MASS Design Group strengthens diversity of applicants and increases collaboration during its application review process


How SlideRoom facilitated a holistic application review, helping the firm make steady progress towards its diversity and inclusion goals

The Challenge

As an award-winning nonprofit architecture firm involved in social impact projects around the globe, MASS Design Group attracts many applications for employment and internships — nearly 2,000 annually. The organization wanted to build a collective review process to assess all of its applicants.

“We’ve enlisted the support of multiple people, from HR professionals to directors. We’ve also added designers to our review process, specifically those who have an interest in learning more about management, discovering who’s out there and exploring what they could contribute to our team.”

  • Matthew Smith, managing director, MASS Design Group

In addition to gaining a broader perspective on candidates, MASS Design wanted to eliminate bias in the hiring and review process. “While architecture is not known for its gender and racial diversity, MASS Design is focused on building a more inclusive profession,” Smith said.

“SlideRoom gives us a really functional format to dig deep into people’s applications. We wouldn’t have otherwise been able to engage so many people in our review process in a
meaningful way.”

  • Matthew Smith, managing director, MASS Design Group

The Solution

MASS Design began using SlideRoom in 2015 as a way to capture media in conjunction with applications. “We’ve benefitted from SlideRoom’s ability to capture media — a lot of our applications are media-heavy. People are uploading their design portfolios as they submit applications,” Smith said. “We use it as our key intake platform for all of our applicants, ranging from interns all the way up to senior architects and managers.”

Smith said the firm typically receives 400-700 internship applications per year, as well as 400-600 applications for employment during each of its two main hiring rounds. Each application goes through a review process involving multiple stakeholders. “To capture all these different perspectives, we had to work hard to get a platform that allowed for clear ranking, comments and different rounds of reviews. SlideRoom has really helped with that,” said Smith.

The Firm’s Outcome

“Having the ability to take in a broad range of applicants and look at their full credentials in a rigorous way has helped us eliminate a lot of bias present in other architecture firms,” said Smith. The firm’s dedication to diversity is evident in its staff composition: Over 50% of its staff are women, and its staff collectively speaks nearly 20 languages. “By setting up key evaluation criteria and having a platform that allows for that, we’ve been able to make steady progress towards our diversity and inclusion
goals,” Smith said.

In addition, using SlideRoom has allowed MASS Design to streamline a complex hiring process. “SlideRoom gives us a really functional format to dig deep into people’s applications,” Smith said. “The interface is great — once our team got a sense of how things worked, they were able to navigate pretty easily.” Using SlideRoom allows the firm to process a high volume of applications while including a great deal of collaboration and input from stakeholders across the organization. “We’ve really been able to operate as a collective and improve transparency,” Smith said.

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