I recently stumbled across a role that Linktree was advertising and it was one of the best introductions to a job advertisement I have ever seen!!
Addressing gender and inclusion inequality in recruitment practices
If you read through the requirements as a checklist and haven’t ticked every box, please don’t rule yourself out just yet. We’ve seen the research that women and other people in minority groups tend to only apply when the checklist is all ticks and no crosses. So if you think you have what it takes, hit that apply button or message me…
How awesome is that! It’s a fantastic application of addressing biases at every stage of the experience with potential applicants. It made such an impact on me that I signed up for their product! I’m more than happy to be a consumer of an organisation that shares my values around diversity and inclusion.
During my time at Telstra running the D&I Program for Operations, my team implemented some really quick changes that had a significant impact on the percentage of women in our traineeship programs. The first thing we did was change the image in the header of the advertisement to a young woman on the job engaging with customers. This single change increased the application rate of women by 15-20%. And this was such an important step because if we couldn’t attract more female applicants, we would have immediately curtailed our ability to recruit more women into these stereotypically traditional male jobs.
Linktree addresses diversity and inclusion biases head-on
What Linktree obviously understands, is that to break stereotypes and biases, we must address these biases head-on. This includes encouraging more women and people from under-represented groups to make that first step: to apply; to lean in; to put their hand up. We need to show them, with confidence, that they will be considered on a more even playing field.
Knowing we had a pipeline problem, we did something similar at Telstra to even the playing field so that women were more likely to be considered for traineeships. Wanting to increase the representation of females to 50%, we introduced assessment centres in the recruitment processes for all traineeships.
We did this because we knew, via research, that team leaders look for technical skills that women may not yet have when applying for technical roles. Women have less opportunity, through socialisation and earlier developmental experiences, to build these skills at the same rate as their male counterparts.
This means that women are likely to be ranked less than males by team leaders in traditional desktop application processes.
Assessment Centres at Telstra evened out the gender playing field
By viewing how potential applicants behave in a group situation, assessment centres highlight the importance of social skills and teamwork. These are the skills women tend to excel in: shared leadership, collaboration; teamwork; and communication.
Our assessment centre results totally turned on its head the proportion of successfully shortlisted applicants in our traineeships. By allowing team leaders to see how potential applicants performed in a group setting, it knocked out some applicants with high levels of technical skills who did not as yet possess those softer skills required for the role. It also lifted those applicants with less technical experience but more advanced team-based and social engagement/communication skills. And in a matter of months, we achieved that 50/50 target. It was a crowning achievement of our D&I program and we kept our vigilance in the area because we found those numbers slipping when we took our eyes off the prize.
Keep shining a light on diversit and inclusion
It’s so easy to go back to default behaviours and processes when one key leader leaves, or executives are no longer focusing on that area. That was a key lesson for us. I hope that Linktree continues to shine a light on diversity and inclusion in this way and also that other organisations are inspired by their lead!