Equity in Action: Valuing Diverse Experiences in Hiring

Young Man Sitting At Interview In Office

Does your workplace value diverse experiences in hiring?

Our Equity in Action blog series is moving on to step four from our Six Steps to Make Your Legal Workplace more Equitable – valuing diverse experiences in hiring. Some of the most valued experiences in hiring are inaccessible to people, often for financial reasons.

Let’s review two scenarios that you or your colleagues may find yourselves in:

Scenario 1:

Your firm is hiring an associate and you are on the hiring panel. One of the candidates you interview is Kelly. She exceeds all of your expectations and meets all of the job requirements. During the interview, she mentions that she has three children and cannot commit to working late every night as she must be home to care for her children. You and your fellow panellist review the candidates and the one reason why Kelly is not the successful candidate is because of her caretaking obligations.

What would you do if you found yourself in this situation?

Reflection questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you unfairly penalizing candidates during the hiring process due to their caretaking obligations?
  • Do you associate having children as being “not as committed to the job”?
  • What measures could your workplace put in place to support employees with caretaking responsibilities? (i.e., childcare, family responsibility days (if so, how many?), flexible work locations and times)

Scenario 2:

You work at a medium-sized firm and your firm is hiring a summer intern. One of the job candidates is the son of a partner at the firm. The candidate showed up late for the interview and provided below-average responses to the questions. You recommended not to hire this candidate, however, you are new to the hiring decision-making. A few weeks later, you find out that the son of the partner was hired for the summer intern position. You express to your manager that the other candidates were better qualified for the position. Your manager acknowledges that this is true but states that family members of partners get a pass.

What would you do if you found yourself in this situation?

Reflection questions to ask yourself:

  • Are candidates from prominent families allowed to bypass the hiring process at your workplace?
  • Do all individuals on your hiring panel hold the same capacity to make a decision or hold the same level of power?

During the hiring process be mindful of:

  • Valuing experience with unpaid internships at high-profile organizations over history of wage labour.
  • Penalizing candidates with caretaking obligations.
  • Allowing children from prominent families to bypass standardized hiring processes.

Our goal is that this Equity in Action blog series supports you, your colleagues and your firm as you approach various situations to make your legal workplace more equitable.

Questions or comments? Contact us at [email protected] or add your comment or response to “what would you do?” in these scenarios by completing the comment form at the end of this blog! Please feel free to remain anonymous and note that we review all comments prior to publishing.

This Equity in Action blog post was written by Asha Pelly, NSBS Summer Law Student.