144: Diversity and Inclusion with Stacy Justino

144: Diversity and Inclusion with Stacy Justino

Stacy Justino has spent time carefully considering the hiring process, right from the job description.


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Charlotte Ward 0:13
Hello, and welcome to Episode 144, the customer support leaders podcast. I’m Charlotte Ward. This week we’re talking about diversity and inclusion. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic. I’d like to welcome back to the podcast today, Stacy Justino. Stacy, lovely to have you back after quite a long break. I just feel like I’m saying this so much this week to everyone I guess and all but just 2020 has been quite a ride. And it feels like such a long time since we spoke. But thank you for joining me to talk about what I am finding is a slightly uncomfortable week. But that is a week that I’m getting increasingly comfortable with. Thank you for joining me again, I’m

Stacy Justino 1:05
happy to be here. And

Charlotte Ward 1:06
we had we had a little chat before I hit record. And I know that you have a couple of key points that you want to talk about when it comes to diversity and equity and inclusion.

And I think one theme that has come up in so many discussions both on the podcast and and elsewhere recently, is how we hire in a manner to support the kind of workforce the kind of skills, the kind of values that we hope our organisations will benefit from. And, and I know that you have a couple of things that you’d like to talk about, particularly in, in that realm, right?

Stacy Justino 1:52
Yeah, this is an area where I think that companies are doing better about this, but I think a lot of job descriptions and job postings are written in a way that people have been doing forever and not really considering what is the point of your job description, it’s to attract, um, you know, you know, I think these days a diverse candidate base, and it shouldn’t exclude people who would be great candidates for your job. So for example, for a long time, even in entry level support roles, a lot of them would say a bachelor’s degree required or associate’s degree required. And I remember working with some great recruiters at my last company to actually question is that really requirement to do the job? And I thought to myself, yeah, people have, that’s really learned how to write papers. And that’s where they learn how to like manage their time, because they don’t have their mom or dad telling them to go to school on time, you have to make the choice whether you’re going to go to class or not, they don’t make you. Um, and so that made me really think what is that a proxy for? Why do we put that on there? And should we, we should really be able to articulate what those things are, you know, somebody who’s a curious learner, right? That’s something that you can explore and grow deeper into as a college student. I’m writing skills, critical thinking skills, but college is not the only way somebody can get those skills. And putting that on there. Even though you might not, you know, always say, well, we will look at people who maybe don’t have that you are definitely deterring a lot of people. And in a lot of cases, minorities and women, who, as we know, if they don’t meet, most of the requirements will apply for a job. So to me, it’s super critical to look at your job description, and make sure that you are only including the things that are truly required to succeed in the role. And so for example, at Wistia, we had had that technical support, SAS support experience was preferred. And well, that’s going to deter some people who are probably going to be great candidates. And if we looked at the people we hired, we didn’t generally go with people who necessarily had SAS experience. So we took that out. And we tried to take out the things that were not really true about what we needed in that role and look back at who were the successful candidates. And I think that was really helpful for us to write a job description that was not going to exclude folks. Because that’s one way to limit your pool and the diversity in your pool. And if you can prevent that and as easy as making sure your job description is written in a way that is not exclusionary. And then you could run it through something like textio, which is you know, software you can use to look for those biases.

Charlotte Ward 4:36
And yeah, I really like that actually, that’s such a simple thing is looking at the most successful people on your team and where they began and I think particularly if you’re looking for candidates that will, will grow with you. That’s such a powerful thing to do. I’ve done a little of this in my in my current role when I’m hiring. I very Carefully described, a very carefully crafted job description, which is granted now we’re talking maybe does contain some of those short hands for those proxies for other skills I was looking for. Nonetheless, I was very, very careful, because I’m super aware of that. That limitation that quite often women place on themselves as applicants by not applying for something that they’re 110% qualified for. And I felt the very, very, very small thing I could do was say, something to the effect of, you may not have all these skills, but if you if you match, you know, like half of them, we’d love to talk to you about the rest, you know, and and i think that that’s kind of like even just that sentence, I’d be somewhat comforted by at least I like to think so because I wrote it mostly, but

Stacy Justino 5:55
nice thing. So I think so when I see that on a job posting, I’m like, Yes, yes. Because people need to read that. Um, and so yeah, I think that’s really a good trend that I hope continues as well.

Charlotte Ward 6:08
Yeah. Yeah. I think I think the the other thing that you mentioned is is really interesting, though, you know, removing those requirements that are often a shorthand for other skills that we really do want, and we really are interested in. I wonder how far we can take this, because we’ve seen a lot of big companies, but they’re very vocal on places like LinkedIn about the fact they’re removing degree degrees as their requirement from their from their job postings. And yet, on the other hand, they are such an easy shorthand for the kind of skills you might be looking for. And I think the same is true, probably, as somebody who is going into college now or is just coming out of college now and feeling you know, I wouldn’t got that degree just so that I didn’t have to demonstrate all these other skills. What what do you what are your thoughts there for kind of college students right now thinking about all of those, all of those roles that suddenly no longer require a degree?

Stacy Justino 7:15
I think that it goes back to this idea that like, that college prepares people for the real world, there’s a lot of parts that don’t. So I think it’s like this bigger like, that’s like a symptom of like, a bigger problem, right. And when a lot of people when they start college, they don’t know what they want to do. And so, um, you know, we’ve kind of set up a situation that makes it and, you know, you spend one or two years trying to figure it out, and then you have two years left to really dive deep into something, and then you’re supposed to be ready for an adult job. Um, I think trying to figure out, like, how you can influence the either the people you know, and like, as a hiring manager, I know what skills that I’m looking for. And so I try to share that with the people I know, whether it’s a younger sibling, or my little cousins, because I’m always here to look over their resume and cover letter and help them with interview questions. Because I think that’s the real part that they’re missing is like, they need to be able to connect the dots, and they probably did do all that stuff in college, and shouldn’t feel bad that other folks who don’t have a degree don’t have that opportunity. I think that’s, that goes back to the problem of privilege, right? Um, yeah. But we built this whole society around a college degree, it’s necessary to make a multiplier, like earning capability in a world is changing, right? A lot of people are going to boot camps to learn how to be software engineers, instead of going to a four year university to get a degree in computer science. So I think it’s just changing. And we need to help, you know, the younger folks who are going into the workforce to, to, you know, come along, right, because I think that is where it’s going.

Charlotte Ward 8:54
Yeah, yeah, it’s about actually being prepared to diversify your own skills and the way you acquire skills and it becoming a more of a lifelong journey, right, rather than just that four year degree, which I feel somewhat ashamed to say now is what I did. Back in the 90s, I just followed that straight through school to university, four year degrees straight into a tech job. And, and the world is changing, you know, and I, I’m having been through that process myself, and now as a mother. I never ever ever thought that I would say to my children to a degree might not be that important. And it feels very, very alien. I can’t believe those words come out of my mouth to my children. You know, it’s a very, very strange thing for me to say and, and accept and yeah, I have accepted it because that’s what I tell them.

Stacy Justino 9:48
I agree. Like as a mom, even though I have a young child, that seemed like in my head, I was like, yeah, just like me just like my dad for me. Um, they’re gonna go to college, and they’re gonna go Job and well, that might not be the best track for them. And I’m okay with that too.

Charlotte Ward 10:05
Yeah, yeah. Thinking about how those kids grow up in and the the world into which they are moving my, my eldest isn’t so very far off, you know, scarily. But thinking about the kind of organisations that you might go into whether they be tech organisations or whatever whatever party chooses to take, I think the conversation is the same as what sort of environment that you think of your child potentially going into? What sort of organisations do you think would be the sort of organisations you would like to see your child work in and grow in and succeeded?

Stacy Justino 10:45
That’s a great question. Um, I think what I tried to do, and I think, I would hope for my kids, or anybody going into the workforce, is an inclusive environment. So you know, I was talking about making sure you’re not cutting people off from applying. But once you get those people in the door, we don’t want to just listen to the loudest voice in the room. And so some people aren’t good about speaking out. But it doesn’t mean they don’t have good ideas. And it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give them space or opportunity to do that. So like I Wistia, we’ve been working to make sure our meetings are more inclusive. And when we were coming up with that taskforce, they wanted someone for the customer happiness team. And I said, Hey, I want to actually suggest someone who’s a little quieter, was really bright, has good ideas, but doesn’t speak up as much as I would, you know, hope they would, because when they do say something, it’s good, solid idea. And so I’m building your meeting so that introverts have a space to speak. So having an agenda that everybody can add to you beforehand. If you look, I like to see, like, if somebody looks like they want to say something, and making sure that I say, Hey, Joe, it looks like you were gonna say something and, and give them that space, especially with zoom, it’s really hard to sort of keep everybody else can’t see everybody. And as a person, sort of as the manager. Watching the meeting, I’m always kind of keeping an eye on people’s, you know, facial expressions or motions to make sure that I am keeping an eye on people who are just about to speak when somebody else started to speak up. Uh

Charlotte Ward 12:17
huh. I actually think that may be operating remotely gives us some advantages in this respect, I think I think it’s a very equalising, I won’t say levels the playing field entirely. But I think speaking as an introvert, which people don’t believe but I am honestly an introvert with a podcast. But But I think speaking as someone who’s natural places that I find it much easier to operate in a remote environment, even if I’m in a meeting with 20 other people than I would in a meeting room with 20 other people and I think I think it has some equalising effect, which I think is interesting. And

Stacy Justino 12:57
I think one of the way it has an equalising effect, I think it’s made people think more critically about when something could be like an email or like a shared dock that people can edit and ask questions on, on. And I try to, like, make sure we have a balance of those things and making sure you ask yourself, Well, what is the right medium to have this conversation? Can it be a sink? Because sometimes people are a lot better about having some time to sit with their thoughts after they read something, give their feedback, rather than just having people do it on the fly in a meeting.

Charlotte Ward 13:26
Yeah, that totally makes sense. That makes sense. I love I just thought the thing that I’m really driving for is to gather more around artefacts and documentation and then get on a meeting all the time, the meetings should be the things that develop those social connections rather than necessarily and have quick discussions rather than necessarily require you all to bring a fully formed vocal opinion to so I mean, sounds like a great environment for a child to integrate well for a child to grow up into and be being encouraged in to form as well as as well as join. That’s it for today. Go to customersupportleaders.com/144 for the show notes, and I’ll see you next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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