“Ok, so how do you know if a company actually cares about diversity and inclusion?”
This is a question I get all the time as an interview and job search coach. Everything can seem great during the interview process, only to join a company and find out that a lot of companies’ diversity and inclusion efforts are performative, more than anything.
I prioritize working with women of color in my business, and being one myself in the tech space, there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’ve been duped or sold a great culture, to later find out that it’s not great for you. Here's what to look out for to ensure you’re stepping into an inclusive office that will support you and your career.
Check careers pages to see if the companies you’re interviewing with provide mental health benefits to their employees (paid therapy, a 24/7 Employee Assistance Program, etc.). Search posts on LinkedIn that tag the company as well. Are their employees posting about being able to go on sabbatical or parental leave and be welcomed back with open arms? If so, that’s a big, wonderful green flag to you as a potential employee.
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) can be extremely helpful to underrepresented employees — when they’re used correctly. From what you can tell, are people proud to be members of their ERGs, or do they seem burnt out? This one can be tricky to learn about beforehand, but if one of your interviewers is a member of one, don’t be afraid to ask about the kind of programming they have, how their executives interact with them (each ERG typically has an executive sponsor), and how they’re perceived within the larger organization. Healthy ERGs typically create a feeling of community, a safe space to talk about issues in the workplace, and help its members feel more included and less alone at work.
And on their board! A company that thoughtfully builds a diverse executive team is going to be more likely to consider underrepresented groups when making company-wide decisions. Chances are, those decisions will be more inclusive because of it.
The most important green flag, above all, is your own judgment and feeling about how a company treats you. Pay attention to how you feel during the interview process, during your interviews and in your interactions with the recruiter. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions about diversity and inclusion in your interview process, as well. Your recruiter should definitely be comfortable answering these, as well as your hiring manager. They are, after all, your future boss! If they’re not equipped to answer simple questions about how they can make you successful, how will they handle more complex issues? It may be a sign for you to look elsewhere.
Good luck, and keep those standards high. It’s still a candidate’s market, and we should be using this opportunity to ask for everything we want, including an inclusive and open work environment (which should be the bare minimum, really).
This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.
Marjorie Kalomeris is the Founder of MK Career Coaching, an interview and career coaching consultancy for women in tech. Marjorie is a Senior Recruiter in the tech space and has recruited at several hyper-growth tech companies like LinkedIn and HubSpot. She has lived in Ireland and the Netherlands and is currently based in NYC. Sign up for her new LinkedIn newsletter, Ask a Recruiter, here.