This article is from Anna Brozek (@anna in the chatroom) and it originally appeared on Medium.
Hiring, in general, is full of hidden biases. Then consider that I’m a white CIS woman that lives in Salt Lake City, Utah — not exactly a vision of diversity. I’ve got a rolodex problem. I know that posting this job opening on my Twitter feed so that my local friends can pass it around and retweet won’t exactly get me a pool of candidates that varies much from myself or the make-up of the greater Salt Lake area.
I’m not saying I don’t want women like me to apply. I’m not saying I don’t want Salt Lake locals to apply.
But I do want more than that. Our users want more than that.
Big Cartel is home to over 600,000 stores, and there is no doubt that these artists using our service are men, women, trans-folk, rich, poor, and people of all different backgrounds, colors, religions, sexual orientations, and circumstances. I want our team to better reflect the users we help every day. So I’m not dipping into my rolodex this time.
Changing my own process
Knowing that I want this job to particularly appeal to traditionally marginalized groups, I took some great care in crafting the job posting itself. I was clear about what tasks we do in Customer Support. I outlined our generous benefits, highlighting key perks that, I think, help indicate that Big Cartel is a considerate company to work for. I was also very honest about looking for diverse candidates and acknowledging that there’s a serious lack of diversity in the tech industry.
But that lovingly crafted job post sitting on our Big Cartel site obviously wasn’t going to do much for magically attracting new candidates to apply. I had to do some pointed outreach that was outside our traditional job posting circle.
I did some research and began posting on job boards at historically black colleges and universities, I posted on job boards at colleges that have greater hispanic and native american student bodies. I researched which cities in the US are the most diverse, have high numbers of blacks, hispanics, asians, and native americans — and I posted Craigslist ads in those cities. I always feel weird about stating what the pay is, I don’t know why, but for these specific job postings I was up front about the salary. No sense in wasting anyone’s time if the compensation isn’t going to work for the applicant — and I truly want this to be a transparent process through and through.
It’s all a bit tedious, and I’m not done, but I am determined.
The next phase
It already feels like waiting for water to boil, and I only started posting this job yesterday.
While I wait, I’m working on a better selection and interview process to help eliminate of my own hidden biases. I plan to follow up with all applicants after the job is filled, letting everyone know a little more about how I came to my decision. Hopefully offering some insight for future applications on their job hunt.
I’m sure there’s more I can be doing, and once I know what it is — I will.