The Fairness Principle



Updated August 24, 2022
Technical Recruiting and Hiring

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Design a recruiting process that is fair. In reality, a lot of the techniques that result in an effective process can improve fairness as well (like using structure, defining what you’re looking for ahead of time, assessing candidates in a way that’s predictive of job performance, and being mindful of bias), but fairness requires even more diligence.

  • Be aware of unconscious bias. We mentioned bias above, but we mention it again here because it can impact both effectiveness and fairness. Everyone on your team who is interacting with candidates or assessing them should be aware of and undergo some unconscious bias training.

  • Compensate fairly. Differences in compensation among engineers at the same level can be driven by unconscious bias and conscious discrimination. Having some structure and discipline around how you determine compensation can help prevent unfairness to creep in and build over time. Be careful about sources of pay disparity.

  • Hire with diversity and inclusion in mind. We discuss many practices for building a fairer hiring process—and the benefits of doing so—in Diversity & Inclusion.

The Efficiency Principle

Keep your recruiting pipeline efficient. While recruiting is an extremely high-leverage activity, an inefficient process will waste resources and create a frustrating experience for your team and your candidates.

  • Move quickly and carefully. Testing the efficiency of your process will protect you from losing out on the most desirable candidates to companies that move faster. The primary goal of efficiency should not simply be speed, however. An efficient process creates a better candidate experience, and minimizes the number of candidates that your team has to juggle at any point in time. Don’t cut any corners, but ruthlessly identify and weed out any sources of delay like poor communication between recruiters and hiring managers, slow scheduling, or a lack of internal alignment.

  • Have clear cut-offs in the hiring funnel. Knowing when to let candidates out of the pipeline will help minimize the cost and effort spent on candidates who are unlikely to make it through to the end of the hiring funnel. This is also mindful of candidates’ time, since you won’t be dragging candidates through the funnel when they’re clearly not a fit and will inevitably be rejected. We’ll discuss throughout this Guide how to fairly evaluate candidates at different stages of the funnel.

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