are what support the vision, shape the culture, and reflect what your company values. They are your company’s principles, beliefs or philosophy of values.
Candidates may ask about culture or values during the interview process and it is important that each employee is able to articulate the company’s message. Why is this important? Candidates are not just looking for a job. What is equally important is what the company stands for, how the company values its people and how the company differentiates itself in the market.
All candidates, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, want a place where they feel comfortable and respected and where differences are valued. People are not just looking for a “job.” In order to understand if this company is the right fit, candidates need to understand the company’s values and mission.
Here is a great example of a company’s core values is the Q Code at
A complete benefits plan, including full details regarding parental leave
If a question comes up regarding maternity leave during the interview process, it’s in the company’s best interest to have a plan already in place. You don’t want to be in a situation where you are researching and scrambling to put a plan together for a viable candidate who has questions about benefits, including parental leave policy. You want to make sure you can answer all questions up front. This can make a huge difference in the candidate experience and in some cases it will help close a candidate when comparing policies across companies.
To be effective in evaluating candidates, you first have to know what you’re looking for. Define target criteria upfront and use a structured interview process to consistently evaluate candidates on these criteria and to mitigate unconscious bias from creeping in. It can be easy to justify biased decisions post-hoc by changing criteria [
]. This is true at a high level (is relevant experience more important than education?) and also for specific interview questions. For the latter, writing down the exact language, prompts, a grading rubric, etc., is helpful to make sure that candidates are evaluated consistently. Having a consistent set of target criteria will help prevent unconscious bias.
Prepare candidates for your interviews. Be transparent about what the interviews entail. Consider writing and sharing an interview guide like
. As a result, these types of interviews are disproportionately disadvantageous to women and underrepresented minorities. Companies are starting to switch to laptop-based coding interviews, or at least offering those as an option. Of course, this requires making sure that the development environment is comfortable for the candidate. That could mean installing the right software for them ahead of time or having candidates bring in their own laptops.
Interviews are a two-way street and your candidates are assessing you for mutual fit as much as you are assessing them. Cues from their interview experience can have a significant impact on their decision to join your company and/or recommend it to others.
If possible, have the interview panel reflect diversity. At the same time, try to avoid an unreasonable interview load for employees from underrepresented backgrounds. They don’t want to be on every single interview panel! You can be creative and utilize your advisors, investors or your board, if necessary.
Strive for your office environment to be welcoming and professional. Be mindful of the decor you choose, as ambient cues can strongly encourage or discourage people’s sense of belonging [