Live from Greenhouse Open! Our Ultimate Structured Hiring Workshop

Yesterday was the kick-off of Greenhouse Open—our 3-day thought leadership and networking conference in San Francisco—where we’re exploring the latest discoveries and insights in the Talent Acquisition, People Ops, and HR industries.

Greenhouse’s VP of People & Strategy Maia Josebachvili and Director of Talent Acquisition Lauren Ryan led our featured session of the day—our Structured Hiring Workshop, in partnership with General Assembly.


About 150 people-people filled the room, eager to dive into the content and conversation that laid ahead. With nearly two-thirds of the group comprised of recruiters, and two-thirds of the room also stating that they were motivated to take their company’s interviewing process to the next level, we knew that it would be a productive afternoon—and it was!

Read on for some key insights and takeaways:

What is structured hiring?

Let’s start with a definition of structured hiring. Structured hiring is an approach to hiring where:

  • The ideal candidate is defined by the business objectives of the job

  • A deliberate process and rubric is used to assess all candidates

  • Hiring decisions are based on data and evidence.

The impact of structured hiring is two-fold: You get a better outcome and better experience for interviewers and candidates. One attendee highlighted it this way:

Outcome refers to interviews being based on set questions that address all the skills, traits, and qualifications you’re assessing for, serving to mitigate personal bias from interviewers, and experience refers to both the candidates and interviewers following an organized agenda that asks purposeful questions, clarifies everyone’s role in the process, and overall stays focused on the task at hand from start to finish.

The structured hiring kick-off meeting

A big part of structured hiring is effectively managing the recruiter-hiring manager relationship. The kick-off meeting—where the recruiter and hiring manager come together to discuss the expectations and makeup of the role—is a major aspect of structured hiring, as it sets the whole team (recruiter, hiring manager, and additional interviewers) up for success. Further, a kick-off meeting works to align recruiters and hiring managers on:

  • The business objectives of the job

  • The skills, traits, and qualifications that will make someone successful in the job

  • The roles and responsibilities for the search.

Many of our recruiter attendees, however, noted that they are challenged by getting hiring managers on board with the idea of a kick-off meeting, whether it’s because the hiring manager already thinks they know what they want in a candidate or the hiring manager feels the meeting is a waste of their time. So, the question becomes, how can you convince your hiring manager that there is measurable value in actively participating in a kick-off meeting? Fellow workshop members chimed in, saying that the best way to get your hiring manager on board is to shift their perception from “waste of time” to “valuable.”

One tactic is to ask your hiring manager: What is your number one pain when it comes to having to participate in the kick-off meeting? Trust me—they’ll tell you. And when they do, follow up by highlighting what the real, specific pains will be later on if they don’t do the kick-off meeting, such as wasted time and efforts on hiring the wrong person and having to go through this entire interview process—yes—again. The more vivid of a picture you paint by really digging deep into their personal frustrations as a hiring manager, the better. (People are more motivated to take action based on avoiding pain than they are on gaining pleasure!)

Another tactic to give your hiring manager a sense of the value they can reap from a kick-off meeting is to tell them about other kick-off meetings you’ve had where the conversation and Q&A you engaged in was so thought-provoking that it made the hiring manager rethink the entire role. This will definitely spark some intrigue in the hiring manager and make them wonder whether their open role is accurately defined and—gasp!—even needed.

And finally, one attendee noted that a great way to sway hiring managers in your direction is to remind them that if you don’t sit down and devise a structured interview process ahead of time, it can be very costly:

All in all, the Structured Hiring Workshop was a success, and attendees walked away with clear, actionable tips from Maia, Lauren, and their peers—on not only how they can put a structured hiring process in place—but also how they can most crucially get the buy-in of their hiring managers.

To learn more about taking your recruiter-hiring manager partnership to the next level, be sure to download our eBook, The Definitive Guide to Recruiter & Hiring Manager Partnerships, by clicking the button below!

The Definitive Guide to Recruiter & Hiring Manager Partnerships

Sesame Mish Headshot

Sesame Mish is Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. She is also pursuing an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University. Besides a love for marketing and the written word, she enjoys playing volleyball, doing volunteer work, and rooting for the San Francisco Giants. Connect with Sesame on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Hiring Brand