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Gauging a Company’s Commitment to DEI – Part 1: Pre-Application

September 21, 2021
4 min read

It seems like every day I check my LinkedIn and see that yet another person has left one job and moved on to another. It’s clear that this isn’t exclusive to my network; Fortune Magazine reports that 64% of workers are on the hunt for a new job, a number that’s up from 36% in May. That same report states that “nine out of 10 company executives say they are seeing higher-than-normal turnover” within their companies.

There are probably several reasons for this increased turnover. For one, companies are beginning to mandate a physical return to the office, which is pushing out employees that prefer the work-from-home situation. Also, the competition for talent is high, which means that there are constantly people in our LinkedIn DM’s offering attractive positions at other companies. Lastly, as social pressure to prioritize inclusion mounts, employees are seeing their company’s action (or lack thereof) and making decisions on whether they want to continue working there.

If you’re thinking about switching jobs, you’re probably amongst the 80% of working adults that want to work for a company that values diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

The question is, how do you really know? It’s easy for a company to post a black square on IG or say that it “stands against racism,” but how do you know if a prospective company truly works to create an inclusive workplace?

This is part one of a three-part series called Gauging a Company’s Commitment to DEI. We’ll help you pick the right companies to apply to, navigate the interview process, and break down the offer letter so you can ultimately choose the best company for you.

Without any further ado, let’s get started.

Part 1: Pre-Application

I’ll say it. Applying to jobs is trash. From finding positions that match your skill set to tailoring your resume to writing that dreaded cover letter (for real, though, why are companies still asking for cover letters?), the entire process can be tiring.

Something many people fail to do as they look for jobs is to analyze the actual work experience. It’s easy to get impressed by free snacks or an unlimited PTO policy, but what’s most important is your day-to-day experience at the company and your sense of belonging. 

Here are four DEI-related things to look for when considering a company:

1. Read the Chezie reviews

Well… you should’ve seen this coming.

The best way to find out what it’s going to be like to work at a company is to learn from the experiences of people that have worked or currently work there. Use Chezie to read in-depth Stories from employees that identify similarly to you at a prospective employer about topics like diversity programs, training and career development, and salary and benefits.

2. Check to see if salary is shared in the job posting 

Speaking of salary, check the job posting to see if they include some indication of the pay. This not only saves you time in case the compensation is lower than what you’re looking for, but it’s also a sign that the company is committed to fair and equitable pay.

If the company fails to share salary for the position (unfortunately, most companies still don’t) use tools like 81cents and PayScale to get an idea for yourself ahead of applying.

3. Speak to someone in/out of your network that’s worked there 

Nothing beats first-hand experience. If you have someone in your network that works at or used to work at the company you’re considering, reach out to them and ask to schedule a 30-minute informational interview so you can learn about their experience at the firm. Here are some sample questions to ask:

  • What was the interview process like? Was the recruiting team quick with updates?
  • Do you believe that your voice is heard?
  • What’s your relationship with your manager like?
  • What do you know now that you wish you’d known before you started?

Notice that these questions aren’t explicitly related to the company’s DEI efforts. By speaking with people in your network, especially those that come from underrepresented communities, you are inherently learning about the company’s commitment to DEI because you’re speaking to someone that should be benefiting from that commitment.

Perhaps you don’t have anyone in your network that works at the company. No problem! We got you. People are almost always willing to help if you reach out, so here’s a cold message template that you can use to reach out to current/former employees on LinkedIn.

Hi John! My name is Toby Egbuna, and I currently work with ABC Company as a Product Manager in New York. I’m really interested in the Senior Product Manager role at XYZ Company, and I was hoping to connect with some people there to ask about their experiences at XYZ. Do you have 20 mins for a chat this week?

4. Look at the leadership team

There’s nothing worse than seeing reading a company’s five-page diversity statement only to see that everyone on the leadership team looks the same and has the same background. Simply put, a company that’s committed to DEI should have a leadership team (and an overall workforce) that reflects the community and customers that it looks to serve.

If the leadership team is homogenous, look for statements about the company’s commitment to diversifying its leadership by a certain date. Obviously, this isn’t the same as actually having representation in leadership, but it should show some accountability on the company’s part and a dedication to being better.

The process of choosing which companies and roles to apply for can be daunting, but with these steps in mind, you should have an easier time identifying companies that are truly committed to DEI, and therefore, committed to your success as an employee.

Next up is how to gauge a company’s commitment to DEI during the interview process. Stay tuned!

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