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Erina Jamieson | 16 September 2022

Mirrors, Windows and Doors

Earlier this week in our regular Tuesday team connection meeting Tracey shared the concept of mirrors, windows, and doors with us. She’d heard it from one of our awesome clients, and it’s one of those concepts that has really struck a chord with me. Have you heard it before?

American Dr Rudine Sims Bishop originally came up with the term when she spoke about the importance of diversity and inclusion in children’s’ books, and it’s super relevant to recruitment too.

We’ll keep saying it: representation matters. When you’re recruiting, before you even consider going out to market, pause and think about the mirrors, windows, and doors your candidates will experience:

Mirrors: candidates will notice if they see other people like them in your organisation. They ask themselves if they are genuinely reflected in your culture, your celebrations, and every day actions?

Windows: candidates want to see right through into your organisation, not just the façade. Will this be a safe place for them? I know I’ve been guilty of saying ‘bring your whole self to work’ in previous job ads, but is it actually a safe and welcoming place for people to be their full selves? How much will they need to mask?

Doors are the barriers that make it harder for people to join your organisation. These might look like literal doors which are heavy and too cumbersome for people to physically move around your office. It might look like unspoken-yet-expected early starts or late finishes which impact those with families or other personal commitments. It might look like a job description which asks for a degree and x-number of years’ experience, even though this level is simply not needed to do the job well. Or being asked to showcase your achievements in a job interview, when your tikanga says to always be humble.

It's a big area to explore, isn’t it? It can be gnarly and intersecting and confronting. So what can we do to recognise the mirrors, windows, and doors we all have up, and make our part of the world that much more open?

There are no shortage of reports telling us about the labour and skills shortage in the market, so it’s timely to pause and think about how accessible your organisation is to candidates.

You can read the original essay from Dr Rudine Sims Bishop here, or watch a short YouTube clip here if you’d like to learn more about mirrors, windows and doors.