Changing Lenses: Diversify Your Perspectives

Ep307: Going Resume-Free to Hire More Inclusively, with Allie Knull

March 22, 2022 Rosie Yeung Season 3 Episode 307
Changing Lenses: Diversify Your Perspectives
Ep307: Going Resume-Free to Hire More Inclusively, with Allie Knull
Show Notes Transcript

Have you ever felt in your job hunt that you’re being judged on something that doesn’t even represent who are you? Or at best, it only represents a very small part of the whole you. And yet “woke” companies are claiming to want employees to bring their “whole selves” to work.

I’m saying it out loud: resumes are a terrible tool for hiring, on both the recruiter and the candidate’s side. There are a million reasons why, but one that really stands out is what a racialized job seeker said to me in the last episode. They said, “the resume doesn’t represent who I am.”

So I was ecstatic to meet a fellow resume rebel in Allie Knull. Allie is the Founder and CEO of ResumeFree™, is a former recruiter, and is “absolutely disgusted” with resumes.

Companies, employers, recruiters – if you mean it when you say you want more diversity in your organization – then please listen to why a tool that was created in the 1950’s, by a workforce of primarily white men, is not going to get you there.

Are you ready? Put your JEDI Visionary lenses on, and let’s go!

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • A better way to screen job candidates without using resumes
  • Why keyword searches and AI (artificial intelligence) are harmful
  • What to watch out for if using tests and assessments
  • How to create data and metric based decisions in hiring

Full transcript available here.

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As a racialized, recovering recruiter, I'm here to 👉🏻 "Help you survive the search!"👈🏻

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Guest Bio and References/Links

About Allie Knull:

Allie Knull’s passion for talent management has spanned her twenty-year career. Although her career started with international companies, Allie’s recent focus is helping small and scaling business owners master their talent management. Her absolute disgust for resumes was the driving force behind her start-up, ResumeFree™, where they inclusively move top talent from inbox to interview, with their revolutionary screening-as-a-service platform. Allie is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) with CPHR Alberta, a Senior Chartered Professional with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-SCP) and a Registered Professional Recruiter (RPR) with the Institute of Professional Management. She is a Top Recruiter™ in Canada 2019 Award winner, placing 10th overall. 

Find Allie on:

References and resources in this episode:

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Please note: the transcripts attempt to stay true to the essence of each conversation, while maintaining clarity and readability. As a result, certain "filler" words, and nuances of tone, emotion and emphasis will be missing.

If you're able, you're strongly encouraged to listen to the audio podcast. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human editors, and may contain errors.


Ep307: Going Resume-Free to Hire More Inclusively, with Allie Knull

[intro music begins]

Rosie: Hey, JEDI Friend! Thanks for tuning in to the Changing Lenses podcast. This is the LAST of the LinkedIn Lives that I’m re-sharing as a podcast episode, so you loyal listener also get all the amazing career advice my guests provided.

If you haven’t heard me say it before, hear me say it now: resumes are a terrible tool for hiring, on both the recruiter and the candidate’s side. There are a million reasons why, but one that really stands out is what a racialized job seeker said to me in the last episode. They said, “the resume doesn’t represent who I am.”

Have you ever felt in your job hunt that you’re being judged on something that doesn’t even represent who are you? Or at best, it only represents a very small part of the whole you. And yet “woke” companies are claiming to want employees to bring their “whole selves” to work.

My perspective is supported by business articles and some recruiters, but it isn’t widely accepted. After all, there’s a billion dollar recruiting industry that makes its bread and butter from resume screening, resume writing, resume coaching, etc.

So I was ecstatic to meet a fellow resume rebel in Allie Knull. Allie is the Founder and CEO of ResumeFree™, which – well, the name speaks for itself, I think! In fact, Allie says publicly that she is absolutely “disgusted” with resumes.

And she knows what she’s talking about – she spent 20-years in professional talent management, and was even a Top Recruiter™ in Canada 2019 Award winner.

So companies, employers, recruiters – if you mean it when you say you want more diversity in your organization, and believe in a culture of inclusion and equity – then please listen to why a tool that was created in the 1950’s by a workforce of primarily white men, isn’t going to get you there.

Are you ready? Put your JEDI Visionary lenses on, and let’s go! 

[intro music ends]

Rosie: Welcome. So glad to have you here. I know Allie and I are super excited to get going. I am here in our last LinkedIn live. In a series with our special guest Allie Knull. The K is not silent. We are going to be talking about going resume free. We are going to be diving deep on one of the most biased and least effective; you heard me, least effective components of the traditional recruiting process, the resume. And very closely tied to it, the cover letter. So we're not just doing this because we woke up one day and thought we should go resume free. No, we are here as recovering executive recruiters because we have seen how resumes actually hurt your goals of hiring great people and building an inclusive team. And we want to share with you a better way to recruit.

I am Rosie Yeung. I'm your host and I'm a JEDI coach. And I'm coming to you live today from the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, the Huron-Wendat, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Mississaugas of the Credit. This is colonized land, and it's also known as Toronto, Canada. Which is home today to many diverse first nations, Inuit and Metis people of Turtle Island. I'm not Indigenous. I'm Chinese. And I have been learning from Indigenous friends and communities just how much we need to go beyond diversity and diversifying corporate workplaces to actually decolonizing them.

So, one way that I am trying to take action towards this is as a JEDI coach. JEDI stands for justice, equity, decolonization, and inclusion. So I'm here to help people with privilege, dismantle systemic inequity, while helping people without privilege survive it.

Allie, I'd love for them to hear your voice and let you introduce yourself and share a little bit more about you.

Allie: For sure. Thanks, Rosie. First off, I should say that I am a settlers grandchild. I come from Eastern European and Northern European descent and my grandparents were actually offered land that was not theirs to come and work for the resources. So in coal and in farmland. So I am proudly from Treaty Six and Treaty Eight territories. And I currently live in Beaver Hills House, which is also known as Edmonton. And from my history, like Rosie said, I've got about 20 years experience in recruitment. Unfortunately that comes from all sides of the table. So just like Rosie said. Hired, fired, promoted, demoted, moved around. I've worked with top employers in Canada and I've worked with businesses that are just hiring their first person.

So my most recent passion has been helping small business owners identify ways to do recruitment that suits their needs. Especially because right now, the war on talent, really, it's not a war. It's not a war. We're not competing for resources there. We're trying to find the best fit for our companies. And I work side by side with the employers, with the hiring managers to help them find top talent. And that kind of parlayed into, you know, the ever-present question for the last eight, nine years. What if we could do this without a resume? And so that question I got to explore in more detail starting in 2019, when I incorporated Resume Free you without really a plan on how to do so. Just knowing that it was something that was going to come to fruition and here we are almost three years later, one pandemic later. Can I say that? Are we almost done? I don't know. But learning and exploring and building and smashing and pivoting and whatnot during the pandemic. And we found a way to do daily updates for employers on their candidates based on information that would be vital to the job. So the incumbent success in the job, asking those questions ahead of looking at a resume and also doing a soft skills assessment. So aligning talent with the environment in the organization. I don't want to say culture because that's not what we're hiring for. We're not doing culture. We're aligning environment. So how do they problem solve? What work environment works best for them? How is their communication? What type of communication do they prefer? And all of these little nuances that you could never, ever get from a resume. We provide that data upfront before the interviews happen. And the best thing about our process is with our candidates that go through it, we give them something in return, which no other process right now does, especially when it comes to doing any type of assessment, you don't get your results, those results just go over to the employer. We actually give each one of our candidates, a report on their greatest strengths so that they can have something as a, you know, in their back pocket to talk about, you know, that one question that everybody has. What are your strengths? You know, and then what are your weaknesses? All of those wonderful questions that we should probably remix down the road. But yeah, so we are looking forward to a year of growth and looking forward to helping as many employers and candidates get matched as possible.

Rosie: Okay. That there's a lot in there and we are going to start unpacking some of this and tying this back to the pitfalls of the current system and how there's a better way. Cause it sounds to me like everything you're trying to do is a better way. And I should say for everybody, who's listening. This is ultimately, this is about trying to help you as employers and hiring managers and recruiters to customize something for your process. I love Allie and I love Resume Free. But all due respect to you and with all love to you Allie, this is not a specific pitch for Resume Free. It's not trying to say employers, you need to go and hire Allie, blah, blah.

I think she's got a lot of value, but that is not actually the purpose of today. This is about showing how one organization through Allie has been doing it a different way, because we recognize how the current system is really broken and perpetuates bias. So if I kind of go from there, starting from that first principle, because you say something about how you even started your company, Allie, that I love. And I didn't think of going that far, but I love that you went that far. You said before that you are absolutely disgusted with resumes. Can you tell us why are you so disgusted? That's a strong word. Why are you disgusted?

Allie: There's so many ways and honestly, we don't have enough time to unpack all of that. But if I was to do like a grand, you know, 20 foot, 20,000 foot view of it, resumes are the poorest indicator of somebody's likelihood to succeed in a role. The premise was based on people thinking that past experiences would parley into future potential. And so that puts the person that reads the resume right in the middle of predictor or, you know, psychic for what would actually happen with this individual.

And this comes from a place of like my background. I switched industries. I switched, you know, from restaurant hospitality to banking, to heavy industrial, back to environmental sciences. And honestly, every single time that I took a leap of faith into a new industry, somebody took a chance on me. And it wasn't because of my resume. Because my resume was poor. Very poor. It still is. It doesn't have a lot of meat to it. But when you look at what a resume is. It's supposed to be an autobiographical recount of everything that you've done in your career, but it has to fit on two pages.

And it needs to be in Calibri or Arial font. And it needs to be size 12. And it needs to be left aligned. And it needs to be HTML focus so that it doesn't lose its formatting, or you better lock it down or you better put it into a PDF. So there's all of these restrictions that we put into place. And then we take a step back. And really what I want to dive into today is that resumes are a statement of privilege. They come from a point of privilege where if you don't have the right education, you don't have a name that is pronounceable by the recruiter or hiring manager. You don't have a job title that matches what somebody is looking for. You are completely looked over. Your passed on when it comes to reading the resumes. And right now it is the single source of a lot. I would almost say probably 90% of recruitment chooses a resume as a screening piece when really it should be used later on in the process.

Rosie: So you're not saying like resume free as a never, ever use a resume.

Allie: I don't want people to get rid of resumes and like rip them up and never use them because there is a point that they need to come into play and a lot of businesses even, you know, if they're going to be doing proposals with other businesses. You need to have some sort of background to who you're going to be working with. So yes, they do need to see that you have the chops to do it. And again, it's in a resume. But to use it as a screening tool. We're basically judging how well somebody can recount information about their jobs and, or regurgitate a job description and even try and fit all of their information as best as possible. So we're basically judging them on their language skills in English.

Well let's take a look at this cause English is not the first language for everybody, you know, we've got two major languages, English and French. But then we have people that English might be a third, fourth or fifth language. Who are we to say that their English is, is not correct. And then all of these biases come in when we're trying to sort through the resumes. We could go into detail about the biases too.

Rosie: Well I'm going to tag onto something that you said, so it's a bit unplanned, but you're reminding me of all these things I've heard from genuinely good heart, like well-intentioned hiring managers. And one of them is. But our business language is English and it's not just me. Cause I had an in-depth discussion with a very senior executive in an organization talking about the bias of typos and spelling mistakes. And when people receive hundreds and thousands of resumes, I know that recruiters you do, then it's like, oh, as soon as soon as you see a typo, okay, well, that's it. And that's used as the screening because you have no other really effective evaluation criteria. And so someone with a typo gets thrown out essentially. But when I was speaking to the senior executives, like I know, I know I've been truly trying to work on that for myself to not just let it be about typos. But the fact is that our clients. It's not just us. Our clients expect a certain standard. And I think that's also an assumption perhaps. But also at the bias of, well, it's not for us. It's for our clients, like the people who pay us. So I wonder what you think Allie about the whole. But if our language, our business language is English shouldn't they have perfect English communication skills.

Allie: No. not at all.

Rosie: Okay. Why?

Allie: The reason is Literacy Canada actually recently came up with a study that shows that 48% of all adults in Canada have a literacy level or an English language proficiency, less than high school. That's almost half of Canadians have less than high school education. So now we're expecting them to have a professional business language on top of like, they don't even know the difference between there and their, you know, or in you're, and your, so I think what we're doing here is, is setting unrealistic expectations on what's happening in our area, in our country versus what the literacy actually is.

And then if you think of people coming from overseas, if they're, you know, in a permanent resident status, there's a certain language proficiency. That language proficiency is grade nine. It's not high school, so they need to have grade nine level in order to be able to come into Canada and be a permanent resident.

So now we're expecting people to have, you know, university level and even talking about university. People aren't going to university as much as they did before because there's micro-credentials out there. So we're changing the world of work and how we do work and perform it. But we're not changing the standards that we set a long time ago, archaic standards on how we select the best talent. So that's, Yeah. There's so much to unpack there, but that's just the high level.

Rosie: You're blowing my mind right now with the statistics you just quoted. Okay. So what I'm trying to take away or what I'm taking away, just to try to parse this out for our listeners is that even if you were Canadian quote, unquote, air quotes, as in born here, raised here, your parents and your grandparents were here that the average literacy level, including born here Canadians and immigrant Canadians is high school level or below average.

Allie: Correct.

Rosie: I almost wonder then how do we hire anybody? But I guess that's also why there's a booming industry of people who teach individuals, how to write resumes and do resume proofing. And I just feel like it's a game. Can we just be real and honest about how there's a game and then, then it becomes the privilege of who can afford to pay for those individuals to write your resume for you or make it look pretty. Ugh. Okay.

Allie: And then you get this exceptional resume and the recruiters are all jazzed about it because it's the perfect person. And then the perfect person shows up and then it's not matching. There's a discrepancy between who's in front of them and what was written. And I'm not saying that, you know, there's a deficiency between the two, it's just, it's different.

The person's using different language or they're describing their work a little bit differently because, you know, they say that there's no tone in words, but as a recruiter, well, you know, there's certain things that we're able to see, like, especially, you know, we can tell that one letter was italicized because we're trained to look for those discrepancies, to look for those typos. Again, the biases, our brains will find things that are different, faster on other people than they will find them on ourselves. So, you know, scanning through resumes we'll pick up those little errors, or I don't want to say errors, little nuances let's on a resume and we'll go forget that, you know, and I've even had to pump the brakes and go back to the employer and say, okay, how important is spelling for you right now? And if it's a graphic designer role, is this person supposed to be having proper English or will it be a copywriter? Things like that to consider when, you know, we have not quite the perfect resume, but is there ever a perfect resume? Have you seen one?

Rosie: No other than my own, of course, right.

Allie: Oh of course. I admit mine is garbage. So garbage.

Rosie: Okay, well, so actually I have to share a story on that one, and this is a good example I think for people who are like, but no, I don't think we're biased against resumes or it's not just about the names. That's also what I want to highlight. Like yes typos. Yes, names. But this is a real life example where I was doing a workshop and we used fake resumes to try to highlight to individuals what their own biases were towards resumes with anybody's name or sounding Black or sounding Indigenous, or what have you. So I had one resume that was not a very experienced person for what that fake role was going to be, but it was nicely formatted. I had colors and frankly, it was a bit unnecessary to be that nice. It looked like a graphic designer type of resume. And this is just for like a, you know, an admin job in an organization. And I had another resume that wasn't nicely designed at all, had a few typos here and there, but the experience of that individual was better if you really read the content. And when I shared it. The comments back when people said, who is it? The comments back was that they liked the formatted resume. One executive hiring manager in that organization and in that workshop said they liked the formatted resume because it showed the person's personality. And yes. Thank you, Allie. Like the look on your face. And I was like, what? How does a piece of paper? It has colors. And so it just means that you liked what you saw on that person's resume. Another person, another hiring manager could look at that resume and say like, why is this so, like, why are you cluttering it up with these graphics and blocks and colors? Like that's so unprofessional, right? We often hear that so unprofessional for what we wanted. And if you were here last week for my live, I talked about the stat that about 50% of new hires aren't successful within a year, year and a half. And that is from like, you know, many different studies and quotes about that.

So just think about the hiring manager who was impressed with the personality coming from this resume. And fair it's just the screening part. So they hadn't got through the interview, but from the candidate side, many candidates have said that they don't feel the resume does actually represent who they really are because how can one or two pages of a piece of paper actually represent the person? So here's on the one side, some employers are saying, oh, what I want to see their personality through the resume. And the candidate is saying you will never be able to see who I really am through my resume. That's a huge disconnect. Huge disconnect.

Allie: And it's all subjective. And this is, you know, part of my brain. So my background is actually in science, which blows a lot of people's minds because I went to school to become a forensic toxicologist before CSI ever existed. So that's how old I am. But even then, the research that goes into how do we make our decisions and things like this is, is based on the psychology of things, our biases. And when we have the information about, you know, here's somebody's personality, how do you determine it's their personality?

Even, you know, some of the personality tests that are out there, they don't really determine somebody's personality. They just tell you some generalizations about it, right? So I'd be really careful about saying that you get to know somebody by how they write something, unless they're writing opinion pieces all the time. That's not anything to base a hiring decision on. Again, coming back to it with the information of how can you determine this is the best person for the role based on two pages that you've smashed everything into. You need data, you need data that's confirmed and recruitment unfortunately is probably one of the last business operations to actually put in data, verified data, to determine candidacy for roles.

And that is where my science brain goes to is, well, this is the best person, but prove it. How do we prove it? And we're not going to prove it through a resume because again, a resume is like a Coachella poster. You know, you're talking about the greatest things up top, and there's the band that you want to go see on the main stage, but then you get down and then, you know, it's all these little tiny bands. And then at the very bottom, it's like, oh, but I really want to see those people at the very bottom. And those people are viewed as the best I'll ever see ever for a stage performance. And that's the little pieces that we need to know. At the very bottom is how well somebody can perform things.

With my previous roles, I worked at a bank. I am not a banker, but yet even my HR professional friends would say, oh, here comes the banker. So we tend to get defined by where we were before and what our roles were. One of my roles. I was called the manager of clients services or shared client services. That name doesn't mean anything to anyone, but I was able to manage a team of 75 individuals, which was the largest team in Alberta and Northwest territories. And on that team, I specifically set out to have as many different language skills as possible. And we ended up with 28 different language skills on our team of 75 people. And that won me a diversity award. And I'm thinking, well, how is that getting me a diversity award? Because I intentionally wanted to service our clients that have these languages. And all I was doing was saying, what else do you have as a language? Great. English is great. But a lot of people weren't putting down their, their second, third, fourth, or fifth language skills on their resume. Why? Not enough room. It wasn't important. So if we bring that back to like 18 months down the road, And we're still having issues with the person or we're not having issues with the person. How do you say that that resume is going to be the best indicator for that person? I can't connect the dots there at all, and this was my life and I felt like something was missing, you know? What am I missing here with this individual? So you'd need to dive deeper into the interviews. Extend the interviews longer. And that's really, you know, if we make a mistake, screening your resume and we're interviewing the wrong people. How do we fix that? How do we screen better?

Rosie: I'm going to ask some questions that may be coming up in people's minds now, because I know there is a better way, but I'm thinking that what might come up, cause it would come up for me as well, but we'll figure that out. Isn't that what the interview is for Allie? I mean the resume, like you said, it's just the screening part. Everybody, I don't think candidates or recruiters enjoy the process as it is. It takes a lot of time for everybody and we want to make this as efficient and effective as possible. So instead of the resume then, and well, not just instead of the resume, but you've pointed out what it is not telling us or what it's telling us that we shouldn't be following. So what should recruiters and hiring managers to be looking for in the screening process instead of what's just on a resume.

Allie: In the screening process, it's very important. Number one. Even before the screening process, when you have a vacancy, you have to sit down and understand what the role is all about and make sure that you've got the definitions of the requirements and make sure you've got the definitions of the responsibilities fully worked out. Number one.

Number two, then you create an ideal candidate profile based on that. And so you're going to come up with the ideal person based on, usually competencies, what do they have? What do they act like? How do they behave? And that's the question that I got to know when I was working with small business owners from the very beginning, when I say, okay, what kind of person are you looking for for this role? It was never, I need a four year degree. I need a, you know, I need somebody that's white. I need somebody that can go and talk to all the white communities. It was never that. It was always talking about behaviors and competencies and people that had experiences. And, you know, they have to be coachable. They have to be friendly. They have to be able to talk to strangers, things like that. They never would say, I need somebody that looks exactly like this person. I need somebody that acted exactly like the other person that was in this role. That was never something because there's always a better person. So for screening purposes, I would say, come up with that ideal candidate profile. And then figure out a way to ask questions specifically around that, to how they will do the job and like, can they do the job and how will they do the job? There's better ways to make determinations rather than keyword searches, which a lot of us are, you know, that's what we did. That's what we learned. And a lot of the new technology as well. So if you're looking into new technology that has the resume parsing. And they'll parse the job description and then keyword match on the resumes. That's great. But you are just taking technology and adding it into the process that has always been around for recruiters and you're doing it faster and not as well.

Rosie: Okay. That is a really important point. I just want to pause here and let people take a note of that. Write that down if you need to, because I think that's what people start going to as well. If I get thousands and thousands, I'm going to do AI. I'm going to use algorithms and that's all going to help my process. But you can design biases. It's just a computer. It'll do what you tell it to do, right?

Allie: There's actually a study that was shown that they were trying to determine, again, the behaviors of people or their ideal candidate profile. And they created it such that they only were able to bring in people that had like, you know, they wanted somebody that was a golfer because it was business development, you know, somebody this that, and the other thing. And they ended up putting such parameters around the individual that they only ended up with like young male white people applying or coming through because they set the parameters for young white males to be added into the screening process. So we have to be very clear. Oh, there you go. Pale, male and stale!

Rosie: Well, and this is weird. I'm showing this. So if you can't see this, it's a picture, screenshot of a Globe and Mail article. The CEOs of the top TSX companies. So like the biggest Canadian companies and this particular screenshot are pages and pages of it in the Globe and Mail. But this is all men and almost all white. There's a couple of people who are not white in here from appearance alone. And even the women, where there are a few women, like 11 out of 140, something like that. They are all white appearing as well. And that's where I put on my JEDI hat Allie, when you say that you know, to create an ideal candidate profile is a good way we should be starting. And I understand the premise and I agree it should be based on competencies, but I also see how without ever saying, we want a man, we want them to be white. We want them to be 50 years old if they're a CEO whatever. It ends up being like that photo that we saw from the Globe and Mail. So how do we create an ideal candidate profile that doesn't end up looking like that photo screenshot, where somehow we still end up with these white guys in these roles.

Allie: So fun fact, there's more CEO's named Dave than there are females in the top 140.

Rosie: I heard that too. It's like, wow.

Allie: Yeah. So when it comes to how do we change that again? Like, janice. She, she has the Pink Elephant newsletter and I was attending a session with her workplace DEI predictions for 2022. One of the questions that she kept asking was, am I doing harm? And so that's what always needs to be present when you're coming up with that ideal candidate profile. And it's my job as a recruiter to say, does this pigeonhole the description too much? You know, so again, coming from a place of privilege. Do you need that education piece or is there an equivalent that could be, you know, available. I know for example, that, you know, my mother went and got a four year degree and immediately after she graduated, a two-year diploma was actually the preferred level of education for the specific role that she was going into.

So I think there's a lot of information that we can actually, you know, take a step back and say, is this necessary in order to be there? And then also ask. What potential or what amount of potential is the golden standard for what we want in this role, because you're not going to find people, especially getting into the C-suite.

You're not going to find people where they didn't have a place of privilege or that barriers weren't removed for them, or there wasn't an ally or a mentor to help them get to that point. They will not have the same experiences as the rest of the candidates. So, you know, there's that ameliorative piece that you need to put in there as well. Just because somebody doesn't have that experience does that make them unqualified? Or if somebody has the experience, does that make them more qualified? So I think in the process, we still have that ameliorative piece that we need to think about to do change. To do real change, for sure.

Rosie: Do you have a specific example about that? Like where maybe one of your clients you worked with and you're like, okay, you helped them to see that something they thought was required, wasn't really required.

Allie: Yeah. It was the education piece, for sure. So this one particular employer, you know, great family success story. Been in the city for, you know, 15 years, really working forward and they were growing in their sales department. And because their top salesperson had a Bachelor of Commerce, they wanted everybody else to have a Bachelor of Commerce. And I had to have a sit down face to face. Remember when those were around? And say, listen, you know, is it important for this person to have a Bachelor of Commerce? And they would go, yes. And I go, why? Because if the only piece of information they have is because so-and-so has it. And they're amazing. I then, you know, peel back the layers and go, what about that person makes them a great salesperson. And then all of a sudden the education component is not there.

I think one thing that we need to do is make sure that you have the right reasons for the right requirements, but then also ask what are the requirements that you don't want, or what are the things that you don't want in this person as well, to balance it out.

Rosie: Interesting. So what would be an example of something that we don't want in the ideal candidate profile?

Allie: So, you know, when it comes to let's take, for example, a not-for-profit. So there's a not-for-profit group that is hiring. They wouldn't want somebody that wants, you know, fast pay raises and, you know, wants to move up the ladder because those opportunities are not necessarily going to present themselves. So having a realistic conversation about, you know, we might not be able to give you the opportunities here paid to move up and expand your skillset. However, we do have opportunities to take on volunteer positions within our organization to lead, you know, outreach groups or, you know, things like that, bringing the community together where you can test your leadership skills, but we won't be able to pay for those. And just be realistic about the expectations of the role and the advancement of the role, but not necessarily diminish the opportunities. Because even though they're not paid, there's always opportunities in different roles, which brings me back to the resume. Not all those opportunities are going to make it into the resumes. So somebody could have a lot of these extracurricular, amazing experiences that make them who they are. And they're not going to be relevant on a resume.

Rosie: Okay. So this is also where I love that you have a science background, and I know this is not just theory for you. Like, I know you've tested this and that's why you came up with a better mouse trap. A better solution. So if we're not relying on resumes.

And I also happen to believe in different types of assessments. Like I follow the Enneagram, I've done Myers-Briggs. I don't love Myers-Briggs, but there's a lot of different psychometrics and tests and things like that out there. I'm not saying that people need to use like a certain type of test or personality thing, but what is a better way than, than a resume or how do people find out information that you're saying we should know at the screening process?

Allie: So number one is ask questions. Make sure that you ask questions that are again rooted against the requirements of the job. Like what are some of the responsibilities and what are the requirements? So for example, you don't necessarily want to hire an administrative assistant that doesn't know how to operate, you know, Outlook or, you know, Google calendar or whatever. You want to have people that have some of the, like the basic skills.

I'm not saying that you need to dive into, how would you solve this problem that happens on the job on a day to day basis. You just need to make sure that you're hitting like the minimum requirements. You know, are you able to work Monday to Friday? Are you, you know, these hours, salary expectations, you know, we might have to work in the office from time to time rather than we're working remotely. That's a huge one these days. So gathering that information that would make it easier decision, but not necessarily any pass-fail questions. And you'll find a lot of job boards actually ask those just to, to cull the list of candidates is, you know, do you have a driver's license? Pass/fail. Well, what if I have reliable transportation that isn't requiring me to have a driver's license, right? Like there's so many different things that you can ask for. And I would encourage people to think of questions that could be ranked or weighted in a questionnaire type of way, because that information. Anytime you add scoring or metrics to data. You now have a better qualified and quantified information set. And so you can take that information and say, Okay. Based on this, the 10 candidates that I want to interview have to score a 90 or above.

And a lot of people don't realize this, but there is an employment requirement by law to, to show. So people can challenge your decisions in screening, in recruitment process for whether or not it was discriminatory. And if you have any type of scoring, you can say, thank you so much for your inquiry. Here is what we have. Here's where you scored. Here's where the people we interview score. Do you have any further questions? And so you can actually back up your statement for, yes, this is the best hire and here's why. So there's that piece to it too. Again, science brain. The one thing I would say about personality assessments or any type of assessments that you would do. Number one make sure it's been tested for adverse impact bias. I think that's one of the things that, again, coming back to that male, you know, male lens, a lot of these assessments were made from a male lens and weren't challenged. Myers-Briggs type indicator. There's a whole story behind that. So I'll let everybody here just go on that journey. And there's a lot of reasons why a lot of us HR professionals don't like them. Just make sure the information that you're gathering has been tested. It's been researched. It's been peer researched. And that it's been challenged against any gender biases, neuro divergence biases, and also any racial biases. So adverse impact bias is huge too to discovering all of this.

Rosie: And just for anyone who doesn't know what is adverse impact bias.

Allie: It's where you unintentionally remove people from the process based on certain qualifications that were like. If I was, again, that male lens, if I was only creating information on the male lens, well, I'm now disqualifying anybody that doesn't identify as male unintentionally. So that's the adverse impact. it's working against them rather than for them in the statement.

Rosie: And there's just the reality because this is also why this year I decided I really need to focus on working from both ends in of people want to genuinely become more equitable and inclusive. And meanwhile, change is slow. And the reality is the system sucks and people are still feeling marginalized and discriminated against so how are we helping them. So the reality is because of our history of colonization and the white supremacy culture that most of the stuff has been created from a white male lens, because those were the people in the positions to actually do the research and create the assessments. It's changing. It's not all, it's not only white men either.

I know there's a lot of women who have done this and a lot of racialized people, but the fact is the stuff that's, Google-able probably is primarily going to be from that lens. And I know that you, because science background, you're not a white man. And you try to come up with something. So what have you found or what are you using, I guess at this point that tries to mitigate adverse impact bias in the way that you do your assessments for your clients.

Allie: I personally use Harrison Assessments. Particularly because of a deception algorithm that they have. So again, from a resume perspective, we can't verify that information is true unless we have some way to vet the information through records of employment or anything else like that, or background checks, which are a whole nother mess. So for me, I wanted to see the scientific data behind the assessment and with a deception algorithm that prevents people from trying to fudge the system.

We can actually determine a reliability factor of every single person's score. And so we set our reliability factor up pretty high to encourage people to truthfully go through the process and give employers what they want. And basically the assessment will stop people from going further if it doesn't hit the threshold that we have. I think it's, it's really important to do your research and make sure it aligns with what your ultimate goal is. And the other thing I'll add is that an assessment should not be the end all for everything. It should be part of the total package for screening. It should not just be the one thing. Especially because a lot of assessments will just come up with a label. And the last thing we want to do as JEDIs is to add more labels into things. It was really important for me not to have labels and the assessment process that I use doesn't use labels. It actually uses data points.

Rosie: I know we're out of time, so I will leave it at that. I think there's a lot more, we could say. I took from what you just said there, Allie too, that the data. Resume doesn't actually provide independent, verifiable and reliable data. And we're all about data right now in business as well. And you've pointed out the importance of data. So employers get your data in a different way. My last pitch I'll say is that you could do that by changing the way you ask for cover letters. Like people are so confused about cover letters. Should I do a cover or should I not? There's never any guidance. Some people never read cover letters, but ask the questions that you want to know and tell them to write that to you in their cover letter. And then that shows you how they communicate. It also gives them a chance to know, oh, this is what they really want to know about me. Then they can answer that in a pointed way. And you can actually start getting to in the screening process, like early days, what it is that you really want candidates to communicate about themselves other than a generic resume. So one other idea I'll throw out. Thank you Allie for being here today with us. Thank you so much. How can we get in touch with you because I could imagine people have so many more, just want to engage you and get you to help them with their processes. How can they do that?

Allie: LinkedIn is my go-to. I'm on LinkedIn all day, every day. Ali, A L L I E K N U L L is my handle and I'm available there. So usually LinkedIn is probably the best way to get me.

Rosie: I will send out reminders with all your links and stuff like that. if you want to get in touch with me afterwards, if you're watching this on LinkedIn, I'm on LinkedIn, obviously. So feel free to shoot me a message. Connect with me. Follow me. You can also contact me directly through my website. And my email address is and the website that I'm on is and all the recordings will be there under Thank you everybody who joined us live and who's watching this. Have a great rest of your day.

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Rosie: That’s a wrap! This episode of Changing Lenses was produced and hosted by me, Rosie Yeung, with associate production by William Loo, on land that was taken from many Indigenous nations, including the Anishinaabe, the Huron-Wendat, the Mississaugas of the Credit, and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Today it is still the home of many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, with whom I seek to reconcile by learning the true history of colonization, including things that seemed legal and honourable – like treaties – but were often marked by fraud and coercion. I’m Changing my Lens by learning to see land, creation, even business and economy through Indigenous worldviews. And I’m making new friends and building relationships with Indigenous neighbours, cousins, aunties and uncles, in a genuine desire to know, love, and honour them, and live together in peace.

This podcast is one way I’m sharing what I learn to help settler-immigrant folks decolonize our thinking, and respond to the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Miigwetch, 多謝, 謝謝, Merci, and Thank You.

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