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Human-Centered Hiring 101: A Crash Course in Putting Candidates First

At Imagine, we're all about flipping the script on traditional hiring practices. We believe that the secret sauce to a more inclusive and equitable hiring process is embracing a human-centered approach. It's about recognizing that each candidate brings their own unique experiences, perspectives, and needs to the table. We're saying goodbye to those rigid, cookie-cutter recruitment practices and hello to more empathetic and adaptable processes that honor the beautiful diversity and complexities of our candidates' experiences.

Image: T'Challa tells Bruce Banner (The Hulk) that "we don't do that here" as he attempts to bow. Heading reads "when someone suggests that candidates do free work to get a job" and text over image reads "we don't do that here"
We don't do that here.

Our dive into human-centered hiring started with a good ol' fashioned heart-to-heart with ourselves. We put our heads together as a team and got real about our own experiences as candidates - the good, the bad, and the ugly. Inspired by the movers and shakers of human-centered design, like the brilliant minds at IDEO, and the Harvard Business School, we set out to shake things up and reimagine the hiring process. Our goal? To build genuine connections and give candidates a platform to let their authentic selves shine.

We quickly realized that developing a model that goes beyond lip service requires careful reflection, lots of feedback, and thoughtful iteration. By making small tweaks and adjustments based on candidate and partner feedback, we gradually crafted a scalable approach that puts equity and inclusion front and center while still meeting the unique needs of everyone involved.

Here's a peek into our human-centered hiring philosophy:

1. Guess what? Candidates are actual people.

We recognize that, as whole human beings, candidates have full, rich lives outside of their job search. When we're transparent about our process and timelines from jump, we not only show respect for their time but also help them prepare for the journey ahead.

2. Communication is key, and empathy is our love language.

Let's be real, interviews can be straight-up nerve-wracking. To help candidates feel more at ease and able to express themselves fully, we share our questions in advance, prep candidates, and debrief after interviews. This small step can make a world of difference, allowing candidates to present their best, most authentic selves.

3. Equity isn't just a buzzword, it's a non-negotiable.

We understand that every candidate's starting point is unique. That's why we gladly make accommodations and adjustments to ensure our process is fair and inclusive for all. From offering extra time for tasks to providing additional support, we're all about leveling the playing field.

4. We take a 360-view, because details matter.

Human-centered hiring is about seeing the whole picture. We create clear, jargon-free job postings, use structured competency-based interviews, and leverage technology to kick bias to the curb. This multifaceted approach allows us to get a true 360-view of each candidate.

5. Your time and effort are valuable, period.

We get it - hiring tasks and projects are an amazing indicator of competency and future success. But free work? No. Free labor is out and compensating candidates for their time and effort is in. A little goes a long way in showing that we don't take their participation for granted.

6. Diversity isn't a checkbox, it's a celebration.

Building diverse candidate pools and designing equitable hiring practices is at the heart of our mission. We actively work to reduce bias and create an inclusive process that makes space for unique voices and perspectives to take center stage.

7. We're always growing, always evolving.

Our human-centered hiring process is a constant work in progress. We're always seeking feedback, reflecting on our experiences, and making improvements. It's an ongoing journey of growth and learning, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Ready to revolutionize your hiring process?

We get it, overhauling your hiring practices can feel like a daunting task, especially if your team is stretched thin or you're not sure where to start. That's where Imagine swoops in to save the day. We've helped organizations of all sizes experience the magic of human-centered hiring firsthand.

If you're ready to build a hiring process that not only identifies the crème de la crème of talent for your team but also aligns with your values of inclusivity, equity, and respect, we would love to join forces with you.

Give us a shout at or click here schedule a consultation. Together, we can create a world where every candidate feels valued, heard, and celebrated for the unique superpowers they bring to the table.


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