Commercials have the power to make or break a company’s brand. Brands certainly don’t need to showcase their whole mission statement in a 30-second commercial, and many don’t, understandably preferring to focus on what their brand offers consumers. Some companies, however, manage the feat of articulating their service in a way that beautifully (and succinctly) embodies the heart of the brand. One brand that always represents itself in such a way is Indeed.
Indeed’s “A New Beginning” Campaign
While performative activism runs rampant during Pride, some companies are actually using Pride Month to bring awareness to the discrimination people in the LGBTQ+ community face. Indeed’s new campaign, “A New Beginning,” featuring Taylor, a nonbinary individual going to a job interview, is a wonderful example of how to be a respectful (and actually helpful) ally during Pride. This isn’t the first time that Indeed has elevated marginalized voices. The company also launched campaigns during Black History Month and Women’s History Month to raise awareness of the effect the pandemic had on individuals in these communities.
Indeed’s newest commercial opens to a shot of Taylor fixing their hair and practicing their introduction. Their pre-interview anxiety is mitigated somewhat by reading Indeed’s tips for nonbinary interviewees (and yes, Indeed actually has such articles on their site). When Taylor goes into the interview, the interviewer introduces himself with his pronouns and asks if Taylor wants to share their preferred pronouns. The instant relief that washes over Taylor is tangible, and they respond with, “Thank you for asking. I use they/them pronouns.”
Indeed didn’t just publish this commercial and call it quits on their allyship. Instead, the campaign is further propelling Indeed’s #EmpathyatWork program that provides resources for underrepresented groups in the workplace. Indeed has always been about helping “all people get jobs,” and it’s a mission statement that’s clearly at the forefront of the campaign.
While this commercial is just one step on the journey to becoming inclusive and respectful to a marginalized community, I personally think it was a very moving step. But before we go off on a tangent of praising Indeed for this “New Beginning,” we need to remember that a single commercial can’t function as the end-all-be-all in the sphere of activism and allyship.
We Can Do Better
— Robert Preseau (@robertpreseau) June 22, 2021
There’s always room for improvement, especially when it comes to trying to undo years of implicit and explicit societal practices of discrimination. Giving people an avenue to make their gender identity/identifiers known is honestly the least most companies could do, so it’s good that we’re starting to see more opportunity to publicly display pronouns. Some social media apps like Instagram allow you to add your pronouns in your profile. The apps that do not have a specific section for pronouns usually have a bio section, where people can add their pronouns in a blurb about themselves. A pronoun option should really become a staple in every social media app, and I would love to see job sites like Indeed and Linkedin add pronouns to their basic information pages. Asking about pronouns and accepting them needs to become a common practice in both our personal and professional lives.
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Indeed strives to be inclusive, with its three pillars being diversity, inclusion, and belonging. The three pillars are based on their core values: hiring without bias and/or discrepancies; giving all viewpoints a seat at the table in decision-making; and creating an environment that is safe for everyone, so that “everyone can bring their authentic selves to work and make it easy for others to do the same.”
Indeed was also ranked as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” in 2021. Through the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s benchmarking survey, the Corporate Equality Index (CEI), Indeed scored 100%; it passed each policy evaluation (e.g. domestic partner benefits and transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits) with flying colors.
This #PrideMonth we applaud the recipients of a 💯 score on the @HRC Corporate Equality Index whose policies, practices, and benefits help center the #WorkplaceDignity of LGBTQ+ employees!https://t.co/ffUqdCDPcE
— RFK Human Rights (@RFKHumanRights) June 16, 2021
So, adding a pronouns section to their job applications seems to be a logical step that Indeed should take if they publish commercials like the one they did this month. The commercial causes people to assume they support the LGBTQ+ community. Clearly, Indeed is a fervent supporter of the movement, though they might look into taking steps to further their allyship.
For example, searching for the LGBTQ+ ad on Google does not immediately bring you to their commercial. It does bring you to advertised jobs regarding LGBTQ+ work, but this is the bare minimum of any job-search site. And when you do find the campaign, it leads to the question: where else can you find proof of Indeed’s allyship? One ad during Pride Month does not mean a company is dedicated to representation — as we mentioned, many companies use Pride Month for performative allyship. Indeed can further their representation by creating LGBTQ+ ad campaigns regularly, not just in the month of June, when it’s deemed relevant.
How To Incorporate Pronouns Into Your Job Search
The job search process can be stressful on its own, but often, gender-diverse, transgender and non-binary people experience additional barriers and stressors due to discrimination. Let Indeed help# #LGBTQ+ #JobSearch #PrideMonth2021https://t.co/Y3V7bQWtxY pic.twitter.com/uLNyROELET
— Indeed (@indeed) June 23, 2021
In Indeed’s commercial, Taylor is shown looking at an Indeed webpage with job search tips for transgender and nonbinary individuals, including where to list your pronouns on cover letters and resumes. They stress the importance of providing your pronouns throughout your application documents to reinforce them. They also address the common fear of being misgendered or discriminated against based on gender identity in an interview with Slay Latham, the Employer Engagement Coordinator at the SF LGBT Center. Latham says, “If someone doesn’t want to interview you or hire you because of your pronouns, it’s better to know that before you get further along in the application process.” If you think that your pronouns are going to get in the way of being hired, you might also want to rethink where you’re applying to.
before I go for a month I just wanted to say I went for a job interview today and the person interviewing goes “oh wait, I do have one final question. What are you pronouns?” and that’s genuinely the best job interview i’ve ever been to in my life.
I want this job so badly!!!
— Hannah Smith (@hannahrksmith_) June 21, 2021
At the same time, it’s understandable that many job seekers are hesitant to share their pronouns — it is, unfortunately, still taboo. And while, as Latham says, it’s better to know a company’s biases prior to the stress of the hiring process, it can be hard to speak up. This is especially true for those looking to be hired quickly without hurdles, or first-time job hunters looking to get their foot in the door and begin their career. FairyGodBoss, whom Indeed partnered with, suggests having references use your pronouns as a way to open a dialogue without overtly placing a title on your identity.
There are also subtle ways to insert pronouns into the conversation should a recruiter follow-up. For example, one can ask the recruiters’ pronouns and then share their own. If it’s still too stressful to discuss at the beginning of a conversation, a follow-up email can include pronouns within the signature. Finally, should a misgendering occur mid-interview, that is a great time to casually address the misgendering, then move on with the conversation.
One more quick thing… I referred a friend for a job opening at my company, and as part of her interview prep, she asked me for my pronouns. This is the first time that someone’s casually asked me this and I inwardly screamed in queer joy.
— Shelby Miksch (@StarliteShelby) June 23, 2021
Another suggestion Indeed gives: look at the company’s policies, mission and values. For example, do they have a yearly diversity report that outlines their employee data (such as gender identities in leadership roles) available? Do they have groups within the organization for marginalized employees? (Indeed has many inclusion groups within the company; some include a Black Inclusion Group, Women at Indeed Group, and iPride Inclusion Group.) If a company does not provide this information outright, it could be a warning sign that inclusion is not a core value.
Overall, Indeed has talked the talk and walked the walk and is dedicated to equality amongst all of its employees and the job seekers it assists. While there can (and should) always be growth, Indeed’s recent ad campaign is a step in a progressive direction. And should you be an LGBTQ+ member searching for jobs that embrace who you are, Indeed is a company that will be an ally to you.
What did you think of Indeed’s new commercial? Are there more lengths you think Indeed should go to to include and respect the LGBTQ+ and nonbinary community? Comment below!
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