Job hunters who attended July’s “Careers in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB)” event gleaned a host of actionable insights from a diverse group of experts. The Job Forum of San Francisco hosted the July 13 event–which is part of a regular Job Forum series that focuses on one specific field/industry for the evening. During this discussion, our experts dove into DEI hiring trends, core competencies for DEI roles, and provided tips for candidate prep. A few of our experts also shared how they got into the DEI field by leveraging a broad range of skills and experiences.
The engaging session was thanks to our wonderful experts: Amy Maldonado, Bradley Hoffman, Farrah Wilder, Frenchelle Franklin, Hannah Strack, Jeff Fanselow, and Timothy Wasik. Each brough rich DEI experience in their functions as HR leaders, executives, consultants, and training specialists across multiple fields. Veteran career coach Jerome Imhoff opened the virtual event and expertly led the Q&A while Renita Sandosham, who has led HR, moderated the discussion.
The early part of the discussion centered around the roles and strategies related to DEI efforts within organizations and the audience learned that even titles that don’t explicitly have “DEI” in them still help to drive DEI goals. Some common DEI roles include managers of DEI, HR business partners, learning and development specialists, organizational development consultants, and employee relations specialists. While DEI efforts are often associated with HR, they can also extend to other parts of the organization.
The importance of DEI as a collective effort was emphasized, with the notion that everyone within an organization plays a role in fostering an inclusive environment. There was also recognition that driving DEI requires strong leadership buy-in, budget allocation, and cross-functional collaboration.
Our experts did not skirt the topic of current job trends and concerns about the long-term stability of careers in DEI due to shifting organizational priorities and economic factors. They acknowledged that organizations may not always sustain a commitment to DEI efforts but there was optimism among the experts that these roles are essential for driving change.
The discussion pivoted to actionable candidate tips and the experts covered the importance of discerning whether a company’s commitment to DEI is genuine when job hunters consider opportunities. Experts suggested performing a LinkedIn search to identify key individuals and roles related to DEI within the organization and exploring a company’s career site to locate information about diversity initiatives, scholarships, employee stories, and events that could provide insights into the company’s dedication to DEI. Engaging with recruiters and asking about the company’s DEI efforts during the interview process was also recommended as a way to help determine the organization’s commitment to embedding DEI into its culture and practices.
Amy provided an excellent tip to candidates at the interview stage: “At the very start when you’re introducing yourself, state your pronouns. I know it’s very small, but just acknowledging the fact that you’re aware of pronouns and trying to normalize it will unintentionally tell that interviewer that you know what DEIB is about, you know about intersectionality, you know about different communities outside of your own.”
Jeff highlighted key skills that are transferable from other careers, such as strong communication, facilitation, foundational knowledge of DEI principles (e.g., microaggressions, unconscious bias, intersectionality), data analytics, strategic thinking, change management, and collaboration.
The audience was highly engaged in the Zoom Chat throughout the discussion and asked excellent questions which Jerome curated for our experts. It was great to see our experts engaging directly in the Chat, offering additional recommended resources which included these books among many others:
- Erasing Institutional Bias
- Power, For All
- DEI Deconstructed: Your No-Nonsense Guide to Doing the Work and Doing It Right
- How to Be an Inclusive Leader
- Inclusive Conversations
- Thrive: The Facilitator’s Guide to Radically Inclusive Meetings
- The Speed of Trust
Written by Renita Sandosham