Program Recap - Then & Now in Development Hiring: Emerging trends in hiring for a more inclusive future

“The only constant in life is change.” This adage feels truer now than ever­—particularly in the professional world, where our work lives are largely unrecognizable from just three years ago, and movements like the Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting dominate headlines.


On Tuesday, September 20, 2022 members of the WID community explored the changing landscape of recruitment and retention in the panel discussion, “Then and Now in Development Hiring: Emerging trends in hiring for a more inclusive future.” Moderated by Deb Taft, CEO of search firm Lindauer, the program featured panelists Shavon Bell of Shavon Bell Consulting, Merritt Colaizzi and Eve Edwards of Miss Hall’s School, and Jessica Munoz-Sainz of Harvard Kennedy School, who shared their insights, experiences, and advice on recruiting, onboarding, and retention in our new work reality.

During this engaging and informative discussion, panelists discussed:

  • Shifts in the recruitment process: Shavon explained there have been major shifts in the search industry in two key areas­—technology and the candidate experience. Technology is removing geographical barriers for many job searches and allowing hiring managers to cast a wider net when looking for amazing talent. And a company’s ability and willingness to prioritize applicants’ experiences throughout the hiring process is key to who gets top talent, and who doesn’t—a sea change from days past, when recruiters and hiring managers traditionally held all the power. “The power has now shifted to the candidate…and rightfully so,” Shavon says. “There’s really been a shift to bringing a more human, people-centered aspect to the recruiting process.”
  • Changing jobs—and switching coasts!—in a virtual environment: Providing the candidate’s point of view, Jessica discussed her recent job search and her experience moving from California to the Boston area for a development role in the Harvard Kennedy School. She stressed the importance of being comfortable asking direct questions during the interview process about company culture, work-life balance, and other challenges. 
  • Transforming the hiring process to create a more diverse, inclusive community: Merritt and Eve, who work in advancement and HR, respectively, at Miss Hall’s School in the Berkshires, shared an in-depth case study on how the school recently revamped its hiring process. “Employee retention starts at recruitment,” says Eve. “And we really have to think of onboarding as that whole first year to bring new employees into the community.” She provided an overview of how the school incorporated anti-bias procedures and approaches into its recruitment process. For example, employees are trained on anti-bias practices before they can participate in the hiring and interview process, candidates receive interview questions prior to the first two rounds to mitigate bias on the interviewers’ part, and job descriptions are carefully vetted by people across the organization. “It does change the culture,” Merritt says of the new process. “We all have a heightened sense of anti-bias practices, and it informs the work we do for fundraising as well.” 
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