We’re thankful to all who apply for roles at Citizen Zoo. We know that looking for new jobs and the subsequent hiring process can be overwhelming, so we want to make the process as stress free as possible so you don’t feel this way when applying for roles with us. 

To manage expectations and be as transparent as possible, we’ve outlined our hiring process below to help candidates know what to expect and how we make decisions to avoid biases along the way. 

Step 1 – Selecting CVs and inviting candidates to interview 

CVs are an imperfect means of screening talent. There is so much room for unconscious bias to emerge where subtle indicators like names, clubs, addresses, school, previous employment, race, parental status, socio-economic status, etc — all may unconsciously affect expectations and assessment of a candidate. We acknowledge these risks and appreciate the serious need not to fall pray to them.

The first thing we do when a job role closes for new applicants is sift through CVs to try and decide who we should invite to interview. The main thing we look for when reading through CVs is whether candidates have provided evidence that they meet the minimum requirements for a role. For many organisations, these minimum requirements reflect the basic needs of a role, are quantifiable and none-negotiable.

Once we have narrowed down the CVs to a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ pile, we then narrow the yes pile down further by looking at other components submitted as part of the application like a covering letter, preferred requirements or role questions. Once thats done, we narrow the list of prospective candidates down further by comparing qualifications and experience between candidates until we have 5-10 people we would like to interview. 

Step 2 – Shaping the candidate experience 

We want all interviewees to feel relaxed and confident that they can sell themselves without having nerves take over. We also want people who interview with us, but aren’t necessarily successful, to reflect back on the hiring process with Citizen Zoo and think positively of their experience. We know that a positive experience throughout the hiring process — from communicating expectations to keeping candidates up to date on new information — can help attract and impress the best talent to reapply in future. 

So, if you’ve been invited to interview, then it’s because we are really interested in you as a person, think you might be a good match for a role and want to learn more about you. During the interview please be yourself, show us who you are and your expertise, and lastly how it relates to the needs of a specific role.

Step 3 – The candidate interview

We use a structured interview process. Structured interviews are a simple a way of using the same interviewing methods to evaluate candidates applying for the same job. Research shows that structured interviews can be predictive of candidate performance, even for jobs that are themselves unstructured. So we use structured interviewing, where we use the same interview questions for each candidate, and grade candidate responses on the same scale, to make hiring decisions based on consistent, predetermined qualifications.

During the interview, you’ll be asked a set of behavioural and hypothetical questions which will help us understand your experience and expertise, along with your character and method of thought (but no brain-teasers!).

– Behavioural example: Tell us about a time when your actions had a specific outcome on your team?

– Hypothetical example: Imagine you’re working on….what or how would you do it and why? 

Step 4 – Hiring by committee 

Hiring committees are built into our hiring process here at Citizen Zoo. Research shows that teams with divergent opinions can make better, less-biased decisions, something that’s key to selecting a great candidate. We also fundamentally want to avoid the conflict of interest that exist in the needs of the hiring manager versus the needs of the organisation. Hiring managers want to fill a role quick so that work and delivery of services can resume. An organisation wants to make sure that they hire the best person for the job, even if that means taking longer to find that person. So the people on our hiring committee are separate and independent of the people on the interviewing panel. The are also typically made up of an equal number of women and men. 

Once interviews have been completed, and notes and scores for each candidate finalised, all members of an interviewing panel cross reference the top 4 candidates they would definitely like to hire. Once these candidates are selected, then their scores and CVs are sent to the hiring committee who make the final decision on who to make an offer to. So in summary, interviewing panels control which candidates the hiring committee reviews and these candidates are all people they would definitely like to hire, but the hiring committee makes the final call. 

Again, the idea behind this process is that hiring managers aren’t always motivated to wait or search for the very best candidate. Especially as a search drags on, the hiring manager will become more eager to fill the position. But making a quick hire to fill a short-term need is not a long-term solution for an organisation. Hiring committees help select candidates who will be good for Citizen Zoo, who will grow with the company, and perhaps take on future roles that don’t exist today.

In fact, beyond these benefits, hiring committees are great for several other reasons. They can help:

– Reduce individual unconscious bias in the hiring process.

– Ensure the candidate is the perfect match for the role and for Citizen Zoo as a whole for the long-term.

– Provide comprehensive review of all feedback rather than reviewing in isolation and by individuals.

– Prevent idiosyncrasies in the hiring process.

Why are we telling you all this?

We want candidates to come to interviews prepared and at ease when they speak to us. We think that knowing what to expect is a good starting point and that it also leads to better outcomes. Better outcomes because candidates who read this guide know how they’ll be treated and wont have to worry about brain-teasers or other interview methods that test candidates on their ability to ‘think on their feet’, rather than their core suitability for the role. ‘Thinking on your feet’ is good, but most people in their day-to-day jobs have time to prepare and produce good work prior to delivery, and we want candidates to do the same when they come to interview and we meet them for the first time.