Updating Your ATS (and Thinking) For New Pronouns

At one point, the idea of getting a box of hand-selected items was a novel concept. That first box of StitchFix was neat when I wore real pants more than once a month. Now it’s a category across every category. Whether you’re into flowers or food, clothes or knick-knacks, you can get a box of it delivered to your house for $50 a month.

Going into double-digit months of lockdown, I’m simultaneously signing up and unsubscribing from more emails and monthly deliveries than ever. I tell myself I want something to pass the time, but only the *right* things.

Right now, we all need something to pass the time – whether we’re reading or trying to keep small children busy. What better way than via a surprise every month customized to our liking? 

Curated gifts to me, for me – and I never have to leave the house? Count me in. 

Double Take: Checking Your ATS Forms

The difference between a good and great one of these monthly subscription deliveries is all about that customization layer. What intel do they need from day 1 to ensure that the 3rd, 6th, and 9th deliveries are just as satisfying as the first one? 

In most cases, they don’t get enough intel on day 1 to deliver on that promise. I don’t know about you, but it’s typically the 3rd delivery where I start checking my credit card statement and wondering if it’s “worth it.” 

Step 1 of customization? Forms. We start with that simple list – first name, last name, email address, gender. 

*Insert screeching brakes sound here* 

The catch? Most of these forms are trying to customize with the binary – only male and female – and disregarding a whole group of gender diverse people. I bet it’s happening in your ATS, too. 

Look at the dropdowns. Do you have an option for people to add their pronouns? If you want to add one, here’s the most inclusive dropdown field I’ve seen:

To the snarky, “what does that pronoun even mean,” people – listen to me. 

No, I don’t know what all of those pronouns mean – to those people or me. I would include them in my dropdown because I know there are people who identify with those pronouns, and I want them to feel welcome from the first moment of interaction with my company. The bigger question: why *not* include their pronouns? I know they exist. Why would I go out of my way not to welcome others?

3 Practical Tips For Practicing Pronouns 

Adding a dropdown is just the beginning. Your team needs to practice getting pronouns right. That’s what I covered in this video. As someone who came out recently, many people struggle to remember my pronouns. People get it wrong more often than right. 

Guess what. I’m not mad. I’m ok with it because most folks are looking for ways to get better, and they used the advice I’m sharing in this video. 

Especially that three compliments thing. Feel free to practice that with me any time. 

Joking! Watch the video already. 

recruiting

Kat Kibben View All →

Katrina (Kat) Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive, unbiased job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.

Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.

Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.

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