Tag Archives: hiring

Requiring formal education as a default is an inequitable hiring practice we need to end

barn-owl-1208035_960_720Recently, I’ve been seeing more and more job postings list the salary range. This is awesome. As awesome as the Netflix series “Stranger Things,” which I binge-watched in three days in lieu of sleeping. As I mentioned, not listing salary is inequitable, punishing women and people of color and wasting everyone’s time; and the corollary practice of asking for salary history is as evil and gross as the monster in “Stranger Things” and also must be destroyed.

But now, we also need to focus on another pervasive and inequitable hiring practice: our default of requiring a formal degree for practically every job in our sector. If you look at job postings, you’ll likely see language like “Bachelor’s degree in related field required” or “Bachelor’s required, Master’s preferred.” Even for entry-level positions. This mention of a formal degree in job postings is so ingrained in all of us that it is seen as normal, and we don’t even stop to think about it. It’s kind of like having a veggie platter at a party; it doesn’t matter how many people will actually eat the celery sticks and raw cauliflower florets—basically three people—we must have the giant veggie platter!

If we want to create a just society, we have to be more thoughtful of our hiring practices, because this formal education requirement hurts real people and perpetuates the inequity that all of us are fighting against. Here are a few reasons why: Continue reading

Hey, can we be a little nicer to job applicants and stop treating them like crap?

red-panda-1194504_960_720Hi everyone. I am in Washington DC giving a keynote at the Nonprofit Talent and Culture Summit on the importance of our sector’s investment in our most valuable resource: Sticky dots. No, just kidding: our professionals. So this post may be kind of hastily written, since I must find and put pictures of cute baby animals on my PowerPoint deck. (An entire post will be written later on the strategic deployment of cute baby animal pictures).

Today, I want to talk about being nice to job applicants. After doing lots of hiring, talking to friends who are applying for jobs, and having applied to jobs before (#OxfordCommaForever!), I realize just how demoralizing it can be out there for job candidates. A colleague told me he had three interviews with a panel of grumpy-ass people, got berated for asking a question “out of turn,” and didn’t hear from them for weeks. This was for a half-time entry-level position. WTF.

There are tons of tips out there for job applicants about how to stand out and improve their chances of securing that dream job. Today, let’s bring some balance. We in the nonprofit sector pride ourselves on equity, community, and social justice. And yet we still have some terrible habits that we need to break. For some reason, probably because of the power dynamics between employers and job applicants, otherwise-awesome organizations sometimes treat candidates like crap, like “others” instead of potential partners in our shared quest to create a better world. This often mirrors the injustice we nonprofits feel when treated like “others” by funders due to the power dynamics in funding. Continue reading

Our hiring practices are inequitable and need to change

Hi everyone, I just returned from giving a keynote speech in at the Chatham-Kent Nonprofit Network‘s annual conference (in Ontario Canada) called “We Are Unicorns: Why Nonprofit Peeps are Awesome, Magnificent, and Downright Sexy.” It was an easy speech to give, since we are all those things, and our sector is kicking some serious butts. Just look at this article in Forbes that says we are more “poised for the future than either business or government.” And this report that shows we have been growing jobs at a rate of 2.1% while businesses have been losing them at a rate .06%. In light of this, I recommend we all go home early today and bake some unicorn-shaped cookies to celebrate.

However, since we are adding so many jobs, we need to now focus more attention on our hiring practices, which, unfortunately, are often medieval, short-term-focused, and inequitable. We have been relying heavily on the for-profit world’s hiring model, which has not been aligned with our sector-wide values of equity and community. It leaves out too many good people, and it is time that we as a field examine and change how we hire people. Here are some weaknesses of the hiring process for us all to reflect upon while we eat our unicorn cookies: Continue reading