Strategies for Inclusively and Equitably Attracting Diverse TalentPart IIIa: Recruitment Process Changes

This is the third of five posts in a series of blog posts that explore Third Sector’s progress in evaluating and redesigning our recruitment practices with a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens.

Alongside gathering Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) baseline data that now informs our understanding of the composition of our candidate pipeline, we recognize the importance of ensuring each step of our interview process is equitable. Each summer, Third Sector hires two “Summer Managers” to join our team for a 10-week internship assisting with client engagements and special initiatives that drive the firm’s growth, that can result in an offer for a full-time position. This year, we leveraged the Summer Manager recruitment process to pilot changes to attract a more diverse applicant pool and to create a more equitable interview process that more fully recognizes and values a broader range of applicant experiences and skillsets. Small teams that spanned over half of Third Sector’s employees, across all levels and offices, worked to revamp the entire interview process. These three blog posts outline the key changes made to the Summer Manager interview process:

  • Rewriting the job description to align with the core competencies required for the Summer Manager role and to outline the recruitment process upfront
  • Re-evaluating the Summer Manager compensation package
  • Restructuring the thirty- and sixty-minute interviews to align with the chosen core competencies

Job Description Rewrite

The goal of rewriting the job description was to appeal to a more diverse group of applicants by focusing on language, appeal, and brevity. The language in the original job description was heavy on jargon and was not created using a human-centered approach. For example, we referred to “the applicant” rather than addressing said applicant directly. Additionally, there were several references to specific examples of our work - using industry-specific terms - that may have deterred applicants whose core competencies match those we were looking for but had experience in a different industry from applying. To rectify the linguistic elements we felt might be hindering a more diverse applicant pool from applying, we removed unnecessary jargon and changed the more formal language to be human-centered, addressing the applicant directly with “you,” as well as referring to ourselves in the first person, whenever appropriate.

We also acknowledged that the description of Third Sector as an organization did not reflect developments in our theory of change, nor did our description of the role tangibly reflect what Summer Managers would be doing. We rewrote the “Who We Are” section and added a “Day in the Life” paragraph to offer an insider-view into the work a Summer Manager would be responsible for. We also added infographics to be more visually appealing and brief while still communicating the information we needed applicants to understand. One of the infographics clearly detailed the timeline and stages of the recruitment process so potential candidates could be fully aware of how much time to allocate to this process, as well as the stages through which they could expect to progress. The original job description included six sections, which we reduced down to four. We did this by combining and reorganizing the existing sections. Lastly, we streamlined and simplified the language, finding ways to say the same thing with a lower word count.

Throughout rewriting the job description, we wanted to remain as authentic as possible to who we are at Third Sector. The job description is in many ways the first impression applicants have of our team. We deliberately chose to keep language that may be more technical but that is language we regularly use in our work. It would not be fair to applicants to paint a false picture of what we do here. This was the same approach we took for how much content to add in the job description explicitly about our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) work. Providing insight into the kind of culture we are committed to developing is important, so we included a link to our DEI affirmation statement and explained some of our thought process around blind screening. However, in many cases, actions speak louder than words. We recommended to other teams engaged in piloting changes that all stages of our recruitment process exhibit a dedication to DEI rather than simply stating our commitment in the job description, as was enacted through rewriting the role-playing exercises and evaluating compensation for the role.

Click here to learn more about how we re-evaluated the Summer Manager compensation.