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Getting diverse application pool

Bookworm

Cyburbian
Messages
127
Points
6
Hi,

I am at an agency that is going to be conducting some hiring of transportation planners and engineers over the next year. We are committed to trying as hard as we can to get a diverse applicant pool. I was wondering what networks people might recommend to contact to try to engage transportation planners of color, women, LGBTQI, people with disabilities and other marginalized groups?

I am already looking at the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials, Women in Transportation and the APA: Planning and the Black Community Division. Are there others people might recommend?

Thanks!
bookworm
 

Suburb Repairman

moderator in moderation
Moderator
Messages
7,288
Points
28
APA has a LGBTQ in Planning Division, Latinos in Planning Division, Women in Planning Division and Planning and the Black Community Division in addition to what you had already listed.

APA started working on diversity in a more serious manner about 20-25 years ago, so the impact of that is only beginning to be felt. You may find diversity much higher in younger cohorts within planning due to slowly increasing diversity in the field over time, which might then cause you some issues if you are also interested in hiring older individuals as well.
 

Michele Zone

BANNED
Messages
7,657
Points
28
I'm a woman with a disability who spent several years homeless. I would say I am pretty marginalized. I will suggest that trying to find out where such people congregate who already have planning jobs is not sufficient. (If they already have a planning job, they aren't really that marginalized. Trust me on this one.) Ideally, you want to find ways to communicate with qualified candidates who haven't yet managed to successfully become planners, but would like to be.

You might want to look at articles that talk about the impact of language used on candidate perception. The tech industry has produced a number of such articles because there is a tremendous gender imbalance in tech.

You might want to think carefully about the requirements you put in the listing. Is it really necessary for the job? Or is it kind of the lazy answer for writing the description?

For example, I applied for a planning type job last December in part because it did not say "Driver's license required." (I did not get the job, but I think I'm highly qualified for it.) I don't have a driver's license. I also don't have any trouble getting around, but most planning job ads state that you absolutely must have a valid state driver's license. This is an automatic disqualification for me.

I can see my lack of a license being a genuine issue in some places and circumstances. But I think in the small town where I reside, my lack of a driver's license really shouldn't be a barrier to me accomplishing anything that needs to be done. So, for example, if you want to be more inclusive of non-drivers like me, consider putting in a blurb "Must be able to get to x, y and z sites and accomplish yadda. This is typically handled by having a driver's license and driving there." instead of the shorter "Driver's license required."

I'm currently involved very part time in a local non profit that does city enhancement type stuff. I did a lot of volunteer work as a homemaker. You might consider reaching out to local non profits that do related work. Marginalized people often pursue their passion by doing related volunteer work when they can't get a job in the field they love.
 
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arcplans

As Featured in "High Times"
Messages
6,351
Points
25
Hi,

I am at an agency that is going to be conducting some hiring of transportation planners and engineers over the next year. We are committed to trying as hard as we can to get a diverse applicant pool. I was wondering what networks people might recommend to contact to try to engage transportation planners of color, women, LGBTQI, people with disabilities and other marginalized groups?

I am already looking at the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials, Women in Transportation and the APA: Planning and the Black Community Division. Are there others people might recommend?

Thanks!
bookworm
When i see posts like this I always ask myself, shouldn't you hope for a qualified applicant pool versus a "diverse" applicant pool? As a minority, I would rather know I was the most qualified candidate for the job versus i got the job because of color my skin.
 

Michele Zone

BANNED
Messages
7,657
Points
28
When i see posts like this I always ask myself, shouldn't you hope for a qualified applicant pool versus a "diverse" applicant pool? As a minority, I would rather know I was the most qualified candidate for the job versus i got the job because of color my skin.

While I agree with that, there is a reasonable argument to be made for at least making sure you have a diverse set of candidates in the pipeline, so to speak. If the only people who have any hope of even seeing the job advert are all white male professionals, you are going to end up with white male candidates and that's it.

Generally speaking, I strongly prefer to be less exclusionary rather than "inclusionary." I find an approach of removing barriers works vastly better than trying to specifically seek out people of a particular demographic. And this is where it can be helpful to read up on best practices for the kind of language to use in adverts.

There are some studies and what not out there, at least insofar as the Tech sector goes.
 

Suburb Repairman

moderator in moderation
Moderator
Messages
7,288
Points
28
The system crapped on me yesterday, so I'm trying to recreate what I wrote.

My perception is that the original poster is trying to diversify the pool of applicants, not give hiring preference.

One of the most difficult things to address in hiring is unconscious bias. These are a few tips I use:

My HR Director will send all applications to me unless they are clearly unqualified. When she sends them, she redacts their name and contact information, which forces a qualification-based selection for interviews. I will ask her to include certain people in the interview stack if I've indicated they are known applicants to me (someone I've directly recruited, etc.). We then typically do an initial phone screening interview. I like this because physically obvious disabilities are not observable, and neither is race/ethnicity. Those two things lead to my in-person interview finalists. By that point I have a positive perception of them, which reduces potential for any unconscious bias to creep in by accident. Even then, I always have two other people in the interview to help with that.

This approach has naturally led to finding the best well-qualified fits for our organization, and has made the group of departments I supervise quite diverse without it being my intention.

My selfish reason for encouraging diversity: it leads to better pot-luck lunches. :D

EDIT: We also did a drivers license requirement scrub on all positions to make sure it was essential, and requiring a state issued photo ID where a DL is not required. In those instances, we ask the applicant to certify that they have access to reliable means of transportation to access the workplace during the assigned operating hours.
 
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