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Canva – the beloved online visual communications tool that empowers anyone to create beautiful designs – is everywhere these days. From its CEO Melanie Perkins gracing the cover of Fortune magazine’s 25 Most Powerful Women to being named one of the 10 Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company, 2022 was a year for the books for Canva. 

The Australia-based company’s impressive rise has resulted in 3,200+ employees and more than 110 million users each month. Behind this tremendous growth is Canva’s exceptional talent acquisition team. It’s up to them to ensure the company continues to grow in the right way and hires the very best talent. 

To achieve these goals, the team recently rolled out a robust interview training program, Hiring Essentials, and they’re sharing an exclusive preview with you. Read on to get the scoop on Canva’s best-in-class interview training program.

An Inside Look at Canva’s Best-in-Class Interview Training Program

Interview training programs come in all shapes and sizes. But we have to admit, Canva’s is one of the most unique, comprehensive programs we’ve seen yet. 

So far, they’ve rolled out the training to about 900 employees, and the results speak for themselves. Almost 100% of those who have taken the training have said: 

  • they feel more prepared for their interviews,
  • they know what makes a good candidate experience, 
  • and they feel more qualified and prepared to deliver an exceptional candidate experience every time. 

So what’s the secret to the program’s success? In short: intentionality. Canva’s talent acquisition team has been very intentional about every step they took to build the program and develop the content. 

The team followed a four-step process to build their program:

Step 1: They determined their why

Before the Hiring Essentials interview training program, Canva’s interviewers were already taking some form of training. However, each recruiter and specialty (Canva’s teams refer to their functions as “specialities”) had their own approach with different content and level of depth.

The old training was condensed into either a 90-minute program or two hour-long sessions, which didn’t allow enough time to cover every important topic. 

Canva’s talent acquisition team realized there was an opportunity to create a centralized interview training program with consistent messaging. So they decided to design a comprehensive program – aka Hiring Essentials – that covers every important thing interviewers need to know about hiring at Canva.

“All of a sudden, we had a whole heap of people who were potential first-time interviewers,” says Emily Refalo, Recruiting Enablement Partner at Canva. “And, at the very least, first-time interviewers at Canva. This showed our team we needed a standardized process and methodology for how we hire and what good looks like at Canva.”

Step 2: They developed in-depth content for their most meaningful topics

Next, the team set out to develop the program’s content. Emily says, “We wanted to look at different learning formats and dig deep into the topics that were most meaningful for us.” 

The team created learning modules for Hiring Essentials that included the following hour-long live virtual classroom sessions and online courses: 

Classroom Session 1: Understanding how Canva hires from end-to-end

Emily says, “The first session is an overview of our hiring process. This session came about because we have many people who have interviewed previously at other companies, as well as others who have never interviewed before. We wanted to give everyone an understanding of how to speak to our values and how we interview at Canva.”

The content in this session covers the following:

  • The company’s values
  • What Canva cares about when hiring candidates
  • The types of people they want to hire and how that shows up in the interview process
  • Expectations for interviewers
  • How they want candidates to feel throughout the interview process

Classroom Session 2: How to make a great hiring decision

The second live session provides an in-depth overview of everything interviewers need to know to hire well. It uses Canva’s growth and development framework as the foundation for the conversation. 

Classroom Session 3: Intro to BrightHire 

Canva uses the interview intelligence platform BrightHire to record and transcribe interviews so that the team can make great, evidence-based hiring decisions. This session covers how to use BrightHire, how it helps reduce bias and raise the quality of their hires, and the many benefits it brings to Canva’s hiring managers and interviewers.

Online Module 1: Positioning yourself as a magnet for talent

One of the most insightful windows into a company’s culture is through the eyes of an employee. As a result, candidates often draw conclusions about a company based on how employees represent the brand both during an interview and publicly on social media.  

This online module discusses how employees can support the company’s talent brand by posting on LinkedIn and sharing their Canva experiences during interviews. 

Online Module 2: Ensuring a good candidate experience

A positive candidate experience is of utmost importance to Canva’s talent acquisition team. This module helps interviewers understand how to deliver an exceptional experience during every interview.

Online Module 3: Building a company of conscious inclusion

In this module, interviewers learn about Canva’s commitment to diversity, equity, and conscious inclusion and the vital role interviewers play in creating a culture of inclusion. 

To develop the content for this module, the team worked with Canva’s DEI team. Together, they determined the most critical DEI areas interviewers need to learn about and how to discuss these topics in a way that empowers everyone.

Step 3: They allowed for customization

Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, the team wanted to help interviewers walk away with an in-depth understanding of what makes a great hire for their particular specialty. So they built into their curriculum opportunities to customize the content for a department’s specific needs.

Emily says, “An engineering interview is different than interviewing someone in design, so our training program allows for customization. For example, our recruiters partnered with the engineering interviewing team to identify certain elements to adapt to suit their specialty area and customize the program for their needs.”

Step 4: They scaled the program over time

Instead of immediately sending everyone involved in interviews through the training, the team took a three-phase approach:

  • Phase 1: A small cohort of company leaders, with a special version of the training geared towards senior hiring and Canva’s brand of leadership
  • Phase 2: 10+ cohorts of Canva’s managers and interviewers
  • Phase 3: A centralized, seasonal program for all new interviewers and managers joining Canva

Once the rollout phases are complete, they plan to hold Hiring Essentials on a seasonal basis for new employees.

Canva’s top 3 tips to improve any enterprise’s interview training program

If Canva’s interview training story sparks ideas for your program, you’re in luck. The team is sharing the three most important things they learned along the way that you can apply to your interview training program:

Tip 1: Incorporate skills into your training program

At Canva, there are 12 skills that all employees focus on developing. Canva’s training program introduces interviewers to each skill, how they show up in different roles, what they mean for an interviewer’s particular specialty area, and how to craft interview questions based on these skills.

Canva’s 12 skills are grouped into four pillars and include:

  • Craft
    • Provides technical expertise
    • Delivers value to customers
    • Solves problems
  • Strategy
    • Thinks strategically
    • Navigates complexity
    • Sees through communication
  • Communicate
    • Effectively collaborates
    • Builds relationships
    • Rallies others
  • Leadership
    • Develops self & others
    • Personal leadership
    • Team building

By incorporating skills into your training, you can ensure you hire people who align with your company’s values and how your teams operate.

Tip 2: Collect feedback from your teams

Ultimately, a great interview training program delivers content that is valuable to your teams. This means the work doesn’t end once you launch your interview training program. 

Instead, make sure the content is delivering value by checking in with your hiring managers and interviewers and asking questions like:

  • How can the interview process continue to be improved? 
  • What areas do your teams need more training on when it comes to hiring and interviewing?

By building a feedback loop into your training program, you can continue to improve and evolve it over time.

Tip 3: Drive adoption by involving key stakeholders

Interview training can be a big time commitment for interviewers. It’s important to involve key stakeholders in the company early on who can speak to the benefits of the training, why it’s so important, and the value interviewers get out of it. 

Emily says, “The goal of the training is to empower our interviewers and ensure they have the right tools to feel confident and deliver a great experience to our candidates. Helping them understand ‘the why’ and what they can expect to learn from the program really helped drive participation and engagement.”

That’s exactly what Canva did by rolling out Hiring Essentials to leadership first. This allowed Canva’s talent acquisition team to gain support from the company’s leaders and set the program up for continued success.

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