Can you ask about diversity and inclusivity at a company while you are being interviewed?

Is it appropriate or should you ask about equality and diversity?

Perhaps you are wondering what types of questions are appropriate to find out how a company supports inclusion and diversity?

What are the right questions to ask so you know you’ll be supported for the long term?

How can you be more courageous to know what to share about your own experiences, history and culture?

If you’ve asked yourself any of these questions then you’re not alone. These questions come up on a daily basis in coaching sessions with Tara Cull ✨  from ArchiEnglish and we want to help you understand more about how to address these questions.

Join Jackie Handy – Trainer, Consultant and TEDx Speaker, Tara Cull ✨ ESL Coach from ArchiEnglish and Stephen Drew from The Architecture Social as we tackle how to ask future employers questions about culture and diversity.  



Transcript (with

Transcript (Raw Text)

Stephen Drew 0:08
Okay, guys, we’re alive to like the intro music Tara era go levy and Tara Jackie is 35 seconds. We’re going to smash it. LinkedIn once he has come in quality inclusivity diversity. That’s what the topic is here today. Everyone I am Stephen Drew. I’m too early. Got another 18 seconds. Tyra. Okay. All right. Get professional. Get professional. All right. There we go. 765 All right. Wow. Wow, whoa. And then fro here we are alive. Do you like it, guys? Taran love it.

Tara Cull 0:56
I don’t know if you could hear me when I in the intro

Stephen Drew 0:59
that I was about to add, you have to unmute yourself. No, it’s I think everyone at the software just like some system. But Jackie, welcome to the architecture social show where our live and for anyone that’s joining us at the moment. Today, we’ve got an interesting topic. And so it always pops up. Say now you’re going for an interview and you want to ask you certain questions. We all know, equality inclusivity and diversity matters. But is it appropriate to ask it in an interview? Or how do you are? Can you? Is that something that you can do? So exploring this topic today? We have the fantastic tarot card to to my right over here. That’s right. You’re

on my left. Oh, no that way.

Yeah, yeah, we’re over here. And below. We’ve got the fantastic Jackie handy, who I met through tower ever weeks. And so we’re all here virtually. Jackie, how are you today? First of all, you Okay.

Jackie Handy 2:01
Well, great intro loving it. I’m really well. Thanks, Stephen. It’s great to be here with both of you. So hi, everybody that’s watching as well. Yeah. Looking forward to good conversation.

Stephen Drew 2:12
Brilliant. So Jackie. So for anyone that hasn’t met you before, and they’re joining us today. Do you want to let everyone know, maybe a little bit about your background on what you’re currently up to at the moment? Sure. Yeah,

Jackie Handy 2:25
absolutely. So Well, as you know, my name is Jackie handy. And basically, I help organisations globally embed inclusive practices into their businesses. My phone’s just wrong as well in the other word. My background sort of long time background is I was a recruiter for around 15 years. So I’ve kind of seen that side of the coin, you know, where people are looking to, I would be the person that would source candidates for jobs, and I would work with organisations around the types of candidates they were looking for, and then kind of bring everything together really in that recruitment process. Now, I in my sort of latter years, I moved into learning and development. And most recently, around three, four years ago, I started speaking professionally as well. And, and that has, I actually opened up about my own personal story. So as a gay woman in the corporate world, I found it an interesting perspective, if you like to navigate the world from and as maybe others in the audience will be aware of, you know, there are times where we perhaps hide part of our identity just for fear really have perhaps been overlooked for promotions, perhaps being treated differently. I’d been bullied as a teenager and an into my sort of early adult years. I wanted to avoid that in corporate life. But I guess as I’ve sort of hit my late 40s, I’ve realised that you know, life is too short and and to be inauthentic and and if not, now then when and if not me Then who? So I decided to open up about that and it’s taken me into this wonderful world of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with organisations and now shapes the work that I do. As Tara knows, she and I met through clubhouse I run a diversity and inclusion room every Friday afternoon on clubhouse and and it’s basically what I spend my time doing. I created a book last year about this topic. And and I join him with events like this one, which are really valuable, I hope for those watching. So that’s a little bit of a sort of dampened down version of why I do what I do and what I do.

Stephen Drew 4:57
Amazing. Thank you so much Jackie. So We both have a lot in common that I resonate a lot with that. And in particular, we’ve also seen the way that on wonderful world of recruitment, or, as I like to say, behind the scenes, sometimes in the employment world, so from looking at jobs ourselves and working with companies, it really is interesting to see it from both sides. And I think that’s where it’s gonna be really interesting and valuable. So really amazing. Thank you for that intro. So briefly, Tyra, do you want to tell everyone if they’ve not met you before? And what you’re currently up to? And why you you were excited to get this conversation going? And why you were in Jackie’s clubhouse? And

Tara Cull 5:36
yeah, sure. Yeah, well, so as you know, I teach English to architects. So I’ve been focusing for the last year on working with architects. I am a landscape architect myself. So I’ve been working as a landscape architect for 15 years. And it’s been something that I’ve really enjoyed in the last year really understanding more about cultural diversity being in the realm of helping people with their English. So this is why I’m excited about the conversation, because I meet a lot of people from all over the world. Also wanting to know more about, you know, what aspects of their life can they share. And I think that’s really important. That’s really important to me. But also, I think, from my perspective, I’m also interested in other aspects of diversity as well. And coming into Jackie’s room on a Friday on clubhouse has been really great just to hear different people’s perspectives. You know, it’s not just about cultural diversity. It’s about people who, who are disabled, or the the gender diversity, and sexuality, things like that. And I think these are the things that are sometimes the elephant in the room. So it’s good to be in a space where we can discuss these sorts of things. So I really appreciate that room, Jackie. So thank you very much. And it’s allowed us to meet and have this conversation today. So that’s me in a nutshell. And that’s

Stephen Drew 7:01
brilliant. All right. So let’s just jump into it then. So the kind of set the scene here, because architecture in particular is in an interesting space right now at the moment. So a few years ago, there was white brought on issues such as the gender pay gap. So there used to be a massive gender pay gap in architecture, and that’s slowly being addressed as well. And at the moment, there are some topical things happening such as unpaid overtime. And I think that actual architecture practices are beginning to realise that this is not just the thickburger exercise, that there’s actually a massive value to addressing these issues so that people stay with them a long time, however, what but what’s interesting is that I talked to a lot of people. And it seems to me, and that’s why this question is interesting, that the topic itself, if anyone’s interviewing an architectural practice, or they’re going through interviews, is almost seen as something Do you really talk about? Isn’t that the risk of employers responsibility, or I will say that while architecture is getting much more progressive than before, maybe there has been some old school ways, you know, in the industry. And so while it’s getting there Now, the interesting bit I’d like to get into today, especially when you’re architecture is old school, and it’s a bit like sometimes the use the analogy tracky up, architects will work long into the into the evening, getting buildings done working long hours. And that’s the kind of culture it comes from where it was all about the work. Initially, it was all about the work. The idea of benefits, you know, was kind of seen as Oh, maybe that would be something what Facebook does with, you know, with cushions and the fruit bowl, but actually now I think it’s cottoned on that architectural practices needs to address these things. And actually, it’s really, really important. And actually, to be fair, a lot of really progressive architectural practices do get it right. But to bring it back in, that’s the set the scene I had over the last year or two, I’ve been working with a lot of people who are looking for jobs, and it’s something that never gets brought up in an interview. And it would be really interesting for us all we can open the floor now to get our thoughts on that and how important it is or if it is appropriate to ask these questions when the end in an interview. I mean, what do you think Jackie, about the subject of can you ask about equality and inclusivity in an interview if you’re being interviewed as a candidate

Jackie Handy 9:38
Okay, so here’s the thing you can ask what the hell you like in a

Tara Cull 9:45
good answer.

Jackie Handy 9:46
Yes, you ignore interview as much as it is the interviewers interview, right? So I would say that if there are recruiters in architecture or indeed anywhere The watching this I would say to answer your question or or rather that statement around, you know, should it be brought up? I think actually, it is becoming more and more an important part of organisational culture. And and you’re right, you know, perhaps we don’t hear it mentioned that often by the interviewer. So, you know, first things first, I would say, organisations can and should be doing more to, to not not just do the bare minimum, as you say, you know, tick box exercises don’t solve any global problems or systemic problems in our society. So there needs to be much more of a commitment to a long term solutions. And as I talked about those consistent small steps forward to progress for everybody in that organisation so much so that when it comes to attracting talent, and recruiting talent, and indeed on boarding and retaining that talent in that business, it’s all a natural, holistic part of how that business operates. And so would be, therefore then quite natural for that organisation to bring it up, or at least reference it in the interview in the same way, perhaps they would reference their organisational mission, vision and values. And from a candidate perspective, then we would first of all suggest, well, as with any element of the candidate experience, I would hope that candidates would be researching the organisations that they’re about to be interviewed with. And, and I would say, Well, if if Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is important to you, ask yourself Firstly, why? Because you may get that as a kind of counter question, response from your interviewer. If you start asking about, you know, how diverse and inclusive is this organisation? The interviewer might say, Well, what what is it that interests you in relation to that? You know, so you need to be able to answer that. So rather than just say, well, just seeing if you’re doing the right thing, you know, maybe think about something that, you know, why is it really important to you, and the organisation that you’re choosing to work with, or look at an opportunity with? So I think those things are important. But in terms of then, what a candidate might choose to ask, Well, you know, I would say, look at the research. So when you research that organisational website, for instance, you just look at what they suggest their culture is, and stands for look at what their vision suggests they’re looking to achieve and think about, well, how does that relate? Not necessarily just to diversity, equity and inclusion, but actually to humanity? And its its staff members. So in other words, and I’ll pause for a minute then. But in other words, you know, how does that organisation look to personalise and humanise its values in its everyday language and behaviour.

Stephen Drew 13:26
Amazing, I, there was a lot of good stuff there. And I loved that the point that you mentioned that the interview is just as much for you, as well as the company and they think that it is forgotten. You know, it’s almost sometimes like the spotlights on you, and, and you feel like, Oh, I couldn’t possibly ask anything, or maybe at the interview at the end, because you know, that sometimes some people dread that, like, have you got any questions? And actually, it is a chance to get involved and ask these things. And the other bit that I like that is that you’re right, whatever is important to you, you should bring up in the interview. And as you said, that these things can be in more important or less of an importance right now, and it’s up for you to bring it up. But I kind of agree, I think that everything is up for discussion in an interview. And as long as you I think, ask a question in a friendly, inquisitive way, not a defensive way. You know, if you want to gently ask a genuine question. It’s like, how are things going at the moment where you take in, you know, where are things going in the practice? So we’re currently right now, at events are you up to and in terms of diversity? I mean, what kind of architects or backgrounds are in architecture practices are all great questions rather than going like so what is your equality and diversity? That’s gonna say everyone on the wrong backfoot. So

Jackie Handy 14:53
Ah, but what I think it’s important just to add as well is, you know, I don’t think that people should think That they can only really talk about this stuff if they sort of sit in one of the so called protected characteristics boxes, you know, a marginal group or an underrepresented group. But actually, if you think about it, why is an inclusive organisation important? Why is equity in business important? And why is diversity of representation and thoughts also important? Well, you know, more and more and more organisational success will be, and there’s there’s much evidence that tells us so will be impacted positively by greater diversity and inclusive cultures. So if there is somebody looking to join an organisation, presumably they’re hoping to do that for the long term. And presumably they want to join an organisation that is reputable, that is focusing on its own branding, and is focusing on basically reaching out into the wider stakeholder community for prospective clients, and of course, considering their existing clientele. So there is absolute. I think there’s there’s an absolute important importance attached to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that an organisation prides itself upon for everyone to benefit financially, ethically, and from customer base, because more and more organisations want to do business with inclusive organisations. Amazing. Well,

Stephen Drew 16:39
I think that well, you should absolutely set the scene there. So we’ve got our run across a virtual round of applause. Brilliant Jackie. And so Tara, I’m going to get your thoughts on this as well and kind of get involved but just before we move on as well. So anyone that’s watching, if you want to ask Jackie a question, or me or Tyler or as all was all open here, or if you want to add a statement or chip in your thoughts, that’s totally cool. So Amani says hi, so Hi,

Tara Cull 17:09
Imani. Hi, Amani.

Stephen Drew 17:10
Wow. And then we have an anonymous user who has said, So okay, is pG 13 terrorists and that we’ve got no twitch comments. We’re all good. Yeah, it’s all appropriate. So one LinkedIn user says the under representation of many ethnic groups translates not only to the inequities within the profession, but also to missed opportunities in the business. And I kinda like that phrase in the end of missed opportunities. And I think that, actually, that most architecture practices that I spoke to, and a lot of, for instance, I work with a lot of architecture practices in London. And there’s a few great employers that I can think of, and I’ll mention them because they’re great employers, Skidmore is a mirror I have a fantastic diverse, you know, a range of architects, professionals, from all, you know, all types of backgrounds. And that’s not the that’s not the point is not they’re just great people. But I’ve heard a few of the team leaders say specifically, that that mixture of creative people from different walks of life adds to the during this a quarter of the makeup of what makes Skidmore Owings and Merrill, a great architectural practice. So I mean, I think I think that statement is great. Tara or Jackie Tara, I’m conscious that I want to get you involved. Is there anything? Any thoughts that come to your mind at the moment? Yeah, I read one or two comments in the short time.

Tara Cull 18:33
Sure. Thank you, Jackie, I think a lot of what you were saying is just you hit the nail on the head. And I think it’s really important. And I think as you were talking, one thing that I was thinking is that so with a lot of the people that I work with, for example, they might be going for a job, and in an English speaking country, and they may notice certain things or differences between where they’ve come from and where they are. And so one thing that I tried to do with with them is to ask them about what those differences are, what does it mean to you? And how does that translate? So particularly working with architects, I might say, what’s, what do you notice about urban developments in Brazil? So I have lots of Brazilian students compared to Australia. And what does that mean to because sometimes they’re not necessarily open to share that or they’re afraid to share these things. And I think it’s important to be able to do that. So one thing that I try and encourage is share that when you’re talking about projects, for example, you might say, this is one thing I notice about the difference, and then you can get an understanding of how the business actually feels about those differences or, or what their opinions are, and then you’re welcoming them into your world a little bit and then getting a good understanding. So I think it’s really it’s it’s really essential, sometimes for some people to feel like they can share aspects of their culture. So that’s one thing that I noticed that comes up for me a lot. And, and also, I would I have a question for you in terms of. So I have a lot of people who would say, I don’t really know what to share about my culture, I feel sometimes, like, I don’t want to be it to be seen as a handicap. And that that happens every day. It’s, you know, my English is difficult, it’s difficult for me to speak with confidence. I feel like it’s holding me back. But I don’t want them to feel like it’s a handicap. So how could you address that in a way in an interview so that you feel supported? And not like that what you’re bringing is a handicap?

Jackie Handy 20:41
Yeah. Well, it’s a great question, isn’t it? And, you know, I think it’s so interesting, because I know a lot of the work that both of you do is from the candidate side of things if you like. So I really think that the organization’s themselves really have got a lot to not answer for, but a lot, a big part to play in this journey that candidates experience, because there is so much talent across the globe. And especially perhaps, although I don’t profess to be an expert in the architecture space. But you know, I can imagine great architects are pretty tough to come by, right. But they’re going to be highly talented, well educated individuals who have worked to perfect their craft, right. And so, and they will have done that in whatever language they have done that in. Right. And, and I think that organisations really should be thinking about ways to proactively you hear me talk about proactive a lot, you know, but proactively look to address either linguistic challenges, or indeed any other element of diversity that could create or be perceived to create barriers. Right? So I give you a great example here. A colleague of mine, who is a wheelchair user, will often say, and I think she’s absolutely right, when she does that, you know, she is not disabled, it is society that disables her. Right. So in other words, it is the barriers, those barriers that that many of us don’t see, because we have able bodied privilege, perhaps that, that that limit her progress in the world, not her, right, because she has quite happily worked to live with her uniqueness, if you like. And it is the outside world if you like that hinders her progress. So let’s just flip that coin back to, you know, people who perhaps for them, English is not a first language. If the employer firstly understands that early stages, right, and then the employee should take some ownership about perhaps the pace at which they speak, the time they allow for the individual to not only comprehend the question, but of course, that inner translation that’s going on, and then the thought that goes on, because the individual wants to give a great response, right? So, so the, if the interviewer can take the time, to, to give permission for time, that’s great. And then for the candidate, who, of course, will naturally be doing that, to be able to say, just simply, please, bear with me. I’m just, I’m digesting your question, or I’m thinking about your question, in order that I can give you the best example. And, and I say to people listening, get comfortable with the silence. You don’t want a long drawn out, pause, of course. But give yourself permission to think about a well thought through response that you feel comfortable in articulating, rather than feel compelled to answer immediately because of the fear of silence. And actually then fail to present yourself in your great qualities at their best. Does that answer your question? A little? Yeah, absolutely.

Unknown Speaker 24:49
I think the one thing that you were talking about too, which I think is good is is allowing yourself the time to say yeah, I need a bit more time or or allowing us To say that, and that’s okay. Because often people are afraid to say that I don’t I don’t, I don’t want to be seen as weak or, or not as good as other people. So I think that’s a really good point. So great advice. I

Jackie Handy 25:12
think it’s really important. Personally, I think that it doesn’t matter whether English is or is not your first language. I do think that everyone should take a moment to just digest any question that they’re asked, in order to then give their best response. So I don’t see that as you know, segregating people for whom English is not their first language against those who in English is

Stephen Drew 25:43
amazing. Look, I think that’s great. We’ve actually found out now So Ron Harris is actually the anonymous person. And tight and so what as so Jackie, Yvonne is the buyer in the BIM, and I’ve known him for quite some time, but you’re gonna have to check your site. And unfortunately, I do not know how to fix your computer. But I am glad you brought that to the chat. And I think it’s great. Alicia has dropped us a little note as well saying, Hi, I have found that a number of companies have the right values when you ask, and they promote them on their website, etc. But when you work for them, it’s a different story, no transparency or ability to question it without jeopardising your job. And that’s a tricky situation. And we’ve all we’ve all jumped into that. Now, what was interesting, Jackie, when you were talking, I’m thinking about what Vaughn said about missed opportunity. So interesting, isn’t it that I think that maybe an employer, as you say, who’s worried about, oh, I need to be ethical, I need to be inclusive, and I need to isolate that tick box exercise, it’s actually a massive missed opportunity. Because to embrace it creates opportunity, because I found that human beings, if we all have an understanding between us and you’re accepting of everyone’s situation, you’re more likely to pull together, you’re more likely that teamwork, you’re more likely to have camaraderie. And people are more likely, if you run a practice and you’re accepting and you’re inclusive of others, people are going to stick with you during the difficult times, because you’re you know, is that human thing. Whereas I think that what I’ve seen little examples before, so a literal example would have been that I’ve seen people that maybe they have responsibilities, maybe they have a family, and because they’re a single mother, they’ve not been able to go to a nine to six job when actually and then so the employer will look for that. Whereas if you hire this fantastic mother who’s super smart, and you just need to be a little bit flexible, you need to be a little bit inclusive, bayko got an inclusive of the time requirements, then what you get is an amazing employee who’s really appreciative and you can do great stuff. And I think just to jump in on the leatrice question here, that’s what I is disappointing about this, this point, you raise the ratio, that is, it shouldn’t be just an opportunity for the website to say, oh, that’ll do, let’s get a picture of that event. Because that really doesn’t fix anything. And I think it’s about the situations, we’re talking of genuinely understanding people’s situations and being like, it’s no problem to me, you’re part of the family. That’s what gets people to stay in a company for a long, long period of time. And I think like putting a picture on the website, as you said, Alicia, it gets old, real quick, because when you’re in the desk, you know, that’s when it’s really important. And what’s really short sighted by the architecture practices or employers is that if you’re only saying what’s great on the website, you’re not solving the core problem. And actually, that will really from a business point of view catch up with you, because you lose people people go, which has a massive, economical effect on the business. And so that’s kind of my interpretation on a T shirt. But I’m more than happy if anyone would like to build on this point that Alicia raises here, or add to what I’ve said, I mean, Jackie, do you want to weigh in on what your thoughts are?

Jackie Handy 29:15
And when you’re quite right, you know, I think and thank you Alicia for that point, because, you know, resonates so much with me. You know, and, and and to Vaughn’s point as well, it’s good to know who wrote that comment. So thank you for that too. Yeah, I went a lot of the time. The the start of the journey that I take organisations on, in terms of embedding inclusive practices into their organisation is to really uncover how diversity and inclusion aligns with their organisational values. So in other words, how are they really looking to bring inclusion to life in it through those values? You know, we often see don’t win organisations professing, you know, honesty and integrity and teamwork and passion and all those kind of buzzwords, really, but what does this? What does it really mean? And so I think that this it, this gives a wonderful question for any candidate to ask, in that, you know, I notice, for example, when I was researching your organisation, that some of your values are x, y, and Zed, so there, you’ve already just demonstrated there that you’ve researched, yet simple, simple way of doing that. So tell me how those values come to life, in terms of the way in which you look to proactively include different people in the organisation. Because the way I see it, inclusion and the feelings if you like, the human feelings that come with inclusion and feeling included feeling like you belong, they very much echo Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which if people have heard of that, is the the layers that we the kind of motivational layers that we go through as human beings, until we get to a fulfilment phase, and it’s known as self actualization in Maslow’s terms. But some of those key layers that we go through is that we want to feel safe, we want to feel valued, for our contribution, and we want to feel like we belong. And so those are fundamental for our fulfilment. And so to Alicia’s point, so many people go in, and the, the reality does not match the promise, and it feels inauthentic. Because cultures are not about lists of values, cultures are about the day to day, language and behaviour of the employees and explicitly as well, the leadership teams in organisations. And, you know, as I often say, to people, we copy what we see every day, right? So you can turn around and say, are we stand for this, and our values mean that, but it is the behaviour and the language of every employee within that organisation that ultimately shapes its culture? So what could you do? And I’ll keep this brief now, but what could you do as a candidate to see, well, is the reality the same as the promise for this company or not? My advice, actually, would be to do some digging on LinkedIn, and look for people who have previously worked for the organisation. And, and reach out to them and ask them what their experience was like. And you can then ask those questions that you may feel less comfortable asking in that interview. Now, bear in mind, of course, that there may be some slightly disgruntled people that have left the organisation or whatever. But it’s worth and ask, because you’re going to get rather than places like glass door where you either get sort of five star everything’s wonderful from people who are still there, or it’s a terrible place to work from, from the disgruntled people that have left. You aren’t perhaps more likely to have that one to one personalised experiential testimonial from some of the people that perhaps weren’t there before. And you can get a sense of what their progression was. And of course, what their experience was. That’s just an idea.

Stephen Drew 33:30
Amazing. Wow. I think that’s some extremely practical advice. So thank you, Jackie. And Alicia, really great that you, you know, brought this because that’s what it’s all about. It’s fantastic that we can talk. It’s an opportunity for anyone here though, to add. So if you’ve got a question, feel free to jump it in, or share your thoughts. Now, Tara, I was just conscious before I’ve got some serious lactis a big message that I really want. Well, it looks awesome. But just before that, Tara, is there any forts you want to add or anything before the Cecilia bombshell?

Tara Cull 34:09
It’s a as we’re about to say it is a complex issue. And I think it’s hard to just address in one, one video, isn’t it? But one thing that I was thinking as you were talking Jackie to I think a couple of weeks ago, we talked about how sometimes a company might get somebody in because they want to play that we are diverse. So they’ll, they’ll go for someone in particular because they want to show that they appreciate culture and diversity. And I think it’s really important what you’re saying to research the company research and speak to as many people as you can, because if you’ve been hired for a certain reason, and perhaps your different background is that reason, but if you’re not necessarily supported for that, you need to make sure that you understand because I’ve worked with people too, for Sample who have taken a step back from their career, because they’ve come from somewhere where they’ve had to start sort of from lower down. And then they don’t necessarily know if their career progression will be supported. And because they didn’t ask in the interview, or they didn’t do their research beforehand. And I think that’s an important aspect. You know, sometimes people might come to a job, and just take the job or, or go for whatever they can get. So I think that’s really important, what you’re saying about, do your research, understand, talk to as many people as you can, maybe even somebody sent in a similar situation, from a similar culture, understand what their experiences as well. And the other thing that I was thinking about too, is a lot. Particularly if you have very diverse teams, the ways that we all communicate, are so different, we have different tendencies in cultures. So I often talk about the book, the culture map by Aaron Maya, and I think this is really helped me understand so much more and appreciate the value of the different ways that people communicate. And, you know, some cultures are more explicit, some are less explicit. And so this is also an important aspect to remember. So that’s all I wanted to add, I think, you know, you’ve really covered a lot of things. It’s, it’s really great.

Jackie Handy 36:22
I think it’s really, so and sorry, Steven, just to sort of respond, if I may, I think I think you hit the nail on the head with something there is about, you know, why do people want the job? And and then this links to the overriding questions, Steven, that you began with, you know, can we ask about this an interview? So, you know, we have to appreciate that, that people are in different circumstances, right. That’s what makes up this world. There may be people that are literally, you know, perhaps they found themselves or rather, it’s never yourself, that gets made redundant, always your position, right. But perhaps you found that your previous position has been made redundant. And so you’re looking to get into something quickly to be able to earn some money. Maybe instead, you’re moving from one organisation to another for growth and progression. So the reason behind the job that you want as well, and how long term you see that job being will also perhaps play a role as to the questions you will ask. But, you know, I don’t ever think that people should be frightened to ask a question that will help them be their best self within that organisation. And I genuinely don’t believe that any employer worth their salt, right? Should be offended in any way, shape, or form by somebody doing so.

Stephen Drew 37:48
Amazing. Yeah. I think you covered it so well, so well, Tyra. Jackie, I don’t even need to be here. Really. I’ll just keep coughing stuff up on the screen. I couldn’t about myself loving the energy. Alicia says thank you. But actually, Alicia, thank you for asking the question, because then we can all talk about it. That’s where. And so I alluded to Cecilia’s message, which I think we’ve all seen here as well, Oh, my gosh, Jackie, I’m kind of cutting you off. I’m so sorry. You have to kind of just go. But this is really important that we show us the series matters because it’s well thought out. And I think it’s really great perspective. So, Cecilia Pearson says, this is a very complex issue, where where you started diversifying the types of people in architecture and construction industry. Seeing as an architect, sure education is extremely prohibited cost wise, we see a narrowing diversity simply due to the social economic constraints. At an industry level, you have to be careful, diversity doesn’t become a buzzword. Interesting, and many firms have an extremely non diverse manager. Hmm. So yes, a lower level personnel is diverse, but management Not at all. I mean, woman. Okay. All right. So I’m gonna take it off the screen a bit, and we will bring it back. But I just think it’s unfair that Jackie is kind of hanging up it is Cecilia, a really great account of video. And so while I was talking about some great architectural practices, who are progressive, I think it would be naive to say if everyone’s there yet. And it’s, it seems like we’re going in the right way. So as some practices, architectural companies are embracing it, and perhaps some are still on the curve on the way there. So does anyone have any thoughts that they want to jump in wave on Cecilia’s points of view, Jackie are Thoreau’s and which, who would like to go first or second or just check out the door everyone

Jackie Handy 39:58
should go first.

That’s right. I’m going to actually pass the baton to you get an okay. First with everything, but I’m going to go ahead. Oh, gosh,

Tara Cull 40:08
I think there’s a lot of things in this. And I think I really think it’s important that we address that idea of diversity has become a buzzword, because I think we spoke about this a couple of weeks ago. It definitely is. And, and it’s like, people want to include the token person, or the token diversity. I think it’s it’s a really difficult thing to to address. And I think that it’s true that we do see a lot of examples of non diverse management, managing diverse teams. And so how do you how do you understand different people’s perspectives? If you don’t? If you don’t have that understanding of diversity? So that’s kind of how I see it? I mean, Jackie, I think you’ll have a better understanding

Jackie Handy 40:58
of that, you know, I think you make a valid point. And, and Cecilia, thank you for the, you know, the contribution because I totally agree that, you know, diversity without inclusion is pointless. Right. Let me be clear on that. And, of course, you know, I say diversity and inclusion, I also mean, equity as well. And and, you know, the, the socio economic point that you mentioned, I’m just reading back there. Yeah, so we see a narrowing. Now, I mentioned, I know very little, if anything about architecture, I’m afraid. But I do recognise that, you know, if there are, if it is costly to train people or to receive training in architecture, then hence, that probably is where that comment comes from. So I hope I’ve interpreted it correctly, I think,

Tara Cull 41:49
correct, Jackie?

Jackie Handy 41:50
I, okay. So, there’s, this is where we go from the individual to the systemic nature of what needs to change in our world, right? It’s the you raise a few points in this great comment. So yes, how can we make it more accessible for more people, you know, to that perhaps have different or less privileged socio economic circumstances to enter into the profession, because there are probably a whole host of potential potential talent that the industry is missing out on. So of course, then what happens is, you get pawns smaller ponds to fish from, if you like, when looking for talent. And of course, they typically, those ponds will often be similar types of people, in this case, perhaps slightly more wealthy, in certain, you know, if they come from certain parts of the world. So there is, is one thing, so we have to ask a bigger systemic problem, question of how can we make architecture more accessible for all. The second thing that you mentioned is something I hear much more frequently in other organisations too, is you tend to have diversity in the lower rankings of organisations. But suddenly, it becomes much more homogenous. In other words, everyone’s like, looks the same. And as you also say, often it is men that are dominating our boardrooms. And, you know, once again, you know, this comes from a number of different things. So, first of all, let’s, let’s be clear, the three of us are not representative of the entire world, right, and society. So even us doing our very best to discuss this topic, as best we can, can only ever do it from our own perspectives, or indeed, the perspectives that we have taken the time to understand in detail. And this is the key, because organisations and the senior leadership teams within if they have a successful business, they always have all the time. People always think, well, if it ain’t broke, do I need to fix it? Right? We’re doing just fine as we are. Yeah, maybe we’ll tick a box and we’ll have a woman in HR because that often happens, doesn’t it? And, you know, there is a term for this former client world client of mine calls this a pink ghettos, you know, so it’s almost like the areas of an organisation where women gravitate too often in customer service, often in HR. So we know it’s a thing and you know it again, this is almost like a systemic process in business in the same way is that we have these stereotypes in the home that you know, the man does the drilling and the woman does. As the washing and things like that, these are all sort of stereotypes that we have to start to push against in order to get the best from everyone in this in society. So we can’t do that if leadership teams don’t take the time to understand not just what sits in each diversity box, if you like in those marginalised underrepresented groups, but actually, we need to take time to understand every human being to the left and to the right of us, recognising that there are component parts to identity that crossover and we know this is intersectionality. And a woman’s experience from one part of the world will be very different to a woman’s experience in another, or a woman of colour or black woman, that that will be a different experience, or a lesbian woman or a disabled woman, and so forth. So there are those component parts of identity that shape our experience, as I like to call it, as you can see my mind map. You know, we all have that unique map of the world, which shapes our experience and our belief systems and our personal values. So it’s so so important that we, we we look at the boxes, as it were of characteristics, but that we don’t limit ourselves to that. And so people like me, are doing our best to help senior teams, which are often male dominated, to fully appreciate not just the ethical nature of diversity, equity and inclusion. And I put the emphasis on equity and inclusion here, but also the business case for it. Because we have to really,

we have to get under the skin of what’s important to people in a business and enough so that will encourage change. And it as much as I would like to say that I could go out into an organisation and say, it’s the right thing to do, to have diversity of thought and representation in your business, it is the right thing to do to value everybody’s contributions, give the people everybody a seat at the table and a voice at that table. As much as I would like to do that. And it’s what I believe, I also recognise the reality of the situation is that some people need to know that by not having it a consequences will be on their bottom line. And those missed opportunities that Vaughn referred to. So I think it’s about you know, drip feeding the benefits through this. And I, in my work desperately tried to promote the positives of diversity, equity and inclusion, by suggesting small things that people can do differently, to become more inclusive and value the human beings around them, rather than to focus so much on, you know, oh, you’re a little bit bias. And oh, you can’t say that. And you mustn’t do that. We will all make mistakes on this journey, it happens because we’re all so unique. And that’s beautiful. The key is to be able to take those small steps to progress, knowing how it will benefit us keep those benefits front and centre, and change will slowly start to happen. That’s my dream anyway,

Tara Cull 48:24
I think this is such an important conversation, isn’t it, and the more we speak about these things, the more clubhouse rooms you have talking about it, and I love what you were talking to about, you know, even us three, our perspective is so different to another three people. So we need to listen to everyone and, and have give people the platform to be able to, to listen to them and to and just for them to give their opinion, even though we might not necessarily agree with it all the time. It has to be there,

Jackie Handy 48:58
that is so important to remember as well. So thank you for prompting me on that because, you know, we don’t necessarily have to agree with somebody, his lifestyle or map of the world, their values, their belief systems in order to be able to respect it. And in order to be able to include it in the wider mix. You know, diversity does come in many forms. You know, it isn’t just it’s not always immediately visible, the component parts of somebody’s identity, and that’s really important. You need to remember that we know that there’s a lot of neurodiversity and that’s what brings that wonderful diversity of thinking, creativeness and innovation to things that are probably really important in architecture. You know, so there there is just so much that we can that we can benefit from not just as a human race, but also in business, of course.

Tara Cull 49:57
So what what’s one thing that you would say? For example, in to somebody who’s doing an interview, so I know we’ve been focusing on the candidate, what is one thing you might do to sort of bring that out in an interview? Or is it is it not really possible to do?

Unknown Speaker 50:14
Good, you know, in general, what I am

Jackie Handy 50:18
his his thing, it’s it. As you can imagine, it’s another long response. And I’ll say I’m conscious of our time.

Tara Cull 50:25
Sorry, Steven.

Jackie Handy 50:28
There’s a couple of things at play here. So first of all, psychological safety is a real thing. And it’s a real important thing. And psychological safety is as as good a reference as the Aaron Meyer culture map that you referenced earlier, coined by Amy Edmondson, it basically means that you create an environment whereby people feel safe to take risks to, to say they don’t know to be vulnerable. But in order to create that psychological, safe, psychologically safe environment, it often needs that person to be vulnerable first, to say they don’t know first. So from an interviewer perspective, one of the things that they could do, is to be able to say to the person in front of them, you know, often people think about so actually present the question, often people wonder, you know, will, will I feel included in an organisation and, in fact, the interviewer might say, I felt like that myself, actually, the interviewer might choose to share a little to the level that they are comfortable of their own identity. In order to then hopefully, this is the intention, reciprocate, get reciprocation from the person in front of them. So again, it’s about proactively encouraging that psychologically safe space. And then finally, the second thing would be that I actually believe that employers should change the way they interview. Right, and, and attract people into their workplace. I think a lot of the essential questions don’t get answered until or asked or answered until later in the process. And I actually think that if organisations, again, proactively changed the way they encourage people to apply for jobs by, for example. So rather than just saying we actively encourage applications from this, that in the other section of society, which is a good start, but more than that, we proactively take steps to ensure our spaces are equitable, and our environments enable everyone to thrive. So if you need to be in a quiet space, to work at your best, if you need flexible, working to be at your best, if you need a darker room to be at your best, if you need time to respond, to be at your best, tell us and we we will actively seek ways to accommodate that. And, and or if there’s something else, right, because by again, by being able to start that process and say, Look, here are some examples of how we will not just we say we will, but how we will accommodate you, in order for you to thrive in a role with us. And you’re much more likely to have someone say, Well, actually, I don’t need a dark room. But I could do with a speaker to because I’m hard of hearing, for instance, or, you know, or whatever it might be. And, and I think if employees worked a little more like that, and then thought about their entire interview process. You know, some people just don’t work well on the q&a. But maybe they would work well, if they were given a half day to actually work on a project with somebody as part of the interview process, doing doing the job rather than actually just answering questions about how they would do the job. Maybe that’s the way the whole thing needs to change. You can tell I have a lot to say on it. But there we go. That’s

Stephen Drew 54:26
amazing. This has been easy for me. I’ve just enjoyed having to sit back and being absorbed in the conversation. But that’s what it’s all about. I mean, right on that note, though, I can see the time and where we’re getting to. And Jackie I know you’re you’re super flat or busy, exciting stuff, of course and terror as well. But on that point, we’ll put the big gun with a big big gun. Yeah. Oh, John’s sneaked in other words at the end saying and then a dad mentioned Asperger’s is bad enough being short and left handed. Well, john, you shouldn’t have to feel That way as well, I know you’re just joining us now. But on that note, we have to move on. But I’m sure we can pick up this conversation. Again, I owner agrees. The point is, if you just joined us now, you can watch the replay, but more importantly as well. So let’s talk about where everyone can find us and pick up the conversation. Jackie handy. So if someone wants to ask you a burning question after this as well, how can they reach out and find you on LinkedIn or your website? How do we get a hold of you, Jackie?

Jackie Handy 55:32
Thanks, Steven. And it’s been a real pleasure talking to you both, by the way. So thanks for the opportunity to do that. Yeah, LinkedIn, you’ll find me Jackie handy. In fact, just google Jackie handy, and you’ll find me. I’ve got a text on there so that you aren’t googling or typing. Find me. If you want to be part of the clubhouse room. If you’re on clubhouse, then that’s three to four. Every Friday afternoon UK time it’s called how inclusive are you? Tara is often there with us. And by all means, reach out. And I actually also do a clubhouse room with a set of recruiter colleagues on a Wednesday evening. So this evening five till six nail that interview is also on clubhouse. It’s also you’re welcome to join. And just a last thing for me, john, mentioned your Aspergers and, and think about all the wonderful things you can bring to an organisation because of your Aspergers. So the way in which it helps you navigate your role and, and how it keeps you focused or whatever it might be. And of course, let’s also remember Mrs. To everyone. If an organisation doesn’t know what we need, then how can they help us to thrive?

Stephen Drew 57:02
Amazing, absolutely applies. You’ve been a fresh breath of air on here. I mean, it’s been great to talk about this topic and dive into it. You’re right, we while we can’t fake it. It’s a topic which you we can discuss at great length. However, I think this was a great overview. And hopefully it’s given our people a lot of thoughts. And we did we did we actually did we tackled the question, can you ask about these things? And the answer is, of course you can. Yes. So you do all right, on that note, Tara at arky English or I’ve got a shortcut as well. I can say certifying car, Google archy.

I like try. I like try.

Yeah. Oh, Google, Tara, you could find it as well. Yeah,

Tara Cull 57:51
I do highly recommend coming to join us on club house. I think that that room is fantastic. I haven’t been able to be on the last few weeks. And I keep thinking to myself, Oh, I really need to get home for this comp house today. I would love to go but hopefully this week, I could make it.

Stephen Drew 58:07
Great. We can sneak it in on that. No, we’re gonna round up but you can join the community off the architecture, social and architecture, social comm forward slash Join. me and Tom are actually we’re making a course at the moment and you can find this as part of it. It’s all completely free. And this will go under the title smack bang at the front. At the front, about under the title. Can you ask about equality increase the diversity in an interview. Thank you everyone for being here. Jackie and Tara, stay on the line. One second. I will end the live stream now. Thank you everyone for joining us and asking questions and offering your thoughts.

Thanks everyone next time.

Bye bye bye.


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