bron lewis

queer activist, technologist, writer, hacker

I’m at a privileged enough point in my career that I get the occasional recruiter email. If you’ve had recruiters reaching out to you for awhile, this might annoy you. If you’ve never had it happen, you might be wondering when you’ll be lucky enough to complain about it.

Perspective is important. Recognizing our privilege is important.

I’m not annoyed by it because it’s still a pretty new experience for me, and it doesn’t happen that often. I usually ignore them, or perhaps thank them but decline to discuss the job offer further. But something did occur to me — why am I not using this as an opportunity to challenge recruiters on their diversity & inclusion metrics and initiatives? Why am I not making it really clear what matters to me when these companies reach out to me?

Here’s the thing… the more of us that challenge recruiters and organizations to do better, the greater chance they will start to do better. If every person they reach out to recruit demands disability-inclusive culture, gender neutral bathrooms, and equal parental leave, these companies might start to get the message that these things matter and they need to prioritize them.

Want to join me? Here’s the response I’m sending to recruiter emails from now on (and a tremendous thank you to my friend and colleague Sam 北島-Kimbrel for help in improving my initial draft of this):

Thanks so much for reaching out!

I had some questions about the company culture and the team this position is for — they’re really important to me for any company I might consider working at.

1) What does diversity look like at the organization and on the team this position is on? How many women, queer & trans folks, and people of color are in STEM and in leadership/management positions at the organization? What about on the team in question? Are retention and promotion for people from marginalized backgrounds measured in addition to hiring metrics?

2) Does the company actively review compensation (both cash and equity) to ensure equitability for historically underpaid demographics and that people doing the same work are compensated the same amount?

3) Is the company’s healthcare policy trans inclusive? Are benefits available to partners who are not married?

4) What is your sick leave and disability policy? Does the company have a disability-inclusive culture? What is the family leave policy and does it differ for adoptive parents versus natural births?

5) What does queer & trans inclusion look like at the company? On the team? Is there an employee resource group? Is pronoun sharing normalized? Are there gender neutral bathrooms available at the office? Are there efforts made to train folks about trans & non-binary inclusion in the work place?

Thanks so much for taking the time to look into this. These issues are really important to me and to showing how inclusive a company I might work for is.