Searching For Your Next Role? Here’s How to Vet Employers

In today’s job market, it’s not enough for companies to simply boast about their inclusive hiring practices and diverse workplaces. Oftentimes, when employees from minority groups arrive for their first day, they’ll find that less is being done to address the lack of inclusion, equity, and belonging. Finding the right fit can be a full-time job in and of itself, which exacerbates the employment gap even further. If you’re searching for a new role, there’s a lot to consider and TalentDiverse is here to help you learn how to vet employers.

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Photographer: Christina @ wocintechchat.com | Source: Unsplash

Let’s start with some facts.

The state of Germany on D&I

A 2020 Dealroom.co report found that more than 78,000 people are employed in Berlin startups, a 32% increase from two years previous. As the fastest-growing job-creating sector, the city's tech scene continues to attract top talent from abroad captivated by the city's innovative startups. It, therefore, is hard sometimes to assess, how much of a great fit a company is for many prospective employees.

This isn’t just a Berlin-specific issue—it’s a Germany-wide problem. A 2019 report by the country’s Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency found that racism in the workplace is higher than the EU average. For example, the level of discrimination experienced by Black people in Germany is 14%, while it is 9% across the bloc. People with “foreign-sounding names'' are 24% less likely to be called in for an interview than those with German names. In a qualitative study on Islamophobia in the labour market, an agency found that “persons who follow the Islamic faith encounter interpersonal and structural discrimination,” a situation that is the most dire for women who wear headscarves.

So how can you vet a company before going through the grueling hiring process and eventually signing a contract? Here are a few things to consider.

1. Use Search Features or Specialty Job Boards

Photographer: Christina @ wocintechchat.com | Source: Unsplash

If you’re looking for your next role on a job board like LinkedIn or Indeed, consider using the search feature to narrow down your options. If you type in “diversity,” the list of jobs postings that come up will often include companies with a specific inclusion and diversity tagline. While a single sentence won’t tell you everything you need to know, this is one of the easier ways to start getting to know a business. You can also try other search terms like “Black,” “Indigenous,” “People of Color” and “LGBTQ+.”

So you’ve tried out the big whigs. What’s next? Specialty job boards like TalentDiverse are built to help connect diverse talent with inclusive employers. Companies with a specific mandate for onboarding employees from different communities will post their career opportunities here. This is also a great way to find a smaller employer that is doing meaningful work but gets lost in the endless search results of major job boards.

2. Read Online Reviews

Photographer: Christina @ wocintechchat.com | Source: Unsplash

For those who have had negative experiences during the interview process or over the course of their employment, there’s a strong chance they’ll air their grievances on Glassdoor, Indeed, or another website. If you’re job searching, this is a great way to review feedback on what it’s like to actually work there. You can access information on everything from salaries, management, atmosphere to advancement opportunities. Not only this, but you can read insight into how an organisation treats its employees, especially those who are marginalized.

3. Check Out the Company’s Social Media

Photographer: bruce mars | Source: Unsplash

It’s happened before. A higher up takes the reins of social media, tweets something problematic and an online firestorm erupts. If there is evidence of something like this happening, it’s usually a good indication that a company has issues with its leadership, which can trickle down and affect your job satisfaction. Long story short—you don’t want to be around to find out.

Perusing the way a company uses its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts is a great way to gather insight into how it operates. It’s not uncommon to find that a business is ready to change its profile picture for Black History Month or Pride Month. But that doesn’t make it a safe place to work. There is a ton of performativity online when it comes to how a brand represents itself.

It’s important to ask: Does the company in question tweet about diversity and inclusion initiatives throughout the year or just when it’s expected to? A thorough commitment to anti-oppression in the workplace has to be full-time. Anything less is a nonstarter.

4. Check Out Company Demographics and Inclusivity Policies

Photographer: Sharon McCutcheon | Source: Unsplash

Organisations small and large publish annual reports or statistical information on demographics. This is a great resource to help you learn what to expect in the workplace. For example, N26's diversity and inclusion landing page state that the company’s CFO is a woman, that women make up 37% of the company and that its staff come from more than 80 nationalities. With specific headings reading "LGBTQIA+," "Ethnically Diverse" and "Womxn," the company paints a clear portrait of its vision for creating a workplace where everyone not only feels safe but celebrated. If a company does not have such a page, you can also review a staff page or LinkedIn profiles. If you find that there are little to no diversity in leadership, chances are the same can be said for the company as a whole.

5. Check Out Media Coverage

Photographer: Roman Kraft | Source: Unsplash

It’s no secret—no one wants bad press. But it might exist for your prospective employer. Try using Google’s “News” search feature to see if the company you’re interested in has been featured in the media. You’d be surprised what you can find. Sometimes an organisation with good intentions may be having the opposite effect or there’s a lot more to the picture when it comes to the word on the street. Other times, you’ll learn about the positive work or contributions of an employer to different communities. As well, businesses receive awards or other acknowledgments for their commitment to inclusion and diversity. It’s always a good idea to read up and get to know who you’re sending off your resume to.

6. Check Out Company Values

Photographer: Ian Schneider | Source: Unsplash

Company values are the defining principles, guidelines, and beliefs that shape an organisation's vision and culture. Examples include loyalty, trust, honesty, accountability, integrity, leadership, diversity, innovation, quality and simplicity. These values can help you determine what an employer stands for and if you have a shared sense of purpose. Aligning with an anti-oppressive agenda is a great place to start but it’s a good idea to research how these company values manifest in practice so they're more than empty words. Supplementary evidence can include key performance indicators and direct action, providing you with the full scope of what’s going on behind the scenes.

7. Check Out Company Rewards

Photographer: Edgar Soto | Source: Unsplash

The world is constantly changing as are the needs of staff. What worked 10, 20, 30 or more years ago isn’t necessarily what works now. The rewards and benefits that come with a job can vary greatly from company to company. Before you begin your application, consider what exactly you’re looking for beyond a salary. This will also give you a better sense of what an employer champions when it comes to your health and happiness.

In this day and age, employees are no longer expected to put on a brave face and push through challenging or difficult human experiences that impact their ability to work. For instance, it’s becoming more normative for women to be able to take period pain leave. If a loved one has died, bereavement leave provides you with time off to grieve. In fact, many organisations have expanded the definition of this benefit or added a standalone one for loss related to stillbirth or miscarriage.

For prospective or existing parents, there are rewards related to having and caring for children. Women who are not quite ready to have kids but are planning for the future may want access to egg storage, an option some businesses are providing. Maternity and paternity leave offers people of all genders paid time off to care for a newborn.

There is more you should benefit of, but that also depends on your priorities. decide what matters to you and find an employer who matches that.

In closing

Each company profile will differ and have varying types of information available for you to access. By utilising a combination of these tips, you can better vet the companies you are interested in working with. In doing so, you can narrow down your search and only put effort into applying for roles worthy of your time and values. For professionals from minority groups, existing at one or more intersections, diversity and inclusion take center stage in the job search. If an employer doesn’t have even the basics down, you’ll know it’s one to skip. But for those who have taken the time to show you how they’re different, you can feel more ease and comfort when it comes to sending in your resume.

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