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Are your hiring techniques harming, rather than helping diversity?

Written by Holly Watson | October 3, 2017 | 0 Comments
Recruit staffWe’re sure you won’t need us to wax lyrical to you about why you should adopt every possible measure to make your workforce more diverse – after all, we’ve written extensively on this subject before. But are your own company’s hiring practices aiding its efforts to boost diversity, or causing inadvertent harm?
Here are several common ways to recruit staff that can be terrible for diversity – and what your company should consider doing instead.

The problem with the ‘Rooney Rule’

While the specific term ‘Rooney Rule’ refers to a policy in America’s National Football League (NFL) that requires league teams to interview candidates from minority groups for head coaching and senior football operation roles, versions of such a rule have found use well outside the NFL.
You might think your firm is doing a good thing by committing to always having at least one female candidate or member of an underrepresented minority in each batch of applicants selected for interview.
However, research outlined in Harvard Business Review suggests that when there is only one minority representative in a final candidate pool, they actually have a statistically zero chance of being hired.
There is, though, a straightforward way to modify your own company’s Rooney Rule for the better: adding more candidates to the pool. According to the same study, the likelihood of recruiting a minority candidate is 194 times greater when the final candidate pool features at least two minority candidates, in what is known as the ‘two in the pool effect’.

What else could be hampering your diversity efforts?

Do you get a large proportion of your company’s hires via referrals? If so, it might be acting as a bottleneck from a diversity perspective, given that people’s professional and social networks tend to consist of people who are demographically similar to them.
There is thankfully a way to make the most of this ‘similarity attracts’ effect when encouraging referrals: drawing them from a more diverse range of your existing staff.
Even simply giving your interviews the right structure and format makes a massive difference to your efforts to diversify your workforce. Unfortunately, we have to suggest being a bit boring here, by asking all of your candidates the same set of questions. Customising your questions to each candidate – even if your intentions are good – can simply create scope for biases to flourish.
Are you interested in benefiting from more of the tools and resources that will help instead of hinder your attempts to recruit staff from a wider demographic base? If so, get in touch with Webrecruit – we’ve got the experience and know-how that could make the vital difference.

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