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Picking the Right Fit: Evaluating an Organization’s Commitment to DEI

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Written by

Ashley Mudd

Published

06/08/22

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In recent years, companies of all sizes have released statements about their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Yet for many, their work hasn’t extended beyond their statements and memos. As a job seeker, how can you decipher if the organizations you are considering are actually committed to creating an equitable and inclusive environment?

Here are tips on how you can evaluate potential companies before and during the application process:

Before submitting an application, do your research.

  • Look up the organization’s leadership team on their website or on their LinkedIn page. From what you can gather, does the team seem diverse or homogeneous? Not all diversity is visible but observing the make-up of a leadership team can provide you with one sense of how diverse the company is. Additionally, research by McKinsey & Company shows that companies with a more ethnically diverse leadership team and a greater proportion of women financially outperform other companies.

  • Research what the current and past employee sentiment about the company is. You can do this by researching the company on public forums and by looking up LinkedIn profiles of current and past employees. The goal is to identify trends in sentiment. One or two negative remarks may only reflect individual situations but consistent negative comments can be a red flag.

  • Check out the company’s social media pages for the types of content they post and the images they use. Do the images represent diverse stakeholders? What language is used to describe the company? Does what they post on social media align with any core values they have ascribed to?

  • Finally, read the job description carefully. Look for language that will tell you what to expect in the work environment. Be wary of gendered or agist language describing expectations or candidate requirements.

If you are offered an interview, go into the interview process with the mindset that you are both evaluating if this is a good fit.

Be prepared to ask them questions and make notes of the types of questions you are asked:

  • You should never be asked interview questions about your age, your health, your religion, your marital status, or about your children, your intention to have children, or childcare arrangements.
  • Questions that you can ask include:

How do you operationalize your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion? (If you discovered a public DEI commitment statement in your research, ask what specific accomplishments they have had since releasing that statement.)

  • What Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are available to team members?
  • Request a copy of the employee benefits and the policy manual. This will allow you to determine the organization’s commitment to equity by understanding what their office holiday policy is, who parental leave is offered to and how accessible it is, what type of leave is offered, etc.

Making Your Decisions

The application process is just as much a learning opportunity for you as it is for the company. When making a decision, take what you have discovered to determine if the company’s DEI commitment aligns with your personal values. Most organizations are on a journey to create a more equitable environment. It’s okay to accept an offer in an organization that is still growing as long as it aligns with your values and you are confident that the company is making tangible progress towards providing a more equitable and inclusive environment.