Nov 24, 2022 | FAIR SHARE team

Feminist recruitment 2.0

Graphik with four people in the foreground, showing the newest team members of the FAIR SHARE team

You may have seen our job advertisement in late September for two new team members – our second recruitment process since FAIR SHARE was established in 2019 (you can read about the first one from our colleague Lisa Tatu Hey’s perspective here). So what did we learn about feminist recruitment this time around?

Like last time, we purposefully left the job description rather broad as part of our approach of enabling new team members to co-shape the role. We welcomed applicants with any level of education and specified that we considered care work and volunteering as meaningful experience.

To cater to different needs and personality types, we allowed applications in different formats, such as videos or audio messages, so that people could express themselves in the way that suited them best. Lastly, we again held joint interviews with two candidates at a time and had them work on a collaborative task.

The response we received to this approach on this was overwhelmingly positive. Here’s a few pieces of feedback that stand out:

  • “The recruitment process had a huge impact on my motivation to apply for the position as a new team member.”
  • “I really, really like the way the job was advertised and how FAIR SHARE tried to be inclusive […] The organisation really walks its talk.”
  • “I am genuinely struck by the ability and willingness of your organisation to express and extend your feminist and decolonial approach to me as an applicant, through your vacancy post.”

We are very grateful that the framing of the job description resonated with people and them people to apply – and we did indeed receive applications in various formats, from applicants with a large range in professional experience. But this wouldn’t be very ‘Feminist Leadership’ of us if we just praised ourselves, now would it?

Concrete limitations, subconscious biases

There is also a more complex story to tell: a significant change from our process last year was that we opened the position to fully remote candidates. As a small team (at the time, five people) all based in Berlin, this would have a big impact on how we worked together. Though we were already working flexibly, with most of us working 1-2 days from home, we were often all in the office for our weekly team meetings on Tuesday and workshops with external facilitators were also held in person. But particularly given FAIR SHARE’s international scope and ambitions, we committed to taking this opportunity to build a more geographically diverse team.

A major caveat: we didn’t have the resources to offer sponsorship (this involves providing a salary of €50k, which significantly exceeds any of our current salaries), so successful candidates would either have to work with us as consultants or already have an EU work visa.

This received some positive feedback as well: one person wrote to us to say “I am excited that, despite being based in Germany, you are open to reviewing candidates that are based elsewhere, given that I am based on the African continent.” However, we also received some more critical feedback on this topic: someone who wrote to us felt that it contradicted our claim to being a feminist organisation to not hire outside of the EU; as a feminist based in the Global South, they were frustrated with this systemic exclusion from professional opportunities.

While there was nothing we could change about our ability to sponsor EU work visas, we did acknowledge that we could and should be more clear about our limitations earlier in the job description; at first it appeared rather far down the page and could look almost like an afterthought. We amended the text accordingly and also tried to ensure it was clear that other types of contracts, like consultancy, were options we were willing and able to explore.

Learning and growing

While these questions don’t have easy answers, we embrace the opportunity to grapple with them, share them with you, and incorporate them into our next recruitment process. More broadly, the question of how to position ourselves and collaborate with others as a feminist organisation working internationally but based in the Global North is an ongoing challenge that we are continually reflecting on and learning with and from others about.

For now, our effort towards a feminist recruitment process had fruitful results. Also thanks to new projects and opportunities, there are not just two but four (!) people joining our team in various capacities. Despite – or perhaps because of – such an openly written job ad, we were able to weave together a vibrant tapestry of experiences, skills and interests that addresses our current needs and will support FAIR SHARE’s evolution. Now, we are in an exciting process of developing our roles and building a new team set-up together.

So without further ado, meet our new team members(from left to right on the image above):

Kim Gerlach (she/her) is joining us to drive our international and German communications and support the Women Leadership Lab. She has worked in the social impact sector across Germany and Scandinavia since 2015 and supported various projects, such as NEONYT and crowdfunding campaigns with her visual eye and communicational efforts. Kim is also self-employed as breathwork teacher and scent expert.

Wonu Owoade (she/her) is our fundraising consultant and she will help us grow our partnerships with institutional donors and expand our international outreach.

Claire Ba (she/her) will run our international FAIR SHARE Monitor operations and contribute to its strategic development. With her background in the experiential learning sector and the West African queer feminist movement, Claire comes with experience in youth development, capacity building, knowledge production and communications. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to live music and exploring art workshops.

Alexandra Haslinger (she/they) is joining us to ensure all activities align under our collaborative and multi-stakeholder project on Feminist Leadership with the German foundation “Bundesstiftung Gleichstellung“.

And we can soon share another exciting update regarding our team structure– watch this space!