Originally published on glassdoor.com on June 15, 2012. Re-posted with permission.
Finding the right job or company is a challenge in itself, but for the LGBT job seeker, there are some specific concerns or needs to consider. In honor of LGBT pride month, Glassdoor has enlisted the help of two experienced LGBT career experts to offer some key advice for LGBT job seekers. The below tips are courtesy of:
- Kirk Snyder (KS), a nationally recognized LGBT career expert, and author of Lavender Road to Success, which has been hailed by critics as a top career guide for the LGBT community.
- Julie Beach (JB), Associate Director, Career Development at Out & Equal Workplace Advocates.
LGBT Job Seeker Job Search Tips:
What should LGBT job seekers look for in a company or specific job in today’s market?
KS: “LGBT job seekers should search out companies with a diverse workforce and specifically look for diversity at top levels of management. Keep in mind that you want to make sure you will be given the chance to succeed based on who you are, so don’t knock your head against a ceiling of bigotry. Furthermore, place yourself in an environment where you can succeed based on your abilities and you’re not held down because of your sexual orientation or gender identity.”
JB: “All job seekers, including LGBT job seekers, should do their research first to become familiar with a company and the company’s business environment prior to interviewing. LGBT candidates should go a step further in this research, and of top importance is finding out the company’s stance on LGBT employees. For example, does the company’s diversity policy include LGBT employees named specifically? I encourage LGBT job seekers to check out a company’s diversity policies first, which can often be found on the corporate website. Also, there are several helpful websites to learn about jobs, programs and workplace factors geared towards LGBT workers, including “20 Steps to an Out & Equal Workplace,” Out & Equal’s LGBT CareerLink and LGBT employee resource groups. ”
What are some top companies for LGBT employees?
KS: “There are a lot of great companies out there. Some of my favorites include Deloitte, Cisco, Ernst & Young and Apple. Other great companies include those that include sexual orientation in their EEO statements, as well as companies that use philanthropic dollars to support the LGBT community and diversity. Other top companies for LGBT workers can be found by visiting Reaching Out MBA and Out & Equal. ”
Many employers have made great strides when it comes to equality and diversity efforts. However, there is still some work to do. Where and how can employers improve today to make working environments even more LGBT-friendly?
KS: “Companies need to examine their management practices and look for a true balance of individualities in management positions. Companies should also consider same sex health benefits, providing safe spaces for employees to speak out about discrimination or harassment they may experience in the workplace, and supporting the LGBT community with corporate dollars through charitable causes. By doing some of these things, employers will enhance their ‘street cred’ as an LGBT-friendly company.”
During a job interview, how should a LGBT job candidate go about asking certain questions that perhaps another candidate may not ask? Is there anything to keep in mind for LGBT job candidates?
KS: “LGBT job candidates should keep in mind that the goal is that sexual orientation should be a complete non-issue at work and that includes the hiring process. Be yourself. If a potential employer doesn’t want to hire you because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, you don’t want to work there because you won’t be allowed to succeed in your own shoes.”
JB: “During your first few rounds of interviews, I recommend staying focused on explaining your value to the company and how you will solve the company’s problems. When a company is getting close to making you an offer, that’s when it’s best to start asking deeper questions, including those related to domestic partner insurance coverage, paid time off (PTO) to care for a partner or a partner’s immediate family, or federal tax parity for domestic partner insurance benefits. Whether or not to “come out” in a job interview is very important and an individual decision that should be based on one’s own values and life situation. The fact of the matter is that the LGBT community still has a long way to go to achieve workplace equality and the fact that one can be denied a job offer due to their LGBT status should never be glossed over.”