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Equitable Hiring

While I do a good amount of resume work with other folks, a good resume will only get you so far when they're met with employer bias. Recently I was sent hiring resources on how to hire more equitably that feel vital to share.

Of course, it should go without saying that while less biased hiring practices are vital, organizations need to incorporate anti-racist practices throughout their entire organization to retain a diverse staff and ensure a safe workplace to marginalized populations. (Workplace discrimination can be applied across a facet of identities, but I often lead with race in these conversations.)

Additionally, equity and diversity are not always the same. When we only seek diversity, we only seek the optics of inclusion. Diversity alone does not focus on the individual needs and barriers that different groups face.

People from marginalized groups often have more barriers to overcome when accessing resources and opportunities than those from dominant or more privileged groups. In a diverse organization, equity-inspired design identifies barriers and inequities and helps to elevate the people on the margins to an equal playing field. - CultureAmp

While the company holiday card may look diverse, it matters what positions marginalized people hold in your org. Are marginalized employees treated without undue discrimination? Do they have access to or hold leadership and decision making power? Does your organization work to lift barriers created by dominate cultures?

People aren’t diverse, but teams and companies must be.

McKinsey research points out that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians (Collier and Zhang, 2016). Also, it's frankly the right thing to do.

But how do you garner more diverse applicants?

Post salary ranges.

Studies show that similar to women, people of color are also screwed over in the salary negotiation arena. Many people come from cultures where aggressive negotiation is not a norm. And women who negotiate are often punished, similar results are true for Black applicants. Colleagues of color may take offers significantly beneath what they should be making. Transparency at the onset will cut down on this. Pay transparency is necessary in equity work.

When you don’t disclose salary range on a job posting, a unicorn loses its wings
Download PDF • 106KB

But that's not all.

Salary transparency helps expose pay gaps between otherwise similar workers, encouraging underpaid employees to renegotiate or move to better-fitting jobs, improving overall efficiency in labor markets.

Men are more likely to negotiate salary than women. But studies show this “negotiation gap” disappears when information about other job applicants’ negotiation experience is public information.

Glassdoor released a fantastic packet of information on the other benefits of salary transparency (the above paragraphs were taken from that article).

Is Salary Transparency More Than A Trend_
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Recruit from Identity Specific Job Boards

There are countless job boards geared at specific identity groups ranging from disability to queer folks and more. Part of the projected hiring budget should include reserving money to use these job boards. The list below is relatively comprehensive and includes the cost for use. Note, it does use the term "Minority" to refer to people of color, despite POC being the global majority.

Download PDF • 57KB

Additionally, you can reach out to Historically Black Universities (HBUs) to share listings. LinkedIn is also rich in professional identity groups which can be valuable places to share information.

Diversity LinkedIn Groups.docx
Download PDF • 50KB

Audit Your Job Listing

Is there bias in your job listing? Do you actually need someone to lift 50 lbs, or is that rooted in ableism? Do they actually need a drivers license or is any form of reliable transport acceptable? (low income applicants who may not be able to afford the overhead of a car may be able to reliably get to work with public transit)

A candidate’s first interaction with employers is often through a job post that includes the job description and responsibilities. Without examining potential unconscious biases, job postings can include language that might deter a certain pool of candidates from applying, thus reducing the diversity of candidates (Collier and Zhang, 2016).

In many cases, education requirements are needlessly stringent and amplify the cultural and institutional barriers faced by many oppressed groups. Over asking hurts some groups more than others. Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them (Hewlett Packard). This study was used as a rallying cry for women to "be more confident!" Yet, what held them back from applying was not a mistaken perception about themselves, but a mistaken perception about the hiring process. Rather than put the onus on women, or any group, to apply for jobs that that may be over asking, really audit your job listing to see what is truly essential to someone being successful in it. Your job descriptions should match reality. You'll get more applicants, ones who may have been needlessly discouraged from applying otherwise.

Reducing biased language will be to your organization's benefit.

ReduceBias_UsingDifferentWordsinJobDescrip - Cornell
Download PDF • 405KB

Ask if You're Looking for a "Culture Fit" or "Culture Add"

What most people really mean when they say someone is a good fit culturally is that they are someone they’d like to have a beer with. But people with all sorts of personalities can be great at the job you need done. This misguided hiring strategy can also contribute to a company’s lack of diversity, since very often the people we enjoy hanging out with have backgrounds much like our own. - Patty McCord


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