Recap: Liberatory Hiring Portal Cafe

December 14, 2022

On November 30th, we held our first Portal Cafe with Guild staff member Ashley Hare, based on their post about liberatory hiring practices. Portal Cafes are virtual opportunities to have a deeper discussion about the learnings and practices that the Guild is developing in the Portal, and attendees are encouraged to bring their own thoughts, questions, and learnings related to the topic.

We used an artful practice to surface things we were wondering or confused about, fears, and hopes related to hiring—and there were many! Some key points and tips that were shared by the collective during the conversation:

  • Ensure that your organization is ready to hire. Sort out compensation, the employee handbook, employee agreements, onboarding processes, etc. before starting the hiring process. Allocate time and resources towards onboarding.

  • Create a realistic and fair position description. Be mindful of how much capacity the position requires, and set the compensation accordingly. Build in room for the person to breathe, vision, and dream. Instead of creating a giant laundry list of things the person will need to be amazing at, lean into a few things they need to be really great at—and a few other things that they need to understand or appreciate in order to work with the team.

  • Make the application clear and simple. Try asking candidates to submit an answer to one question instead of requiring a cover letter, and allowing an option to answer through video. Be clear about compensation in your application.

  • Pay people for their time. Especially if you’re requiring candidates to participate in many rounds of interviews, compensate them for their time to ensure that this isn’t a barrier for your candidates.

  • Build a reciprocal relationship with candidates. Stay in touch with candidates who were not selected, and offer them support in their job search or funds for professional development if you can. Connect them with people in the field who you have relationships with. Keep them in mind for other kinds of opportunities.

  • Set employees up for success. When speaking to references, ask them about what kind of support would make the candidate really successful in a position. Make sure there’s a plan in place to support the new hire in succeeding.

Thank you to all who participated! Together, we can make the practices at our community arts education organizations stronger and more equitable, and make sure community arts educators are being cared for in the way they deserve. Stay tuned for more Portal Cafes on more topics in 2023.

Published: December 14, 2022