Help Hiring Managers Talk About DEI: Telling The Truth

I don’t want to admit this to the young readers, but I was around when Glassdoor launched. It was a big deal. Everyone was terrified of what would happen, and people spent at least ten years writing about how to respond to Glassdoor reviews. Then how you educate your leadership to react to Glassdoor reviews. Next, they had a full batch of social media Glassdoor reviews. Blog writers in recruiting took every possible angle on these oh-so-insightful reviews.

Now, if you’ve ever been on Glassdoor, you know that they cover many categories and one of them is diversity. I don’t know if that’s a recent addition, but I do know this. No one trusts it.

Glassdoor has been around so long that people know these companies have gamed the system. Glassdoor has this Zuckerberg-like reputation. They play favorites whether they’ll admit it or not.

It doesn’t matter though, because the people looking for that intel know not to trust them. They’re all looking for the truth. I don’t know where you find the truth online, but if you ask a hiring manager to talk about DEI to their face, you’ll get everything you need. 

There are only three answers.

  1. The truth and it’s good news. You’ll know when they’re telling the truth about the good stuff. Trust me. 
  2. A lie because it’s awful. You’ll be able to tell they’re lying. Trust me. 
  3. Or, in the best-case scenario, you’ll get an honest answer: the company is trying, but they’re not there yet, like 99% of companies right now.

Help Hiring Managers Talk About DEI:What To Say

One of my clients asked me how to help hiring managers talk about DEI a few weeks ago, and I thought I should share the answer. I recently trained her team on removing bias from their job postings and writing better posts. They are a tech company and competing with the likes of Google for engineering talent. 

She sent me this email: 

I know it is important to be transparent and clear when people ask about diversity. We are working on initiatives, but it is hard to itemize the specifics to a candidate. Do you recommend a forward-thinking sincere response? I had a manager respond to a candidate that we suck but are working on it! Can you imagine? 

“We suck, but we’re working on it.” 

The manager said it. If you’re not laughing, you haven’t worked in this field long enough. That’s funny. 

I know a few of you gasped but honestly? I don’t hate that answer. 

It is honest. It’s clearly the truth. 

However, there’s a more business-approved way to say that. 

Here are a few suggestions for your team: 

  • Honestly, we’re not where we want to be, but we have a vision for who we want to be that includes… 
  • We’re probably meeting industry standards, but that’s not enough. We’re also working on… 
  • Like many other teams, we realized that we’re not where we want to be. We have a few initiatives in place right now. [List them here]

Regardless, tell the truth. Be honest. It’s not right to lie to people to build your pipeline. It would be best to let them opt into reality, not your sugar-coated version, to decide if they can be successful at your company. 


Katrina Kibben View All →

Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.

Katrina has written for,, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.

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