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A Message from WIPN’s President, Jennifer Norr

I am looking forward to this summer even more than when I was a kid.  After being couped up and focusing on mere survival due to a pandemic and racial injustice, I crave the simple basic joys of summer. For me, the basics are enjoying lemonade and ice cream on a particularly hot day; cruising my convertible and blasting tunes; reading a good book at the beach; and growing (and if not) then going to farmer’s market, strawberries, corn, and tomatoes.

So, I am going to focus on a job basic – the interview. Why? First, our proprietary research found 40 percent of us have considered leaving our employer over the past year due to a lack of opportunities, and one in five of us, consider this often.[1]  Second, in researching over 2000 interviews, BrightHire found when men interviewed women, they talked more and listened less than when interviewing a man. Women spoke 6% fewer words when interviewed by man versus a women.   As a result, men’s interviews lasted 15% longer than women’s.[2] Men were twice as likely as women to get an interview[3] and whites were twice as likely as blacks to get called back after sending a resume.[4]

That’s why focusing on unconscious bias is so critical.  We can not change what do not recognize. So, what can we be done? First, you need to do the basics – show up early, be prepared with resumes, have specific examples, dress for success, and have a conversation. Check out some of the previous WIPN Webinars on the industry trends on our website. Second, use your WIPN network to learn about the organization, the manager, and if possible, recommend you. For 70% of us, networking played a role in getting to our current level.[5]  Finally, and most importantly, employers need to be proactive to remove unconscious bias from the interview process. This includes having an interview panel and making sure it is diverse, making data driven decisions, having a structured interview process, and looking out for unconscious bias traps  like “good culture fit.” So, whether you are hiring, looking to get hired, or recommending a fellow WIPN member, let’s all focus on the basics to avoid unconscious bias and achieve career performance.

[1] The Story of Us. WIPN White Paper June 2021.

[2] Charisse Jones in USA Today, Thursday, May 27, 2021 Section B, page 1.

[3] Charisse Jones in USA Today, Thursday, May 27, 2021 Section B, page 1.

[4] https://www.nber.org/digest/sep03/employers-replies-racial-names

[5] The Story of US. WIPN White Paper, June 2021.

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