The hiring process is so stale that you really do not need to get that creative to be unusual. I find it fascinating how our society has yet to figure out how to engage in relational dynamics that are actually focused on joint problem solving as opposed to an evaluator/evaluatee framework.
When I used to think about hiring outside the box or approaching hiring creatively, I thought I needed big magnanimous stunts and gestures to pull it off. I would go into interviews disguised as a janitor, I would have candidates work on building legos together, drawing, painting, problem-solving, case building, etc. I would try all the alternatives I could find to maximize my findings during the interview process. But as I found out over the years, I did not have to go that far at all in order to hire unusually.
I found out something really obvious over the years: interviews are terrible vessels for people to get to know each other truthfully. Everyone is putting on a show. To make a terrible analogy, consider dating. People are at their best, hiding their flaws and playing up their strengths, flirting by lying and omission in order to control the perception of the other. Interviews share a lot of these traits.
The opposition between the interviewer and interviewee makes it so that both parties are trying to sell to each other. The interviewer sells the idea that working in that organization is a dream while the interviewee sells the idea that they are the perfect match for that position. It is pretty ludicrous when you think about it. Rather than have an open and honest dialogue about the organization, the candidate and the fit or unfit, interviewers flaunt how "great" the organization is, rejoicing in schadenfreude from the candidates who so desperately want to make it through and be accepted by the all-powerful interviewer. It boils down to power-tripping that adds very little value to a meticulous selection process.
That is why I try to deconstruct this framework. Hiring is not about us evaluating candidates. It's about trying to establish whether or not fundamentally there is a cultural and behavioral fit. We will also consider past experience and skills, but these are secondary to the decision making process. The primary driver is the fit; both the candidate and the interviewer are discovering for themselves whether the fit is there or not.
Even though it's straight-forward, deconstructing the current paradigm is not easy given how ingrained it is in our thought-process. Deconstruction is a multi-pronged process and it involves the following elements:
Get out of the evaluator chair. You are no different, no better than the person you are interviewing. Be normal, be human and make others feel comfortable. This gives people the chance to disarm and forget about having to prove themselves. Having the chance to see people in their natural state is the greatest revelation you can attain from an interview. No one I know can work in interview mode all the time. It's not sustainable. Work is stressful and the hours are long. That's why we want an interview process that leads us to find people who feel naturally comfortable in our culture.
Focus on the behavioral aspects. We tend to be very impressed with big names and big titles on people's resumes. But we are not hiring their education nor their work experience. We are hiring a person. And that's what we want to get to know. How do they react when feeling examined? How do they feel when we are smiling? How do they feel about being confronted? How do they deal with pressure? And you don't find out these behavioral trends from asking about them. You find out about these things by getting to know a candidate. Go beyond your own biases and use your senses.
I strongly advise candidates not to work with us. Why should we try to pretend that it's great working here? It's not. It's work. Most people would not choose to work here if they had 50 billion dollars in the bank. That's just a fact of life. We don't want people choosing us for the wrong reasons. Paying bills, needing a job, wanting to advance a career. Those are all legitimate pursuits that most of us share. But we want to hire people based on the deeper motivational drivers. We want to find people who want to be a part of something bigger than their own selves, who do not mind getting into constructive conflicts and will stand by their opinion. We understand that people that we bring into the company are the very fabric of the company's soul, which most of us refer to as culture.
So we deconstruct the traditional hiring paradigm by forgetting about skills and focusing on the person. We deconstruct the interview paradigm by not positioning ourselves as interviewers but as partners who are working together to find out whether or not this is indeed a good fit for all of us. We find out more about people when they get a chance to speak more honestly and when we truly hear what is being said. We forget about the labels and the brands that are pegged to resumes and we look at the intersection of values and goals. Those are the pillars for a solid and prosperous relationship. And that's what hiring is in the end: the beginning of a new relationship.
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."