March 12, 2021
March 23, 2021
Guest blog by our partners at RemoteWoman
We still have major gaps in the workplace for women and professionals of color today. Recent movements like #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter have captured the much-needed attention of the world.
That means these leaders must ensure your organization implements more inclusive hiring processes for all candidates — including and especially those in underrepresented groups.
Only when these stakeholders prioritize enhancements to your recruiting processes can your business realize a more inclusive culture that “levels the playing field” for all employees.
A lot of companies grow their organizations through internal referrals – i.e. asking existing employees to refer people they’ve worked or can vouch for. For hiring teams, it can be easier than making the effort to proactively reach out and find candidates. However, this process tends to benefit some and disproportionately hurts women and professionals of color.
This is particularly true in the technology industry where many initial executives and employees skew towards being straight white men. And, to be blunt, most white men know other white men. This isn’t a judgment — it’s simply the truth.
The best way to build a diverse pipeline is to either reach out to candidates on Linkedin or post your jobs to job boards focused on diverse backgrounds. Platforms like RemoteWoman, RemotePOC, PowerToFly, and JopWell can help you reach large audiences.
Some companies still have words like ‘ninja’, ‘guru’, ‘double agent’ and other masculine terms in their job title. I’ll put it bluntly—it’s time to stop this immediately. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Everything from job titles, summary descriptions, qualification requirements, masculine verbiage and more can turn off potential applicants.
One giant problem is that, while men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, women will apply only when they meet 100% of them. This Harvard study showed that women can have the same qualifications, but under-apply at a much higher rate. Companies looking to attract more women can start to access how they think about requirements.
For example, instead of listing all qualifications, you can have a section called “minimum qualifications” and one called “nice-to-haves.” Or, simply just describe what the job entails and encourage everyone to apply. Many companies will include language specifically stating that they welcome candidates to apply even if they’re unsure whether they fit all criteria.
It turns out that we all have unconscious biases when hiring. In a blind hiring process, the idea is to remove identifiable characteristics from a resume that are unrelated to job or experience needed for success (gender, race, education level, age, etc.).
This has been advocated for over 50 years and is an attempt to increase diversity through bias reduction. Blind hiring helps us ignore some of the initial preconceived notions and pushes us to focus on the applicant’s specific qualifications and skills.
Some HR professionals will export their candidate information into Google sheets and hide certain columns that included their name. As well, you could have pre-screen questions or challenges that candidates must complete before reviewing their resume. This allows you to read their responses without demographic information.
Some companies just talk about diversity, inclusion, and belonging. It’s another thing to make the change internally and have it permeate the office. At the same time, it’s a long road that will take time, internal commitment, real investment, and executive buy-in.
Successful companies have built internal committees with passionate employees and created systems to have them provide transparent and actionable feedback on ways to improve the organization.
Ultimately, if the company is not taking diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) seriously, word will spread internally and you’ll see more diverse attrition (and a worsening employer brand). And, once it gets out, this negative press will keep qualified applicants, including those from diverse groups. from accepting job offers.
Inclusive hiring practices aren’t established overnight. They take time to ideate and implement. But, once your org does have them in place, you’ll not only realize a more diverse workforce, but also one that’s accepting of and empowers women and professionals of color, in particular.