DE&I Starts Here: 3 Ways to Improve Inclusivity in Hiring

Diversity, equity, and inclusion: These three words are everywhere—in job postings, company websites, employee handbooks, and more. And while they may be written down, they’re often overlooked or, worse, forgotten.

Before we start, I want to clarify the definition of DE&I. Benevity released a podcast episode that breaks down the key differences between each term (check out 0:45-2:55). Here’s an excerpt:

“Diversity is the presence of differences within a given setting like race or gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality, or sexual orientation. Inclusion addresses people with different identities feeling or being valued within a given setting. Equity is the approach to ensure that everybody has access to the same opportunity.”

-  Janelle St. Omer
VP of Impact & Inclusion
When it comes to hiring, diversity, equity, and inclusion must be considered at every decision point. Effective DE&I practices within talent acquisition promote innovation, productivity, and varied skill sets across teams. They contribute to the overall success of an organization by enabling individuals to show up as their genuine selves and, as a result, deliver their best work.

In addition, a study conducted by Deloitte in 2017 showed that organizations prioritizing diversity and inclusivity of candidates in their hiring practices could achieve up to 30% greater revenue. 30%! But despite the benefits, many employers struggle to commit to developing and upholding hiring practices that keep DE&I top of mind. Why?

What We’re Doing

One of Outshine’s guiding values is taking action—we don’t do things simply because they’ve always been done a certain way. We strive to be an industry leader and pave the path for our clients and partners. DE&I in hiring is no exception.

Our process is iterative and ever-changing as we continue to grow our team and adjust to the economic and social climate. That said, we’re not going to pretend like we’ve got it all figured out. We haven’t mastered diversity, equity, and inclusion in hiring, or at the organizational level. This stuff takes a ton of thought, time, and careful consideration. We’re in the early stages and recognize that this is just the beginning.

So, how has Outshine emphasized DE&I throughout the hiring process?

We’ve adapted our hiring practices with the intention of enriching our team with diverse perspectives, creating an inclusive culture where everyone feels valued, and providing an environment where many different kinds of people can thrive.

The following article will walk you through some of these changes, such as:

· Including salary ranges in all job postings to challenge pay disparities
· Anonymizing job applications to mitigate unconscious biases
· Prioritizing inclusive role requirements

We Include Salary Ranges On All Job Postings.

Minimizing bias throughout recruitment and hiring has been top of mind for many organizations, particularly over the past several years. Intentional or not, bias can creep into decision-making processes. Privilege, upbringings, and mental shortcuts all lead to stereotyping and prejudice. This, in turn, often results in the underrepresentation and under-compensation of minority groups in the workplace, or worse, racism, sexism, homophobia, and more.

According to The Canadian Women’s Foundation, minorities, including women, continue to earn far less than their counterparts for similar roles. It could take upwards of 250 years before achieving true pay equity if organizations don’t take action now (2022).

Without clear communication, candidates are left to make assumptions surrounding salary bands and compensation packages. Some applicants end up going through several rounds of negotiations with hiring teams, unaware of the earning potential. If pay transparency isn’t prioritized, physical and assumed characteristics can play a part in how team members are rewarded in the same or similar roles.

Our Approach

On January 15, 2022, it was announced that employers operating in New York City would be required to include salary ranges on all live job postings by the end of the year. While this change hasn’t yet been mandated in Canada, many of our clients operate in the US tech market, and we consider ourselves extensions of their teams. As a result, we are glad to have been early adopters.

Job postings with salary ranges can see up to 90% more applicants.

- CBC, May 2022
In the Fall of 2021, Outshine began including salary ranges on all open job postings. Our objective was to promote pay transparency for current and potential team members, as well as to ensure each candidate was brought through an equitable and fair hiring experience.

Now when an individual comes across a role opening, they can identify potential earnings ahead of applying and, if invited to an interview, are on the same playing field as everyone else. We are held accountable to a specific range on which to base proposed compensation.

We would be lying if we said this hadn’t been a challenge. Solidifying our salary bands required substantial work internally. We had to ensure pay equity across the entire team, not only those that joined us moving forward. However, we already see the benefits. We’ve maintained trust across the team and have attracted a diverse candidate pool.

Our takeaway? Transparency is key.

We Anonymize Job Applications.

Minimizing bias throughout the initial screening process provides an abundance of long-term organizational and societal benefits. It ensures that many different kinds of people are given a chance and workforces more accurately represent the communities we live and work in. Individuals are valued for their skills and experience, not physical or assumed characteristics.

In most organizations, when candidates apply to an open role, they’re asked to include a resume and, often, a cover letter. Their names, emails, locations, and sometimes even photos become accessible to whoever is responsible for the hiring process. Those involved can often deduce personally identifiable information, such as ethnicity, race, and gender. This opens the door for bias, whether intentional or unconscious.

Our Approach

One of our long-term goals is to build ‘Outshine 100’—100 team members within the next five years. As we work towards this target, equitable screening processes are more important than ever and play a significant role in our becoming a truly diverse organization.

In the first half of 2022, we adopted and implemented Workable, an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)*, as a part of our recruitment and hiring tech stack. The platform has several functionalities designed to address DE&I, including the anonymization of job applications.

“Anonymized screening encourages an inclusive hiring process by mitigating unconscious bias from the start. Workable’s native anonymized screening feature hides identifying candidate information from the sourced and applied stages of the hiring process”

- Workable
Now when individuals apply to one of our open positions, their name, email, and photo are automatically hidden. A reviewer then determines whether a candidate is invited to an interview based solely on their skills and experience. As a result, the potential for any prejudice or preference is drastically reduced. We can view their personal details only once we’ve sent an email to the candidate asking them to meet.

This overarching strategy isn’t new. We’ve been anonymizing job applications for a couple of years now. Believe it or not, our initial process involved printing applications and physically crossing out any identifiable information before handing them off to the hiring committee. However, this proved extremely difficult when we began seeing applications in the hundreds (and was far from environmentally friendly). It also didn’t fully minimize bias potential, as at least one team member would have been privy to the names of all candidates. This platform has already helped us scale while ensuring we don’t compromise the DE&I efforts of our hiring processes.
(Screenshot taken from our job posting settings within the Workable platform.)

*Workable best suited our needs at Outshine; however, there are numerous applicant tracking systems on the market, including Greenhouse, Breezy HR, Lever, and Pinpoint.

We Have Inclusive Job Requirements.

There are many barriers to postsecondary education—socioeconomic status being one of the most prominent. Not all candidates have had the opportunity to attend academic institutions. As a result, continued education looks different for everyone.

For many roles, you don’t need to have gone to university or college to develop applicable skills, especially in the tech industry. Individuals can tap into an array of online, (sometimes) free resources to enhance their skill sets. Many would also argue that technical expertise is best developed through hands-on work experience. However, some assume those without a postsecondary diploma lack the drive or desire to learn.

We still see many advertised positions requiring some form of degree. The outcome? Individuals who have worked hard to overcome obstacles are put at yet another disadvantage.

I recently attended Lattice’s Resources for Humans Virtual Conference and heard from several People and Culture leaders, including Queen Denchukwu, the Head of Diversity & Inclusion at LucasFilm. She highlighted research indicating postsecondary education attendance was more associated with socioeconomic status than ambition or interest.

Our Approach

At Outshine, we strive to attract, hire, and retain the most driven talent. This includes candidates who have been able to hone and develop the skills we’re looking for, regardless of their path getting there. As a result, we’ve chosen to remove all postsecondary requirements from our job postings. Now, our desired qualifications include skills, competencies, and characteristics that directly impact the individual’s ability to fulfill the role.

By describing the type of candidate we’re looking for, we’ve also been able to attract a growing number of women. Research shows that women often only apply for roles where they meet most (or all) of the required skills or experiences. By highlighting the characteristics of the kind of people who are successful at Outshine, we’ve been able to help women see themselves as part of the team more easily and encourage their applications.

Here’s an excerpt from our Associate, Advertising job posting:
Outshine O Icon

About You

To be the best fit for this role, you’re:

  • Detail-Oriented: Hyper-focused on the details and their impact on the bigger picture
  • Proactive: You prioritize forward momentum on projects and in your own development
  • Analytical: You exhibit a probing mind and draw insights from data
  • Growth-Driven: You believe talent and performance can be developed through effort and persistence
  • Efficient: You produce significant output, avoiding wasted effort where possible
  • Honest & Ethical: You don’t cut corners; you do what is right, not convenient
  • Driven: You expect personal & team performance to be nothing short of the best

Additional Requirements

  • 3+ years experience in digital advertising and measurement platforms, including Google Ads, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google Analytics
  • Experience managing complex projects and fostering relationships with stakeholders
  • Experience in B2B or SaaS marketing is an asset
  • Experience in an advertising or marketing agency is an asset
  • Knowledgeable in modern CRM/marketing automation tools is also an asset, such as Marketo, Salesforce, etc.

We’re Still Working

We know this list isn’t comprehensive and only touches the surface of the many changes we’re making to our business practices. We acknowledge and embrace our responsibility to implement changes regarding DE&I, not only in hiring but in all aspects of our organization. While I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of some of this change over the past year, many of these decisions were driven by years of research and careful consideration. Outshine’s People & Culture team is dedicated to long-term change on the DE&I front, which isn’t going to happen overnight. We’re constantly learning, adapting, and transforming our practices. We’d love to hear what you’ve been focusing on. What initiatives has your organization implemented to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace? Drop us a comment below!


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