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18F Leadership Selection Guide

This guide is meant to help us create an inclusive and equitable process for selecting 18F supervisors and team leads.

Getting started

  1. Make sure you’ve gathered all the relevant information about the role: job description, a plain language version of the position description, specific tasks that will be required, what skills and mindsets are necessary for success in the role, how long the role is expected to last, and so on. The goal is to make sure everyone has a good idea of what you’re asking for so they can understand whether they or their colleagues would be a good fit.

    Talent has a template posting form for all internal opportunities. They can assist with any questions you might have.

  2. Create a nomination form in Google Forms. You can copy a template example or just create one from scratch. Typically, this form has been very short and simple with just a few pieces of information:

    • What position are you taking nominations for?
    • When do nominations close?

    With these form fields:

    • Who is being nominated?
    • Why would they be good in the role?
    • Anything else to add? (optional)

    Be sure that the form is set to capture the email address of the nominator in case you need to follow up.

  3. Set your deadline. Your deadline should be at least five business days out, preferably longer. For roles with formal applications (e.g., supervisors, chapter leads, etc.), your deadline should include a weekend. For roles that require submitting a government-style résumé, extend the deadline to allow people time to update their résumés and get feedback from friends/colleagues/mentors. Scheduling deadlines for end-of-day Friday (Pacific Time) is convenient and easy to remember.

    Submit materials to Talent. Talent will publicize the position on #tts-jobs and on the TTS Jobs Handbook page.

    Publicize the open position and nomination form on Slack in any relevant channels, to the appropriate email distribution list for your chapter or portfolio, and, if time allows, any relevant newsletters or other communications media you can think of. Chapter all-hands meetings, guild office hours, and Team Coffee are great venues! Encourage people to nominate themselves or their colleagues.

  4. Assemble an interview panel. Your interviewers should be present for each interview. The interview panel should usually include:

    • At least one—preferably two—chapter supervisors
    • If you’re hiring a supervisor position, the chapter lead
    • A representative from the diversity guild or a chapter diversity representative

    In some cases, you may also want to include a supervisor or director from another chapter. Reach out to people with relevant expertise to be on the interview panel.

  5. Create calendar holds for several interviews the following week. You want to create these blocks now. Finding time on everyone’s calendars will be tough. The sooner you have a hold in place, the easier it will be to find a convenient time for everyone. Now’s also a great time to schedule a calendar hold for the interview panel members to debrief and make their selection after interviews are complete.

    Remember, time zones are a thing, and the open space on your calendar may be at 7 a.m. for your candidate. You don’t know yet, so plan accordingly.

    You’ll want at least three holds. You may need more, but three will be enough most times, and if you do need more, interviewing will probably go into the next week anyway.

    The calendar hold should be for at least 45 minutes (preferably an hour) and be sure to keep all the interview times equal.

    Toward the end of the week, be sure to make at least one additional call for nominations. You cannot over-publicize.

  6. Put together the questions your panelists will cover in interviews. We already have question banks for most roles, so look there first.

  • Talent is putting together a Supervisory Interview Guide that all should be used for all Supevisory roles. That will be finalized soon.

What you have now

When you’ve finished all of the above steps, here’s what you should have at your fingertips:

  • Position description and plain-language description of the role
  • A nomination form
  • A deadline
  • An interview panel
  • Calendar holds for interviews
  • A question bank

Nominating people

Self-nomination is great for some, but not everyone is comfortable doing so. And that’s okay! This is why, in addition to self-nominations, we also accept and encourage peer nominations.

If you plan to nominate someone, consider the specific ways you believe the person will be successful. You’ll also want to carefully review the role requirements. You’re encouraged to tell the person you nominated them, and why you believe they’d have a strong application. Even if they decide not to pursue the role, people often find thoughtful nominations to be affirming.

Evaluating candidates

For candidates who did not self-nominate, first ask them if they’re interested in the role. Then let them and self-nominators know that you’re moving to the next step, which will be sending interview meeting invites.

At this point, you can replace your calendar holds with actual invites with the interview panel and the people you’ll be talking to. Include links to the position description and interview question bank in the calendar invite so it’s easy to find. Also include a general description of the role and a link to the leadership candidate guide in the invite description. Make these invites private: that is, not viewable to everyone. Those participating may not want others outside the panel to know they’re interviewing.

Be sure all candidates and all interviewers have a copy of the Position Description, a general description of the role, and a copy of the questions they may be asked. These are all in Google Drive somewhere. Hopefully you already know where. If not, go find it now.

Before talking to candidates, create a private Slack channel or DM group for the interview panel to capture quick thoughts, and a Google doc to collaboratively capture notes in. A private Slack channel is a good choice because you can add folks later if necessary, and they can see the historical context (e.g., if someone from Talent needs to be included). Be sure to share both with all the interviewers.

Making the selection

After completing all the interviews, let candidates know interviews have finished and tell them when they should expect a decision. Convene your interview panel one more time to make the selection. You should strive for consensus. If you don’t have consensus, pay extra attention to the voices who are “no-hire,” because they may be picking up on something no one else is. Also make sure voices from underrepresented communities are being heard – having panelists do an unconscious bias refresher prior to the panel meeting may help to make sure everyone has an equal voice.

As you’re reviewing the candidates, go ahead and fill out the Talent Selection Spreadsheet. You’ll need it once you’ve made your selection.

Once you’ve made your selection

  1. Connect with the Talent team and let them know whom you’ve selected. Talent is also going to want the selection spreadsheet you created and pool of people you selected from. And remember, the Talent team must be notified as soon as possible whenever a person is moving onto a supervisory PD.

  2. Notify the person who was selected and give them a chance to accept or decline. If they decline, the panel should reconvene to select someone else or reopen the competition. Also let the Talent team know that your selection has declined.

  3. Notify the people who were not selected and offer a debrief session with the interview panel or a representative to discuss what areas they may have been lacking in or areas for future growth, so they could grow into the role. Encourage them to apply again and let them know that not getting the role is not a personal failure, nor will it be held against them in the future. And thank them for applying! It’s stressful and requires vulnerability, and we appreciate people putting themselves through that to take on leadership roles.

  4. If it’s a supervisory PD (supervisors, directors), make sure Talent’s ready for the announcement to go public. This ensures all coordination with GSA HR is complete.

  5. Make public announcements.