By Christina Siders, NCA senior assistant director, serving students in McCormick, Medill, SESP & The Graduate School.
Even though many employers promote diverse recruiting strategies and LGBTQIA friendly hiring policies, it’s important to do your due diligence when assessing what company is the best fit for you. There are several considerations to make if you’re seeking a particular work environment, and researching the organization and its policies is essential. When researching, look for the following:
- Is there a written non-discrimination policy? And if so, does it specifically cover sexual orientation and gender expression?
- Do they offer domestic partner benefits?
- Is there an LGBTQIA resource group within the organization, and is it active?
- Is the company ranked on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index?
- Does the organization sponsor diversity trainings that include gender expression and sexual orientation?
If you’re looking in an unfamiliar geographical area, find out if the organization is located in a city or county that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. Network with groups in the area to gain better awareness of both opportunities and of the resources available.
While the answers to these questions will help you better assess the work culture at each organization, it’s important to remember that attitudes can vary greatly from policy. Try to have as many candid conversations as possible when determining cultural fit. For example, if the company has an LGBTQIA employee group, contact them and talk to current staff about the organizational climate. What is it really like to work there?
NU alumni can also be a wonderful resource. Contact the Northwestern University Gay and Lesbian Alumni (NUGALA) Association to connect with LGBTQIA professionals in every industry. Our Northwestern and LinkedIn can be invaluable when setting up networking meetings. Look for individuals at companies of interest who are involved in relevant groups in their area or company. Finally, don’t miss out on upcoming programming:
- Know Your Rights: Thursday, October 6, 6-8 p.m., Multicultural Center (1936 Sheridan Road). Lambda Legal, a nonprofit devoted to the rights of LGBTQIA individuals, will facilitate a presentation regarding your rights and dialogue about the job application and hiring process. This will be an informal event and dinner will be served.
- Alumni Employer-in-Residence: Friday, October 7, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Gender and Sexuality Resource Center – Norris, 3rd Floor. Meet with ’09 alumnus and NUGALA President Marc Staros and his colleague at Slalom Consulting who can answer your questions regarding LGBTQIA interviewing, hiring, or anything else that is on your mind!