At MAYA, we are constantly evolving and adjusting our organization to make it more equitable. Everyone on our team plays a role in building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. Over the last six months, we have added two new positions and so hiring has been on our minds a lot. Let’s be honest, hiring is a lot of work for both the company and the candidates. So often, processes are built to be quick and take shortcuts, but those shortcuts lead to a lack of equity. In rethinking our hiring practices, MAYA made some small and big changes to help strengthen our own hiring practices.
- Updated and moved our commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace to the top of job description. It seems like semantics, but we often see commitment statements at the bottom of a job description along with other generic statements. A diverse and inclusive workplace is a top-of-mind journey at MAYA and so we wanted it at the top of the job description. Our statement is also long and we hope it keeps getting longer. We have always had gender identity in our statement, but also added gender expression to ensure we captured more individuals. We also added length of time spent unemployed in the hopes of attracting people who took time off from work or are having a difficult time finding their next job.
- Reflected on and then changed our experience and education requirements. Much of our work is in the education space, so we obviously have an appreciation and admiration for someone’s educational background. But ultimately, we found ourselves asking if we would hire a candidate who did not meet certain educational or experience criteria. The answer was often an enthusiastic “yes!” So we opted to take out much of our educational and experience qualifications and only left what was core to the job. We also encourage candidates to apply even if they do not meet those qualifications. A convincing cover letter demonstrating a passion for equity, education, and changing the world can go a long way.
- Screen resumes based on potential and not experience. We recognize that being selected for a job based on potential instead of experience is a bias that favors white male candidates. So we review resumes based on potential instead of just experience. Our goal is to consider if a candidate’s experience could lead to success in a job at MAYA, even if the experience is not exactly what we had in mind for the role. In practice, this means we may conduct a large number of first round interviews to get a better idea of a candidate who could be the right fit. For a small business with no dedicated human resource staff, this can be a big time commitment, but is a worthwhile investment to find the best candidate.
- Talk about what life at MAYA is like and what we strive to be. Building MAYA’s culture is a collaborative effort across all team members. We work to use an integrative decision making process to help shape our culture and operating system. If a process seems like it could be more equitable, we work to make it so. But we recognize this kind of evolving, ever changing organization is not for everyone and we definitely do things that are a little different than a lot of companies. We wanted to get that out in the open and be as transparent as possible, so we highlighted three things in our job postings that we want candidates to know about upfront.
- We believe that a salary should not be based on a person’s ability to negotiate. As such, we strive to pay an industry leading base salary, include the salary in the job posting, and are not willing to negotiate it. Team members are given a clear career framework that describes how to grow in their positions, which corresponds with salary increases.
- We observe holidays that we, as a team, believe are important and must be celebrated. We specifically call out Juneteenth, Indigenous People’s Day, and Election Day. We hope that these become national holidays.
- Much of our work is rooted in our diversity, equity, and inclusion philosophy. As part of this work, we often discuss how to tear down systems of oppression and white supremacy culture. We work to recognize our own privilege and how to commit to being antiracist. We believe Black Lives Matter. And we have no tolerance for hate in our company. All of these things are a core part of doing our day-to-day work, and so it’s important job candidates know this upfront. We welcome candidates that align with our beliefs!
The MAYA team is proud of the small progress we have made in our hiring practices, but we recognize that this is not a box we can simply check. Before every new round of hiring, we will continue to look back and reflect on past processes and how we can do better. If you’re interested in learning more about our hiring practices, definitely reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For independent learning about creating more inclusive hiring practices, I recommend Karen Catlin’s The Better Allies Approach to Hiring as I have learned a ton from her books and newsletters.