Start Us Up Now: America’s New Business Plan is an initiative of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a Kansas City-based philanthropy that works in the fields of education and entrepreneurship. Kauffman and Alley worked together to rapidly design and launch a site to disseminate the particulars of the policy plan, support a targeted communications campaign in several states, and garner support from organizations who can join the Start Us Up Now coalition through the site.
“Why don’t you come down to the office for a chat?” is a thing never said by anyone in a remote company. While it does provide an amazing number of benefits in other areas (see our guide to working remotely), remote work does pose a challenge when it comes to traditional hiring practices.
However, we believe it also provides a significant opportunity. We are able to combine the interviewing process with an experience that gives the interviewee a taste of what it might be like to work remotely at Alley, which is especially important if they’ve never done so before. And so, we’ve made the final interaction with the candidate a Slack-based group interview.
We use Slack as our primary vehicle for all internal communications (with Zoom coming in at a close second). As it’s a tool that they will be using every day, it’s important that our potential hires are comfortable with interacting through the platform. We’re not looking for deep Slack expertise, or knowledge of keyboard shortcuts (that will come with time), but rather the ability to communicate through the tool, keeping track of many conversations and answering questions even when they’re coming from multiple angles.
That’s not to say we’re trying to make the final interview a stressful experience; it’s actually quite the opposite. By using a tool like Slack, we can have many of our team members engage with the candidate at once, without the terrifying experience of sitting in front of a panel of employees for a group interview. But, it is good to make sure that they don’t miss things or get distracted when sitting in front of a computer on their own. After all, that’s an important part of working remotely – keeping tabs on yourself, since people aren’t going to do it for you.
So how does it actually work?
The Slack interview comes as the fourth and final step in a process that includes an initial phone interview followed by two video interviews via Zoom which all serve to vet the candidate on their skills for the role. Once they’ve made it to this step, we first provide them with a basic overview of what they can expect during the interview, including how and when they will be invited to Slack. We then select the Alley interview participants – we aim to pick a group of about six people from a range of skill areas and teams – and provide some background information on the candidate to prep the group for the interview.
The day of the interview, we encourage the Alley participants to prep a few questions in advance, providing them with suggestions of some common questions they might want to consider asking. The group is invited into the interview Slack channel approximately 15 minutes before the interview, with the candidate being invited 10 minutes prior to allow them time to turn on 2-factor authentication (security matters!) and get settled. Once the interview begins, a brief round of introductions are given and the questioning commences. When there are about 15 minutes left, we ask the candidate if they have any questions for the group about Alley. At the end of the interview, we say our goodbyes and we remove the candidate from Slack.
After the interview, we ask all participants to leave feedback, independent of one another, in our applicant tracking system, Google Hire. Once all feedback has been submitted, a final decision is made, taking into account feedback from the entire interview process.
If you’re interested in learning more about our remote hiring process, reach out to @alleyco on Twitter, or send us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, you can also experience it first hand – we’re hiring for a number of positions! Check out our latest listings at http://alley.co/careers – we hope you see something you like.