Hiring Through the Front Door

"Looking for [role]. If that's you, message me!" is an extremely poor way to recruit. Here's why.

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Whenever I find myself in conversations regarding diversity in tech (which is a lot) I always find myself going back to the idea of hiring. Companies can’t do good DEI work without diverse folks on those teams. But that means we have two options: diverse people have to start their own teams or non-diverse people have to hire more diverse people. The latter is typically more possible, but also more frequently done wrong.

Often, the challenge is not getting non-diverse people to understand this concept. The problem is bridging the gap between what is available and what people want, what is needed and where people feel they fit, what language is used and what isn’t. Recruiting pages and posts and postings have so much power in what is written and what is left out. This is power that the writers of these pages are often unaware of.

As purveyors of WordPress services and products, we extend to a global community of individuals. Yet the grand majority of our higher-level product companies don’t reflect the diversity of user-base in their teams. This isn’t for lack of trying, but it is for lack of trying effectively.

Almost daily, I see tweets like, “Are you a graphic designer? We’re looking for one! If that’s you, message me!” And each time it sends me into what some may call a blind rage. Especially when the poster has the reach and resources to do much more in order to ensure a wide net is cast.

What’s the problem, really?

Tweets like this – where someone puts out a general call for a job opening that don’t lead to a page with more info – aren’t just lazy and unclear. Hiring in this informal manner through social media directly limits someone’s ability to recruit a diverse team. We should all be “hiring through the front door” as often as possible as opposed to “hiring through the side door.”

What sucks is that so many experts actually recommend the “side door” approach, or hiring from within your own direct network. And yeah, there can be benefits to hiring people you already know and are connected with. That isn’t inherently wrong. But with the “front door” approach, you are giving everyone the opportunity to apply on equal footing and ensuring that you have a larger pool of different kinds of people to pick from.

So I’m going to break down everything wrong with this style of tweet and point you toward ways to do better. Because let’s face, your team could stand to be more diverse and up until now, you may have been too scared to try to figure out how.

I originally wrote a Twitter thread about this topic but I wanted to flesh it out.

You Know What Assumptions Do

There is a large chance that if someone is seeing a “just DM me for this job” tweet, they are seeing it because someone else liked it or shared it. So from this stranger’s perspective, some random person out there is looking for a graphic designer.

A tweet like this is built on top of assumptions. And it forces the reader to make assumptions as well. You as the writer are assuming that the reader knows who you are or what your company does. As a result, you’re not taking the time to earn their interest or trust, but assuming that someone who wants this role will reach out to any old account online offering it. These days, potential employees are quite discerning about who they apply to work for. If you don’t make that information readily available (what you do, what you stand for, etc.) most folks will glance over you.

Long story short: it prevents you from casting the wide need you need in order to grab folks outside your sphere of influence.

If you’re only looking to hire from within your direct sphere, fine. But if you’re trying to reach a wide variety of candidates, make sure to provide ample information about who you are and what you stand for.

You Need Them More Than They Need You

A tweet like this is a waste of time. Yours and everyone else’s. Why is that? It forces you and your potential applicant to do more work up in the long run that probably won’t pay off.

A tweet like this doesn’t include any information about the job. What skills are required? Is it entry level or managerial? Is it remote or in-office? How much does it pay? Is it full time or part time? In the end, the candidate has to reach out and ask these questions. They will most likely eventually find out this isn’t the right opportunity for them in the first place.

Also, you can’t vet people this way. You can’t learn anything about them in a DM or from a glance at their Twitter profile. By the time you connect enough to get the appropriate information, chances are you’ll find they aren’t right for you and you’ve wasted everyone’s time.

Instead, take the time up front to create a real job posting. This could look like a page on your website, a page on a site like Indeed, or even a detailed Twitter tthread that includes tons of information. This way candidates know for sure what you want and whether they should apply.

Lazy Attracts Lazy

The point of recruiting is to cast a wide net with a narrow funnel that will catch as many people as possible, then filter through the best ones fairly quickly.

With a tweet like this, you’re casting a small net with no funnel or filter at all. Honestly, it’s lazy. By doing it this way, you’re setting a tone and an expectation. The DMs you get in response will very likely maintain that tone of bare-bones information and unprofessionalism.

When you write out a full job posting or even twitter thread with tons of detail, you are encouraging applicants to read through the whole thing and reply appropriately. Bonus: you can learn a lot from a candidate by how they respond to a job posting. Did they follow directions? Did they ask questions that were answered in the text? Make things easier on yourself and provide more content up front.

Imposter Syndrome Is Bad Enough Without Your Help

If you aren’t familiar with the concept of imposter syndrome, you should learn about it. It disproportionately affects minorities and underrepresented groups. These people often start from the back of the line, believing that they are less qualified and less worthy than others. To get to them, you often have to meet them where they are.

Using terms like “if that’s you…” means you are forcing people to try to see themselves in a vague role. In reality, they may not even see themselves in a role that you describe in detail due to imposter syndrome.

It’s more effective to paint as close a picture as possible of the type of person you want. That way the perfect applicant is more likely to see themselves there OR see someone else they know and send along the information. And you just can’t do that in a tweet. (Not to mention your perfect candidate may not even have a twitter account. Pretty much everyone can access a web page.)

The right person may also feel unsure about exactly what to put in a DM. What if they say the wrong thing or don’t say enough? This fear often leads to complete inaction altogether. Whereas if you gave clear, detailed information and directions on how to apply, they can do that with confidence.

At the end of the day…

If you’re looking to hire or recruit from your direct pool of followers, these tweets are fine. IF you’re just looking for a hand with something or to connect with someone for a short while, these tweets are fine. But if you’re looking to diversity if your team, project, event, etc. please do the actual work to make that possible.


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Allie Nimmons is the Digital Producer at MasterWP, the founder of Beedia Productions, and a WordPress content creator, producer, writer, instructor, and diversity advocate.

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