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In July 2022, we wrote about avoiding uncompensated work during the hiring process. We feel very strongly that it's crucial to get to know candidates and their work, and most especially the quality of their work, during an interview process. At the same time, this must be balanced with an awareness that demanding work product can become onerous for a candidate, and an opportunity to score "work for free" that an organization then can essentially own. Additionally, it creates an unnatural and unhealthy power imbalance in the interview process.

However, in the last 8 months, we have noticed a healthy trend toward compensated tasks in the hiring process, toward equity, most especially in the Jewish non-profit community, where organizations are compensating candidates for their time, or reducing the burden on them by reducing the time commitment required for these performance tasks. Both of these shifts are worthwhile, both are important, and both honor a commitment to equity in the hiring process: compensation for time, and an acknowledgment of time and effort allocated. If this does not yet represent your organization, we invite you to consider making this change, and we encourage it (and are happy to help you consider how to do so).

This trend toward paying candidates for their work, of course, does not apply to all candidates, nor does it apply to all tasks. If a candidate is spending more than about an hour or an hour and a half on any given task, consider compensating that person. Imagine it this way: if this person is valuable to you, this is an investment in this relationship. If this person is not necessarily valuable to you, this is still an investment in your organization's reputation that serves you in the long term.

Consider as well the intellectual property issues at stake. The content produced by the work you are requiring in the hiring process belongs to someone. Please define this from the beginning. If you as the hiring manager need to make this clear, please do so, so that there is no confusion moving into the future. Candidates should retain the rights to their assets, so in fact, any intellectual property should belong to them. However, if you are asking them to write a donor letter, or create advertising copy, an article, or a lesson plan, this may be less clear. Please make sure that it is clear--and know that your choice may send a particular message to the candidate about whether or not they choose to move forward in a professional relationship with you.

Candidates, use this as a test, and not just with your employers, but for yourself as well. When you are asked to do work as part of an interview process, and you're feeling excited about it, that sends a particular message. If you are feeling unsure or unhappy about this work, that will send another message entirely. If the work is uncompensated and you ask, and are told that there is no compensation available, this may make your choice clear. We invite you to consider using this as a test to clarify whether or not you truly want the position, or as one part of that larger process.

Performance tests as a part of the hiring process are one of many chances for a candidate to show off their skills and impress their potential employers with their writing, organization, creativity and design. But this is done on the candidate's time, and in that way, the candidate needs to be careful to hew to a set of parameters about how they are comfortable working--compensated, equitable, and in line with their needs and expectations for their future work. Whether or not you're hiring, or seeking a position, consider whether or not you're prepared for these kinds of tasks, and what it might mean to say yes--or no--to them. Bottom line, we don't support unpaid work for anyone, and we recognize the unjust nature of unpaid work and its effect on women and other marginalized folks. We want to make sure that our employers and our candidates for jobs all know that time is precious, our people are precious, and we believe that sharing the burden by sharing compensation is the most equitable approach.

Communication is key. The reputation of your organization is on the line whether you’re extending a job offer or notifying a candidate that you’re making a different choice. The time between a job offer extended by you, the negotiation process, and the acceptance of the offer by the candidate who becomes an employee is a liminal space.

Keep the status of your search under wraps and set a tight timeline out of respect for other job applicants. If you are aware that this process may not result in an accepted offer and you may need to go to a second candidate, you will want to move through the process respectfully and quickly, in order to keep additional excellent candidates within reach. We recommend the approach of “underpromise and overdeliver” when it comes to timeline. If you think that you may get back to candidates by a certain time, give yourself a cushion beyond that time. Rarely is hearing early a problem, but hearing late is problematic both for the candidate and for their perception of your organization.

If a candidate had an interview of any kind with you and will not be advanced to the next round or will not receive an offer, personal outreach is in order to inform them they were not offered the position. This should be done quickly following the decision, aligned with the timeline you have developed. Any communication can be as simple as a short email:

Thank you again for your interest in our (position name). It was a pleasure speaking with you and learning more about your background and experience. I want to update you about our next steps.

After careful consideration, we will not be advancing your application in our process. While we appreciate your deep connection to and understanding of our mission and work, we are pursuing candidates who demonstrated (deeper and more varied/different expertise/experience) on the (subject matter/pedagogy) side. We wish you all the best as you seek out the next step in your career journey, and look forward to the opportunity when our paths may cross again.

The Gender Equity in Hiring Project believes that you and your organization can shift toward equity, one small step at a time. We look forward to helping you tap into the greatest human potential our field has to offer, and hire equitably in the process.

Be prepared to negotiate. Or be certain that you won’t. Job applicants are more informed now than ever before. Thanks to the gifts of the internet, it’s easy to collect data about your organization, your current employees, competitive salaries, and the field in general. Market analysis and benchmarking are easier than ever to conduct, and recommended by any coach who supports or advises those engaging in a job search. This is an intermediate step on the way to full wage equality, and that benchmarking salaries in a market analysis is one part of the effort to rebalance power relationships between employers and employees. If our workplaces were truly and fully equitable, negotiation would be unnecessary. Until that time, we offer these recommendations.

If your organization does not have a salary negotiation ban, clear salary bands or an articulated, shared and distributed compensation philosophy, know that you’ll likely have to negotiate with prospective employees. When you are ready to make an offer, be prepared to engage in a negotiation about salary as well as an entire benefit package that complements a prospective employee’s employment agreement. This helps begin a working relationship on the right foot. We encourage the creation of salary bands and a compensation philosophy, and encourage you to consider how you might weave this into your plans as you contemplate growth. And even if you have these structures in place, know that folks will want to clarify where they are in their assigned band, how the bands were determined, and how you used credentials, skills, education and other experience to determine their placement in a band and the resulting financial offer.

We all negotiate, every day. Let’s normalize negotiation, particularly for women and other historically underrepresented groups. Let’s support negotiation not just as a part of our professional practice, but as a part of helping our employees begin well. You may choose to be bold and invite candidates to negotiate by narrowing the “ask” gap and making an offer. Or, you can ask them to think about your offer and get back to you with their thoughts; this is one helpful step in the negotiation process. Remember that salary negotiations will be easier for everyone involved (including you) if you include a salary range with your job posting. Model transparency and responsible, ethical behavior for your prospective employees.

But…if you as an employer have gone through an exhaustive, thoughtful process to build salary bands and a full compensation philosophy, you may want to consider offering positions with one listed salary, no range, and no negotiation. Yes, you read that correctly, no negotiation. This is powerfully equitable and represents an honest and accurate reflection of your budget and your values. You may choose to document that the salary you’re offering is $100,000, and as a part of your organizational commitment to equity and transparency, and in an effort to eliminate the wage gap and to acknowledge implicit bias, YourJewishOrg has embraced a no-negotiation policy. If a candidate does not fit into the bands offered based on credentials, experience, or other criteria, your organization may consider offering a higher starting salary. This requires having engaged in salary banding and a dialogue about compensation, and we recommend doing careful due diligence in the planning of this policy prior to its launch.

We’re pleased to offer one-on-one coaching for folks who are ready to articulate their value and negotiate from strength. In addition, we regularly offer our Ask For It Negotiation Workshop, which can be designed specifically for a team, group or community. Let us know how we can help.

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