What to do about your dusty hiring process

Designing a values-centered search process.

Tim Cynova
5 min readMar 30, 2022

As more and more companies are acknowledging the realities of how systemic racism has been baked into their organizational practices, they are looking at their HR structures and processes and asking themselves how they might operate differently. When it comes to hiring new employees, these questions become:

  • How might centering equity and inclusion inform the way we craft job descriptions and position postings?
  • How might we live our values to create inclusive and transparent selection processes?
  • How might a values-aligned approach change the way we recruit and source candidates?
  • How might our values aid the creation of the questions and scenarios we use in interviews?
  • How might centering anti-oppression alter the often harmful power differentials that exist in search processes so we can lead from a place of care?
  • How might we use all of this knowledge and understanding to design an onboarding process to help our new team members to thrive?

In a brand new course launching Wednesday, April 6, we’ll proceed together, step-by-step through the traditional Western management-based hiring process and, at each stage, we ask ourselves to begin again, this time centering principles of equity and inclusion to help organizations reimagine what hiring — and, from the candidates’ perspective, being selected for the role — might feel like. Applying learning from contemporary HR practices, anti-racism and anti-oppression thought-leadership, and developmental evaluation, we dive into how to create a bespoke process to values-aligned hiring in your organization.


Are you interested in exploring how your organization’s search process is perpetuating characteristics of white supremacy culture and deterring amazing, qualified candidates from even considering applying? Do you want to introduce practices that are inviting and receptive to, and encouraging of, candidates’ unique combination of knowledge, skills and experience? Are you interested in exploring how to identify the right person for the opportunity and the right opportunity for the person? Are you curious about how each stage of your process can teach you about candidates’ strengths and suitability? This course is for you!


In episode 58 of the Work Shouldn’t Suck podcast, guest host Jamie Gamble guides an hour-long deep dive with Katrina Donald and Tim Cynova as they reflect on their recent search partnership with the amazing team at Opera Philadelphia. During the discussion, Katrina and Tim unpack what they each learned during a search process that invited the team to re-imagine an approach to executive search that centered equity and inclusion, and the questions they still hold and hope to explore in future searches.

Check out the original position posting that was created for Opera Philadelphia’s recently-concluded VP of HR & Inclusion search, complete with staff video interviews, audio versions of the posting, and their detailed application package.

Course Preview Video


Live online, April 2022. The four modules will be co-taught by Katrina Donald and Tim Cynova each Wednesday in April from 12:00–1:30PM ET (4/6, 4/13, 4/20, 4/27). Session recordings and materials will be available to participants for two months following course completion.


Four live weekly sessions including “asynchronous” videos to watch between sessions that will deepen understanding of the content. Each session will include frameworks, prompts to delve deeper, and a whole host of resources that you can begin using immediately in your own organization.

We will also be hosting a community of fellow course participants on Work Shouldn’t Suck’s Mighty Network. This community is one of the most valuable pieces of the experience as it allows participants to create bonds with their supportive colleagues that will exist long after the course concludes.


Module #1: Introduction to Reimagining the Hiring process: Foundations & Fundamentals (April 6)

  • Overall process arc
  • Outline resource requirements
  • Identify position and organizational Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs)

Module #2: Crafting a Position Description, Sourcing and Outreach (April 13)

  • Position posting feedback
  • Sourcing preparation (Who, What, Where)
  • Sourcing/network mapping
  • Posting and outreach process

Module #3: Interviews (April 20)

  • Interview design
  • Question and scenario creation
  • Create candidate weighting rubric

Module #4: Landing the Plane (April 27)

  • Reference check process
  • Offer stage
  • Onboarding process and team (re)design


Katrina Donald and Tim Cynova first worked together on a leadership program for Canadian arts and cultural leaders; Tim was a faculty member and Katrina was the program’s developmental evaluator. Reunited by a shared interest in restorative HR practices and shared leadership models, they brought their knowledge, skills, and experience together to create an alternative way of looking at, experiencing, and learning from the executive search process.

Katrina is the Principal consultant at Ever-so-curious, a Treaty 7 Territory-based consultancy that collaborates with learning organizations to co-create inclusive, evidence-based decision-making through evaluation and HR process design. She is a developmental evaluator, an organizational development professional, and a certified recruiter who believes that listening and sensemaking practices bring us into community, reveal pathways forward, encourage and embolden us, and allow for greater impact.

Tim is a certified Senior Professional in HR (SPHR) who wears a multitude of hats, all leveraging his deep knowledge and experience in HR and human-centered org design to co-create anti-racist and anti-oppressive workplaces where people can thrive. He serves on the faculty of both The New School and Minneapolis College of Art & Design. As Principal of the consulting group Work. Shouldn’t. Suck., his work includes curriculum design and consultation in WSS’s areas of expertise: from sharing leadership and power to hybrid and entirely distributed workplaces; creating organizational alignment, accountability, and understanding to values-based hiring.

Register for the course. Deadline: April 4, 2022.

Tim Cynova is a leader, HR consultant, and educator dedicated to co-creating anti-racist and anti-oppressive workplaces through using human-centered organizational design. He is a certified Senior Professional in HR, trained mediator, principal at Work. Shouldn’t. Suck., on faculty at New York’s The New School and the Minneapolis College of Art & Design, and for the past twelve years served as COO and then Co-CEO of the largest association of artists, creatives, and makers in the U.S.