Hiring is About Both The Company and The Candidate

Anete Vesere (1)

Anete Vesere

Content Marketer

There’s so much emphasis on the war for talent, the great resignation, issues with retention, skill gaps and so on. Yet, somewhere in the midst of this, we’ve forgotten about the human aspect of it all…


Creating a hiring process that is sustainable, efficient, effective, scalable and provides equal opportunities is not as easy as it might seem at first glance.


I had the chance to chat with Reggie Ebbe, Head of People from LevelUp Ventures, to find out more about creating an efficient, scalable hiring process, attracting talent, and providing value to the candidate by ensuring that recruitment becomes a two-way street. Because after all, in the words of Reggie (which I entirely agree with):

It’s not just about you as a company trying to hire the right person. It's also about the candidate finding the right place to work. To me, recruitment is like falling in love. There is a certain cadence to building a relationship during the hiring process.

Before we dive in, here's a little bit about Reggie…

From day one Reggie started working as a recruiter for an agency, and he hasn’t stepped away from the field ever since. Almost 11 years later, Reggie is the Head of People at LevelUp Ventures, a team of clever, curious talent experts that work for Startups & Scale-ups, mostly in-office, to help them find, attract and hire the best tech people in the world. 


Being a Head of People, without a doubt, involves many responsibilities. Reggie mentions that one part of his job is training everybody, making sure that people know what to do and how to navigate the jungle of recruitment. Whereas, on the other hand, he is also responsible for all company culture-related things and HR processes: our onboarding process, off-boarding and so on. 

Scaling from a hasty hiring process to an efficient, effective, consistent and equal hiring process

The greatest challenge that often keeps companies from growing their business, is being able to have  the right people on board. Yes, product-market fit matters. A good product matters.  And the motivation of the founding team matters. But even if all these boxes are ticked, it’s still not a guarantee for success. It’s the people in our teams that are responsible for transforming our dreams and ideas into reality. 


The number one pitfall when it comes to building teams that are future proof? 

Finding the right people that can turn these dreams and ideas into reality.


According to Reggie, there are three traps most of us tend to fall into when it comes to hiring:

  1. Not knowing the what, where and how
  2. Not having a clearly defined and structured interview process
  3. Forgetting that hiring is a two-way street

Here's what goes wrong & how to prevent it

Not knowing the what, where and how

You probably think that you know precisely what would make a person thrive in your company, what skills they need and what kind of a person they must be. However, the reality is that there is no one definition of what will make someone successful at their job. On top of that, Reggie highlights that:


When we start speaking to companies and talking about their problems and other issues that they run into:

  • Firstly, often what becomes clear is that they don’t know where to look for candidates.
  • Secondly, how they should assess candidates to actually evaluate the candidate’s skillset.
  • Thirdly, what the labour market looks like? Understanding the data, for example: how many people are out there that actually fit their requirements and how many other companies are looking for these skills too. 


This brings me to the next point: competing for talent. In order for companies to achieve their hiring goals, according to Reggie, it’s necessary to also focus on Employer Branding as means of attracting and retaining the right talent:


“If your company’s mission and values are , appealing to and compatible with the  people whom you are trying to hire, it’s going to make hiring so much easier. Whether it’s sourcing or just putting a job ad online, having people apply organically is very valuable. Utlimately, the purpose of employer branding is to attract and retain quality employees, which eventually helps to save time in promoting and informing during the recruitment process. Investing in that can help candidates fall in love organically before they set foot in our recruitment process/decide to apply. And I believe that is often overlooked.”

Not having a clearly defined and structured interview process

The real problem occurs when we begin making hiring decisions based on personal and subjective assumptions we get throughout the interview process. This is called interviewer bias. Interviewer bias occurs when the interviewer (oftentimes the hiring manager) judges a candidate not based on their skills and competencies, but on unspoken and unconscious criteria, making the interview biased and unfair.  This is more likely to happen if the interviews are unstructured. Reggie explains this by saying:


“I always give the example of asking candidates about their hobbies. It’s a nice thing to be aware of and a good ice-breaker. But it doesn’t matter, right? It doesn’t have anything to do with whether they can do the job or not. That is exactly why I like structured interviews – they  limit the opportunity for these topics such as hobbies, to be of influence and for biases to creep in.”


So what are the various aspects of setting up a structured interview process? According to Reggie, it begins with figuring out what it is that the company needs or is looking for and then making sure that there is a clear alignment among the people that are (or will be) involved in the recruitment process. “It’s crucial that the entire hiring team aligns on all the requirements and the definitions of these words. That is exactly when you will see that each interviewer assesses and interprets differently”, says Reggie, “which is a step that  is often overlooked”. In other words:


“Setting up a structured interview process is as close as you can get to unbiased interviewing as humans. If you are not letting a robot or artificial intelligence do the work, basically”.


Please be aware of the fact that although structured interviews are a huge step in the right direction, they but won’t give you a 100% confidence and objectivity,  as there is still a group of humans interpreting if they like the candidate’s answers.

Forgetting that hiring is a two-way street

In today’s world, “hiring is not only about hiring someone to fill a role, adding something to your company in terms of knowledge and so on; it’s just as much about the candidate as it is about the employer who is actually hiring”.


Here are some things to keep in mind, as suggested by Reggie:


  • Think about your target audience and walk a mile in their shoes. Does the job fit their life? Their situation? This will help you understand how to shape and optimize the entire candidate journey to fit and appeal to all types of individuals.
  • Provide proper feedback to your candidates throughout the entire hiring process. After all, respect towards candidates should be your priority. Luckily more and more companies are moving in that direction. 
  • Humanize candidates, and see them as people instead of hires. 

Build a hiring process that is for people by people.

Therefore, in order to create an efficient and effective hiring process, you must think about and as your candidates and make informed hiring decisions. This ensures that you attract and hire the right people when you most need them. After all, when scaling up, finding and retaining the right people is of the utmost importance.


What does the future hold in store for the recruitment field in the upcoming years? Reggie has a simple answer to this question: 


“Tooling has been and will continue to add great value in hiring.  In particular, by automating a part of the recruitment process, like Equalture does for a unbiased assessments, tech can (sometimes) do better than humans.”


I hope reading this gave you some food for thought when it comes to how you perceive the relationship between your company and candidates!

Cheers, Anete.

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