Lee McC
Project Co-Founder, Incubation Program atNonlinear

I'm working to help Effective Altruists make smarter hires, faster. I want organizations to recruit their best-fit teammates so they can make a bigger impact. I want highly-driven professionals to find the job where they'll grow and add their best contribution to our work for good. 

From starting and growing several service-oriented businesses I know how important the right hires are. I went through the process to create my recruitment, interviewing, and on-boarding systems to directly hire over 50 people in 3 years.  

Many EA organizations are small and growing. For start-up charities and altruistic-oriented businesses, creating the best hiring systems doesn't have to be complex. Implementing best practices, knowing what to focus on, and getting support where needed can make the difference between a hiring season that derails usual work and adds more stress, or one where you're excited to welcome a new recruit.

I am actively thinking about, writing about, and experimenting with ways to support hiring for EAs. If hiring is on your mind, reach out.
 

How others can help me

Talk to me if: 

  • You're looking for your next job!
  • You're looking to make a hire, and you suspect your hiring process could be more effective, organized, and easier to implement. 
  • You're looking for some hard-to-find talent, and could use some help sourcing it. 
  • You have experience with hiring best practices that you think should be implemented more and want to talk shop. 

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80k would be happy to see more projects in the careers space

I am working on setting up an EA recruiting agency, and through dozens of conversations with people in the last month, I can confirm that there is a wide variety of opportunities and needs!  
To add and expand on some listed, I made some bullet points below. These ideas aren’t deeply considered yet but point to some possible opportunities from what I’ve been hearing.

HR/ Hiring Support for Organizations 
   * Helping new and rapidly growing orgs improve their hiring.
   * Resources for designing work tests, interview questions, screenings, etc, even for established orgs. 
   * Legal resources and consulting, especially around work visas and labor laws in different countries for global orgs

Coaching/Support for Job Seekers
   * More in-depth career coaching, including accountability and encouragement through a whole job search. 
   * Group workshops on career planning. 
   * More counseling and support for people in specific fields and interests.

Mentorship of Current Job Holders
   * Potential for more professional organizations/mentorship for people who are hired into roles that are new for them. A lot of EA orgs are relatively small and may not have built-in mentorship from people more senior— other ways to set up professional growth and development opportunities.

Niche Recruitment. There’s some happening in each of these already - but certainly room for continued work and expansion into other fields.  
   * AI Safety, especially people with experience (there is some energy around this) 
   * Mid-career professionals from outside EA (this is getting off the ground with EA Pathfinder)
   * People with Operations... and often more Administration experience (I don't know of specific recruitment or career coaching around this) 
   * Development Economists and other academic niches for research positions

Power dynamics between people in EA

On the topic of "Some factors in how people influence each other" 

I've seen the word "rank" used to help talk about perceived power in other spaces. Saying "they have rank" means that their voice or perspective is given more weight and credence, which may have nothing to do with a person's title and everything to do with the "factors in how people influence each other". 

The short-hand of "rank" can help explain the "shifting sands" experience of people changing status over time. Rank can be held through the transitions of switching jobs and is also always contextual to the people in the room. 

For example, you might imagine that there's an organization where a longstanding volunteer has significantly more rank than the recently-hired new director of the organization. The volunteer knows who is who, how "things get done around here", has institutional memory, etc. The new director would be wise to notice that the volunteer has a lot of rank in the organization, try to get to know them, and get mentored by them, in order for the director to build their own rank in the organization (unless the director is coming in to change direction, in which case they'll need to bring or build their rank in other ways).  If the director is blind to this and thinks they'll have a lot of power just based on their title, they're likely to have a rude awakening in several months when they hit conflicts or can't seem to get things done. 

There's nothing wrong with rank. Many left-leaning spaces (especially social justice-oriented)  and more broadly spaces made of "polite" people often try to pretend that "we're all equals" or "non-hierarchical" which is usually quite false. It can be very detrimental when rank isn't acknowledged or is taboo to talk about. When we pretend that things are flat, people can't see rank as well. People with less rank don't understand why they can't get things done and how to be more effective when they're supposed to be equal to everyone else. People with rank don't know they need to invite others to give their opinions and welcome contradiction, or somewhat conversely, don't step into being effective leaders for fear of dominating when actually many people might want them to speak up more! 

So, thank you Julia for this post! Noticing these dynamics can help people navigate them much easier, build leadership, and support better mentorship. 
 

EA needs a hiring agency and Nonlinear will fund you to start one

I'm Lee and one of the people who is now working on this project. If you come across this post and are have thoughts or ideas about hiring in EA, reach out to me (calendly link is on my bio). 

I'm looking to connect with people who: 

-Have experience hiring within EA 

-Have wishes or suggestions for ways you think EA orgs could do hiring better

-Have been a personal assistant

-Have hired or attempted to hire a personal assistant

-Have outside experience with hiring best practices that you think should be implemented more often

I can't talk to too many people right now, so don't hesitate to connect! 

Hiring: How to do it better

Thanks for this post! I am actively working on improving hiring for EA, especially to support longtermist projects, and appreciate this summary of some key best practices. 

I’m currently focusing particularly on roles that are more common, such as personal assistants, where there is a high probability of replicability of the hiring process. The challenge is more on the end of “it is easy for us to find people to do the job”, where there is a strong need for filtering. This might be able to be simplified (in some ways you mention, like strong parameters/ a quick quiz) or being outsourced to an org (like what I’m starting, possibly). While there are unlikely to be many "really-not-a-fit" candidates, the challenge seems to be sorting the "okay" from the "exceptional" and ensuring good work style and workplace culture alignment between the hire and their manager. 

I currently have some of the same “topics for further investigation” written down as possible interventions to experiment with. For example, is there a need/demand for interviewing training, or a bank of work sample questions to make hiring processes easier for organizations and higher quality? The creation of these processes, especially without relevant examples to work from, is challenging and time-consuming from scratch! 

I’d be interested to talk with you more about your experience and see if there’s an opportunity to collaborate on developing these kinds of things in the next few months. 

Advice on how to get a remote personal/executive assistant

Check out Pineapple Operations list for part time and virtual PAs: 

 https://pineappleoperations.org 

Project Co-Founder, Incubation Program atNonlinear

calendly.com/leemcc/connect