Imani Barbarin and Scott Shigeoka

This post is authored by Linda Nguyen

Over the past four years at Movement Talent, we have sat in on many an interview, and have seen what works and what does not.

There are obvious things for video interviews like logging on early to test your audio and video, keeping your camera on, avoiding doing other work while interviewing, and turning off any other apps or digital distractions. Then, there are the not-so-obvious things like creating more time, space, and flexibility to allow interviewees to share openly.  When we have questions for candidates about motivation, we empower interviewees to really take the space to tell their stories of why they are motivated by a specific cause, issue, or community. 

For example, a typical experience might mean that a candidate takes as much time as they need to respond to a question. Folks might take a few minutes to gather their thoughts or get up and take a break before continuing. Others might feel comfortable sharing a story they have never publicly discussed. Still, others might find themselves reacting emotionally in surprising ways in response to what may appear on the surface as a purely professional question. Notably, both the hiring team and candidates know these practices/reactions are acceptable and welcome in our processes. And if candidates choose not to share anything personal, that’s absolutely okay, too.

Increasingly, as AI, algorithms, and technology efficiencies define the recruitment and hiring process, we find ourselves heading in the opposite direction. Although technology can be helpful in some regards, we have found that standard and machine systems don’t always work for the people we work with, so we have created our own ways. Sure, we’ll post a job announcement on some popular platforms, but the real value comes from tailoring and personalizing the recruitment process and asking attuned questions to identify strong candidates. 

For individuals considering switching sectors or transitioning along their career path, we want to give them as much space as possible to ask the questions they need answered to determine that working in the movement space is the right fit for them. For those seasoned in this space, we want people to find new ways to challenge themselves and add more value to their new role.  For organizations, we seek to infuse good practice and structure so that when our engagement ends, hiring staff have the tools to successfully onboard and support their colleagues.

I had the chance to attend the Othering and Belonging Institute‘s conference in Oakland in April and was heartened to see many similar themes I’ve mentioned in this post in the conference presentations – themes that have guided our work at Movement Talent, particularly in creating welcoming spaces for people.  Imani Barbarin and Scott Shigeoka were two speakers who reminded conferencegoers about the power of stepping outside of our own comfort zones to imagine and create the conditions for radical acceptance.

The OBI conference reiterated to me that hundreds, thousands of people – researchers, writers, creatives, policy folk, government officials, organizers, and activists – are doing their best to integrate concepts of belonging, not othering – in their work around the world.  We hope we, too, are doing our small part with people and organizations working toward the common good. Via our recruitment processes, our message to individuals and organizations alike is that Movement Talent will always take the time and care to provide the best candidate experience we possibly can. We endeavor to create an experience where everybody feels like they belong.