. Each candidate was asked to share something they appreciated about every other candidate on the call. That was a great way to debrief the process and model a culture of appreciation.



Resources and Top Tips

I’m really pleased with the overall quality of the experience of the recruitment process and group interview.  When I was getting started, I set out to create a welcoming, comfortable environment that could showcase individual strengths and provide the opportunity to practice what I’d been learning from Wellbeing Teams.  Following Helen’s blogs about values-based recruitment and talking with Deb and Amanda from Australia about their recent experiences with values-based recruitment was extremely helpful.  I also applied learning from Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux and Reinventing Scale Ups by Brent Lowe, Susan Basterfield, and Travis Marsh.

Here are some top tips to help you think about your own recruitment effort:

  1. Pre-planning – think through the interview from the perspective of the candidate to anticipate what’s needed to make it comfortable and welcoming
  2. Have a well-thought out agenda to help you focus on the purpose of each exercise and your desired outcomes. The agenda also really helps you manage time. You can see sample agenda formats from Positive and Productive Meetings
  3. Zoom was great! This made a virtual meeting feel very personal and lively. Practice with the zoom technology in advance to boost confidence.
  4. Consider using a post-interview survey to capture individual reflections from the interview. I asked each candidate to share something they appreciated about each of the other candidates…. That was a nice way to model a culture of appreciation.

None of us were quite sure how this was going to go…. It was, in fact, quite remarkable in the end! I feel that focusing on values and relationships first, accelerated our ability to come together and dive right into working together as a remote team.   We can teach skills, we can’t teach compatibility. And here’s a glimpse of our very first team meeting, just one month after interviewing!


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