What does brutality against people of color have to do with your career? More than you could ever imagine. As a black headhunter and business owner, I consult and advise people managers and candidates on how to make a hiring or career decision – which seems basic until you throw in racism.
"Yes, even in 2020 bias is determining whether you get the job or not"
As protests continue across Minneapolis and St. Paul following yet another killing of an unarmed black man by a white police officer, the same bias that led to George Floyd’s death is playing out in workplaces across the country. Yes, even in 2020 bias is determining whether you get the job or not – whether you deserve the promotion or not – whether you should be laid off or not. The Amy Coopers of the world who are privileged enough to call the police and falsely claim a black man is threatening their life are often the same women determining if you deserve a pay raise.
To get the job, the promotion, the pay raise, minority candidates must overcome more hurdles than simply acing the interview and passing the background check. As a minority candidate – whether it be your race, gender, religion, or anything else that classifies you as “other,” you have to deal with conscious or unconscious biases. Unfortunately, that bias can lead to a lack of new job opportunities.
"Tailored suits and an outstanding resume don't eliminate this outdated mentality"
Tailored suits and an outstanding resume don’t eliminate this outdated mentality. I see it all the time in my work – “she’s just not the right culture fit,” “we’re looking for someone who can mesh well with our team’s work environment,” “we loved his passion and experience but aren’t sure he’s ready for the responsibility that comes with this role.” Biases are frequently at play when companies are making decisions about whether a candidate receives an offer or not.
"Each time a police officer goes unpunished for brutality against a person of color, an opportunity is missed"
Each time a police officer goes unpunished for brutality against a person of color, an opportunity is missed to address the racism and biases that run so deep in this country. And for every missed opportunity, there is a negative rippling effect that touches every aspect of life as a person of color.
"For every person of color currently seeking employment, don't lose hope"
As a black woman, I’ve found myself wondering what it must feel like to be passed over for an opportunity and not have to wonder if it was because of my hair or skin color. What a privilege it must be to walk into an interview and see the person sitting across the table looks like you. For every person of color currently seeking employment, don’t lose hope. Rely on your network of friends, family, and former co-workers to sharpen your interview skills, perfect your resume, and get your foot in the door at your dream company. We may have to be twice as good, but the reward is twice as sweet.