I came across a very interesting read on Employee Benefit News titled “Not investing in DEI? That decision could cost your company”. It’s worth checking out. We continue to hear that organizations are quick to make statements supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) but are slow when it comes to implementing change.
One area that organizations should be talking about when it comes to DEI is the recruiting process. Specifically, how to write a more inclusive job posting. Because if we can create a more inclusive hiring process then we can move toward a more inclusive workplace.
To help us understand more about writing inclusive job postings, I reached out to Katrina Kibben, chief executive officer and founder of Three Ears Media, a consultancy focused on helping organizations write great job postings. I love Katrina’s focus on developing better job postings. There are many aspects of the hiring process that we don’t have control over but the one we do have control over is how we ask people to consider working for us (i.e., how to communicate the job opening).
Ageism Continues to Creep Into Hiring
The first time I ever experienced ageism was during a panel interview. I was one of the interviewers sitting in that big conference room after the conversation. We had three candidates to discuss. The other interviewers on the panel didn’t explicitly say they wanted a young candidate. They didn’t say that the other candidate in question was too old or too experienced either.
Instead, they said they wanted someone they could “mold.” They needed a candidate that was “teachable.” “We don’t need experience,” the manager kept emphasizing. I looked around curiously. While the other candidate was clearly more qualified than this young person with zero experience, it felt like the manager was hinting in every way that we should hire the younger candidate.
Coming Out at Work
I'm going to tell them that I’m gay, thought Jeff Nally, SHRM-SCP, as he neared the final step in the hiring process for a job he really wanted. It was 2002, and Nally had been working in human resources for about a decade when he applied to be the director of HR for one of the largest air filter manufacturing companies in the world. The company was based in the Midwest, with locations across rural America, and exhibited what Nally considered to be a conservative culture.
As Nally had proceeded through several rounds of interviews and assessments, he hadn’t received any signals that he would be welcomed as a gay man, but he hadn’t gotten any indications that he would be discriminated against, either. Now the job was his, conditional upon an informal meeting with the president of the company, to be had over breakfast at a local diner.
On Saturday night, an attacker at Colorado Spring's Club Q killed five people and injured 17. While we all hope and pray that no violent person shows up at our businesses or businesses we patronize, if it can happen there, it can happen wherever you are.
This wasn't a traditional workplace attack, as the alleged perpetrator wasn't an employee or a former employee, but the mass shooter killed people at work and people at play.
Just what should you do in response to this tragedy?
Katrina Kibben (they/them), CEO and founder of Three Ears Media, says leaders need to speak up.
Hiring Managers Are Not Hiring Experts
Funny story. Recently, a friend of mine wanted to tack on a side hustle and give grocery delivery a try. They got their first order and they were like a kid on Christmas. So excited! They go to the store, list on their phone, ready to go.
Halfway through, the cart is starting to fill up. Feeling good. In the freezer section, there were a few items that had to be replaced. But in the process of requesting the replacement, boom. Phone crashes.
One of my friends is trans. He transitioned over a year ago. He’s the top salesperson in his entire recruiting agency; yet he gets dead-named every single week during team reporting. (Deadnaming is when one refers to a transgender or non-binary individual by a name they used prior to transitioning, like their birth name.) Why? Because he hasn’t legally changed his name.
The reason? Because his name has not been changed legally, they won’t change his name in their system at work.
I help companies write better job posts for a living. Here's how your business can improve its listings and attract a wider pool of talented candidates.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Katrina Kibben, founder and CEO of Three Ears Media, a copywriting firm that teaches recruiters how to write better job posts. It has been edited for length and clarity.
My company does copywriting for recruiting. We teach recruiters to write, specifically job posts. I am getting more calls than ever from employers realizing how fundamental a job post is and that they need to know how to write one.
Job postings can reveal signs of trouble ahead with a potential employer or role. Experts break down the red flags that candidates should look for in job ads.
"When people ask me if they should include salary in a job post, I ask them, "Have you ever taken a job without knowing how much money you would make first?'" said Katrina Kibben, a job post consultant and founder of Three Ears Media. "It's just basic human choice. We would never accept a job without knowing how much money we'd get in it. We cannot make a decision without that core information."
So when a company dances around the subject or makes no mention of it at all, it's worth noting.
If you’re struggling to get qualified applicants to apply to open roles, your job postings are probably to blame.
“Job seekers deserve someone to sit down and write 250 words that tell you exactly what they’re looking for,” said Katrina Kibben, founder and CEO of recruiting and bias training platform Three Ears Media, at the annual HR Transform conference on Monday in Las Vegas. “Every time we put an ask out there, there’s someone with a dream on the other side and they deserve to be seen.”
Employees want to be able to visualize the job they’re being asked to do and clearly understand the expectations of the role if they plan to put in the work to make a career leap, Kibben says. However, job postings are typically too long, convoluted and filled with “lies and cliches,” they say.
"Job seeking tests our endurance; it tests our hope," Katrina Kibben, CEO of Three Ears Media and a recognized expert in writing effective job posts, told attendees Aug. 23 at the SHRM Talent Conference & Expo 2021 in Las Vegas.
"The job posting is the first instance in the job search that you as a recruiter can offer opportunity to someone else," they said. "You can be the person who prevents bias from creeping into a moment when a person is at their most vulnerable—because the job search is inherently vulnerable, and everyone will experience bias at some point looking for a job."
Three Ears Media