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InfoQ Homepage Podcasts Andrew King of Ocado Technology on Great Hiring Practices and Designing Culture

Andrew King of Ocado Technology on Great Hiring Practices and Designing Culture

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In this podcast, Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Andrew King, Organisational Scientist at Ocado Technology about the hiring practices they use and how to design the culture you want.

Key Takeaways

  • Context effect says that anything that happens in decision making that is altered by the context in which the decision is made
  • The compromise effect – when faced with a choice of options we try to avoid the extremes
  • These types of effects impact hiring processes and culture design and have to be actively mitigated against
  • Design your interviewing questions very carefully to explore the things that will actually help in the decision-making process
  • The content of an interview is the candidate’s responses, not the questions that are asked
  • To implement effective change, follow the principles rather than blindly following a process

Show Notes

  • 00:22 Introductions
  • 00:42 The goal of building the best tech in the best possible way
  • 01:12 People are irrationally fallible, in predictable ways
  • 01:47 Describing context effects – anything that happens in decision making that is altered by the context in which the decision is made
  • 02:28 Examples of how context effect plays out
  • 02:50 The compromise effect – when faced with a choice of options we try to avoid the extremes
  • 03:30 Ways that Ocado is using these ideas to improve their hiring process
  • 05:20 Distinguishing criteria for interviewing questions to help avoid the context effect
  • 05:45 Design your interviewing questions very carefully to explore the things that will actually help in the decision-making process
  • 07:06 The Ocado culture of building exactly what is needed rather than using off the shelf products
  • 07:48 The content of an interview is the candidate’s responses, not the questions that are asked
  • 08:20 Identify what someone in the role needs to know and craft the questions to expose that knowledge
  • 08:56 The value of behavioral interviews to explore a values match
  • 09:18 If someone doesn’t pass the behavioral interview they are not even considered for a role, irrespective of their technical competency
  • 10:07 Designing a culture and ways to help imbed cultural values in a group
  • 10:38 There is no single approach – different techniques and tools will be applicable in different areas of the organisation
  • 11:09 There is no easy way to imbed a culture – you have to work out the nuances in the different areas
  • 11:32 Follow the principles rather than blindly following a process
  • 11:42 Changing the culture of an organisation takes up to seven years
  • 12:03 The importance of the onboarding process to the culture of an organisation
  • 13:05 The way the couching group support the various areas of the organisation to support the culture
  • 13:57 In order to be effective the coaches need high empathy and facilitation skills – they are part of the organisation
  • 14:49 To adopt some of these ideas, use a Kanban approach – start where you are now, identify what needs fixing and work on one thing at a time
  • 15:32 Identify where the biggest problem is and address that first
  • 15:58 Use small steps and nudges an environment that brings out the best in people
  • 16:13 Complex effects will be rife – it is inevitable
  • 16:32 Use the sprint backlog idea from Scrum or WIP Limits in Kanban to help the people leading the change not become overwhelmed – focus on the next small step rather than the entire problem space

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