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In early April, we identified that one of the major short-term challenges to creating SoJo was a simple shortage of “man hours”. Kanika read an article - which sparked the idea of inviting an Intern to join the SoJo team for the summer. 

She graciously volun-told me handle this task -- one that was daunting, considering I had never been involved with recruiting anyone beyond a team-mate for a class project. On top of that I had recently wrapped up my volunteer commitments, and was now into the travel portion of my time in Central America. My schedule was unpredictable and internet connectivity frequently in question.

For starters, I had to educate myself on the intern hiring process. This included understanding the expectations and norms for both parties as well as developing a criterion to select candidates.

Rapidly, it became apparent that as a young and evolving organization, we have tons to offer an individual who is eager to build and create an exciting new venture. Indeed, it was inspiring to note that there is no shortage of individuals looking to be involved with an initiative that aligns with their values and is meaningful to them. The challenge lies in identifying and reaching out to those individuals.

We eagerly posted our job description on every possible free job postings site including Charity Village, YouTern and Idealist. Recognizing that no-one on our team had actual editorial experience, we reached out to university Journalism programs with the hope that the students could apply their skills to a real online content publication.

The job posts were up -- and of course we had our problems. Our sign-up form was improperly set-up, but that problem soon got resolved.

Everytime an application was received in the “work” dedicated email account, I instantly wanted to open it and learn more about the people I could look forward to working with on SoJo. Instead of immediately reading the resumes and cover letters however, I forced myself to wait until we finalized the selection criterion in attempt to minimize any bias.

Once the deadline had passed, it was time to review the applications. Overwhelmed with the high caliber of the people who had applied; I had a mini-victory dance. [see post of victory dance for more context]

As we shortlisted candidates and subsequently worked through two rounds of interviews, we faced a complex “puzzle”. The victory-dance was soon over when we had to make some tough decisions. Ultimately, our decisions came down to matching up the skillsets of the candidates with the tasks that required collaborative execution in the short term, in addition to finding the complementary mix of skills and passion that meshed with the organizational culture that we aim to foster.

As I reflect upon the process, it has been a long, but exciting and certainly critical period of growth for SoJo. As we welcome and orient six analysts into our team this week, it did not come without its fair share of challenges and frustrations. Only now, we are set to unleash the power of six new fresh and engaged minds on the next set of challenges we face. I like where there is going :)

 


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