An Occasion to Celebrate
We just passed our year-one anniversary. We marked the occasion with some cold honest feedback and a performance assessment. We’re on track to meet or exceed all metrics and goals related to spending and scalability. Still, talk is cheap (we know): it is humbling to confront areas where we simply must do better.
The Startup CEO 4 Hire Difference
On the bright side, we still treat people like people. Despite not being operational and before our official launch, we’ve prioritized helping a few businesses and initiatives that just couldn’t wait for our launch and needed immediate help: hurricane season may have set our launch date back but at least it was for a worthy cause; we look forward to sharing more about our humanitarian help initiatives in the future. (And not one person marked the occasion by donning hurricane heels!)
We prioritize professional relationships with businesses and individuals who need our help the most and who demonstrate continuous support for underserved millennials. What that means for us is that our core values are meaningfully integrated into all levels of the business. When a business referral comes across my desk, the first question I ask: how does that business define, help, and serve underserved millennials or communities? Next, I ask: can they prove it, and can we verify it? The last thing I want to do is to undercut our mission by contributing to individuals, systems and businesses that discriminate and harm communities that we serve.
Serving an underserved community is distinct from helping that community. Serving an undeserved community can be very lucrative: non-profits are springing up everywhere, taking advantage of the beneficial tax and other incentives. Many do more harm than good to those communities. Such endeavors are largely operated and organized by individuals whose only interest in that community is pecuniary gain.
Think migrant children being watched over by minimum page hires, later credibly accused of sexual abuse, while the non-profit’s founders live luxuriously from entity funds. At the other end of the spectrum, many non-profits reserve the best jobs and salaries for friends and benefactors while skimping on services to the community. (Think Scott Pruitt. Abuse of office is having a moment in the U.S.)
We hold ourselves accountable for partnering with companies that help the underserved communities that we support. And that help must be substantial to reflect our values, and verifiable. Our unified position will always be that our empathy and support go to the most deserving of the underserved, and that is because this value is at the core of our individual beliefs.
Development Operations and Opportunity
We care about the communities that we support, so we hire from within these communities. This strategy not only builds trust but ensures that the services that we provide are reflective of that community. We routinely screen businesses that do not reflect the culture and community that they claim to serve, and most often we find self-dealing that rises to the level of financial crimes. That’s why we not only require proof but proof that can be independently verified (someone’s Tinder date or uncle is not independent verification).
Yes, a lot of our operation is in research and development. We analyze and test every process before introducing it to the business (this is for legal protection and business savings). We rather spend on research and development rather than risk our professional reputation or be sued.
Creating Opportunity Takes a Village
Today I am most excited about what’s happening in our Office of Opportunity. We’re creating jobs: highly specialized jobs for highly qualified candidates. (Wait for it…there’s a catch and of course a caveat!)
We prioritize ambitious and talented individuals who are unemployed. The caveat? Sole proprietors and independent contractors who earn less than $100k annually are also a high priority. (We understand the cost of living in the U.S.) At times when I was desperately looking for work, one of the most frustrating parts of my job search experience was watching employers actively recruit and poach candidates who were already employed. This becomes a continuous vicious cycle with these companies not doing anything to reduce unemployment. We’re glad we can distinguish our brand in this way. We recruit, vet, and further develop talented professionals, and we provide them employment that pays a living wage. We hire human, it’s that simple.
We are distinguished in many other ways too. For example: your LinkedIn page, 500 plus connections, or distinguished university placement has no influence in our hiring process. We vet hires our own way. We weren’t born yesterday. We’ve heard (and independently verified) that some students and job candidates buy access, favor, influence, social media likes and followers, professional status, reviews, connections, references, admission to elite schools, résumés, cover letters, and grades. That’s why we vet candidates our own way. (That’s also why we’re in this business:) We aren’t impressed by current hiring, admissions, and background check processes; we also don’t want pay-to-play beneficiaries in our candidate pool. So, we put each candidate through a vigorous but fair vetting process. (And not all candidates will make it to the skills-assessment phase. We vet character first and foremost; if you lack integrity, sound judgment, dependability, initiative, tact, independence, endurance, empathy, knowledge, and fairness—basic tenants of human decency—you are screened out in pre-assessment stage. We advocate for competitive employment. We do not make excuses for self-destructive human behavior.)
Our screening and hiring process keeps employers accountable for hiring the most competitive candidate and minimizes the personal bias that has permeated U.S. hiring.
Our hiring process is vigorous but fair.
I deleted my LinkedIn page when I realized businesses were using social media platforms to unlawfully discriminate based on race and gender. In today’s social media driven society, it is easier than ever for employers for discriminate against candidates—and employers are taking full advantage of it.
We test all candidates on the skills they identify as strengths, and our process eliminates candidate-provided references; we vet our own way. Skill assessments are conducted in closed universe settings. This gives qualified candidates an opportunity to prove their skill level without the barrier of having to show that the candidate was previously or recently employed in that capacity.
We use a double-blind initial screening process. Once a candidate’s education and name are verified, we replace school names and past employers with a generic label, such as Education or Experience. Similarly, names are replaced by a candidate ID number, so a candidate’s gender, ethnicity, race or nationality is not detectable. A lot of steps happen in between including skills tests, but once a hiring manager selects a candidate’s résumé by ID, the only personal communication that takes place will be through real-time computerized written question and answer prompts.
There is, however, an alternate method where potential-employers may (if elected and eligible) meet candidates in a neutral space to conduct an in-person skills interview. A minimum threshold and pre-requisites must be met before parties can engage in the in-person anonymous process, including that salary and benefit negotiations must be declared before a meet. We work with candidates not currently employed, so there is no risk that an employer could potentially meet an already-employed candidate from their company.
These in-person interviews take place only after résumés are selected by ID number. Identification information is still withheld during this process and both parties will be assigned an auto-generated alphanumeric identifier (in addition to the numeric ID assigned to employer and candidate earlier). On the back end, our technology will prompt both parties to enter a yes or no decision based on the interview with the alphanumeric-identified person. The alphanumeric identifier will link back to the numeric ID assigned to a résumé or employer (the separate identifiers are issued so that a party can’t definitively link an ID number to a face during an in-person meeting). Only after both parties have elected to proceed will personal identifying information (e.g. names, employers, dates, schools, etc.) be given to both parties. A file is closed once an employment agreement is signed. A follow up survey is sent to both parties 90 days after the employment date to assess suitability and help us better serve employers and candidates.
We stand by our vetting and skills assessment processes. A candidate or manager who walks back a decision to hire after an in-person meeting will be permanently banned from the platform and use of future services.
What’s the Scoop?
Many candidates will become permanently banned from our services for a lack of integrity: if it’s on your résumé we will vet it. (And we aren’t going to call that mystery number submitted as a reference.)
We’re committed to getting good candidates great jobs. Some of that process requires changing minds and hearts, and in some cases, that takes a little bit of time. However, we only work and partner with entities and individuals that demonstrate a lifelong commitment to justice and fairness in the employment process and beyond.
Many businesses will be added to our ‘Do-Not-Work/Partner’ list. The reason can range from past to present discrimination to espousing support for an individual, idea, or group that wrongfully targets communities that we aid.
We have a project underway to disclose our ‘Do-Not…” lists, as an added consumer protection and resource: we want all consumers to make informed choices about to whom they give support; if consumers decide to support individuals, schools, and businesses that discriminate we want them to do so knowingly, so that they’re 100% accountable.
Findings of fraud, discrimination, or lack of integrity *(by a credible, unbiased process or proceeding) are transferred to our lifetime ban and ‘Do-Not...’ list. We haven’t shared an exhaustive list of infractions or violations here, we’ve named just a few. Piecing it all together: if you’ve previously lied to get a position or promotion, to avoid legal jeopardy or harm to your professional reputation, you’re already in violation of our integrity policy. (Melania Knauss/Trump: we see you and we do not love the view. Do better. “Be Best!”). We do not condone past lies about education and experience. That is not how you lead by example.
Trends we (vehemently) Dislike
Slave labor and slave wages. This is actively happening in the United States (land of the free…blah). Our audience is mainly an educated, articulate consumer, and it’s largely unnecessary to use precious time squabbling over a definition of slave labor for purposes of this article. What is important is that it’s happening at an alarming rate in the United States, it largely concerns underserved non-white individuals, and it is underreported. (In fact, my favorite food market is a participant. So, I made a change.) Business individuals and entities that pay dead-end wages while reaping a massive profit (ex: Trump businesses—no, we aren’t shy about naming wrongdoers).
Businesses or individuals that use black and brown labor only or mainly in low-level, domestic positions (e.g. nannies, custodians, drivers, waiters, cleaners, security personnel, etc.) are not acceptable partners for the work that we do. We look for 50% or higher in leadership positions and equity held by underserved communities to screen for partnership compatibility.
We’re straight shooters, here: people and businesses that do not understand that ‘No means No’ are unlikeable to us. (Another basic value held by decent humans is respect.) Our values are not for sale and do not bend to accommodate those who degrade and devalue the underserved communities that we serve.
U.S. Lawyers (supporting racists, predators, and allies no less) recently attempted to gain information (yes, from us) by a business opportunity contrived for the main purpose to access that information. We know there are unscrupulous actors in U.S. business and law. We look forward to the day when we’ve hired so many competent and ethical individuals that we effectively drive these bad-acting law firms, businesses, and individuals out of the market altogether.
If you can’t wield your position ethically and responsibly then perhaps you need to be replaced.
We are realist at the end of the day. We won’t solve every problem overnight, but we actively and consistently work towards massively reducing unemployment for qualified but unemployed underserved professionals (and no – we don’t accept less competitive, less qualified candidates). When employers hire and screen candidates, setting aside their discrimination-aiding tools like LinkedIn which allow the HR department to screen-out applicants based on race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, etc., we all win.
We’re here for the win.
-Startup CEO 4 Hire Team
March highlights, lowlights, and updates
To date, March 2018 was one of the busiest months for Bella Caveat’s development. (Reminder, the company currently has seven diverse brands.)
We've worked harder and longer, but we are not work shy. Our brands are committed to being distinguished by the quality of work, integrity, ethical practices, and profitability.
What does it take to win in business in New York?
Startup CEO 4 Hire founder, Editor in Chief, Blogger