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UUJEC Issues & Actions Blog

"Hiring with Justice in Mind" by Terry Lowman

Apr 16 2018


Because our white eyes can see and qualify white people more easily, let go and hire the best qualified person of color that you can find.  I managed restaurants for 35 years and after literally thousands of hires, I would challenge anyone who thinks they can hire infallibly.  There was really only one parameter that seemed to indicate sure success--length of prior employment. Often the applicant would be embarrassed at their lack of references, but someone who's stayed in the same job for a third of their life is likely to be a very stable employee.     


To be intentional about hiring with justice in mind, here are a few tips:   

-Do not use inter-congregational messaging to advertise--we're almost all white so if we only search within our congregations, there's hardly a snowball's chance that we'll diversify our staff.  

 -Look for people in places where you're likely to find someone of color--this will take some research.   

-Always include the "equal opportunity employer", EOE, in your job posting.  One can never assume that you're in friendly territory without it.   

If you do manage to hire a person of color, connect them with mentors and tell them you expect them to make mistakes--that's how we learn.  When I screened applicants I had two scenarios I discussed with them: "tell me about a mistake you made".  I didn't want to work with someone who couldn't admit making mistakes. The other scenario "what would you do if you can't finish your work in a timely fashion".  The answer is "ask for help".  This wasn't a deal breaker, but a moment for education. Mentors can also explain the concept of cooperation  and encourage new workers to ask for help, which is difficult in some cultures.   

If we keep doing what we've been doing, we will have the same results--we'll have an all white staff.

Do you hire with justice in mind? Share your approach with us at uujec@uujec.com


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