08/09/2017 Steph Anderson

Job search manifesto: prioritize diverse companies

shutterstock_405608602One 10-page document leaked to the public. An angry CEO. A new hashtag that has everyone talking.

The #GoogleManifesto has ignited fresh debate on gender bias in the workplace. James Damore, the Google engineer who wrote the memo, was fired earlier this week. In the communication titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” he claims the company quiets diversity conversations, making it appear that Google’s claims about creating a diverse workplace are simply lip service.

Google leadership has said the memo goes too far and that Damore’s words actually perpetuate stereotypes, therefore making employees feel unnecessarily uncomfortable. There are three sides to every story and it will be interesting to watch this one develop.

Diversity controversy isn’t just a problem in Silicon Valley. It’s clear that while companies across the country may say they are working towards equality in the workplace, it’s not necessarily taking root. It’s illegal for businesses to discriminate based on age, race and gender, but it’s still happening behind closed doors.

As a job seeker, how can you crack open that door to peer into the truth? Consider these ideas for finding an employer who embraces diversity as part of the culture rather than just having it as a line item on the career page.

Investigate company information: The easiest first step is to dig into the company website. Look at the mission statement, culture information and any stated corporate commitment to diversity. View images and bios of senior management. Recruitment materials such as brochures or videos can be telling. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Network: Try to connect with someone who works currently or has worked in the past for the company. Asking these folks about diversity (as well as other employment concerns) is one of the best ways to get the facts. If you can’t connect with an employee, request an informational interview from the company to do some sleuthing.

Look at online reviews: Glassdoor and other employer-review sites are treasure troves of tidbits that provide insight into diversity dedication. Some even offer diversity ratings. What’s more, look at salary information. Does it appear fair? Seek out employers who put their money (literally) where their mouth is.

Note awards and accolades: Whether it’s from the local newspaper or a national trade organization, workplace awards are plentiful. Has the company you’re researching received any? Whether it’s a “top place to work” or “best workplace for women,” these awards help prove a company is taking action rather than just touting action.

Take a tour: Ask if you can be taken on a tour of the office at the end of your interview. While walking around, absorb the environment. Who is working where? What trends do you note? How is the office organized? Just seeing an office space can provide valuable information.

Ask during interviews: Finally, make diversity a part of the discussion during an interview. Yes, you may get a canned answer, but it’s an important question and one companies should be prepared to answer thoughtfully. If not, move on.