Monday, November 7, 2011

A few thoughts on building a diverse organization

Ok, so I have no idea where this diversity series is taking me....but hopefully you’ll come along for the ride.  I just got back from speaking on a discussion panel so my mind is going a mile a minute on this topic.  What I’d like to address is how, we as recruiting professionals can help our organizations continue to hire and grow awesome, diverse talent.  Here are a few thoughts:

Pipeline - Build a big, massive, diverse pipeline of candidates.  A lot of times our hiring managers are looking for the perfect candidate...as well the should!  However, if we don’t have a huge pipeline we are doing them a disservice.  How will they know they have the perfect candidate if every person looks the same and has the same background?  Taking the time to create a robust pipeline of candidates will ensure that when a req opens you can show your managers a broad set of candidates so they can make the best hire.  Exposing your managers to more diverse candidates will allow them to hire the best...while moving the needle on diversity.  That’s a win-win folks.

Process - When thinking about diversity, we should all be looking at how our process works and make sure it’s not screening out potentially great people...we should be screening great talent IN!  What’s this you say?  I like to think of the entire recruiting process as a series of “microdecisions”.  Recruiters figure out who to talk to based on a bunch of factors, managers do the same thing, interviewers and so on and so on.  Another phrase I like is “Death by a Thousand Papercuts”.  Now, you don’t want a process that does this to great candidates.  Some amazing people didn’t go to college, others went to State schools (ahem) so you have to be really careful that your process doesn’t just nuke candidates b/c of preconceived notions of “who” or “what” makes a great candidate...on paper.  

Advocate for the great - Again, we as recruiters have to keep the goals and objectives in mind when trying to make a hire.  We are the experts in hiring, defenders of the culture..voice of the candidates.  We need to speak up and advocate for people we think are great.  Again, you’ll notice I’m not saying pick the diversity person over the non-diverse...what I’m saying is, hire the best, period.  The best might be a diverse candidate...the best might be a white dude from NH...doesn’t matter “who” is the best.  What matters, is that we recruiters are advising our managers and forcing them to think long and hard about what “great” means for every job.

Ok, that’s it, sorry if this is a little rambling.  I wrote most of this on a flight home from California and wanted to get a few thoughts out there and see if we could keep the conversation going from my last blog.  To me, diversity recruiting is about awareness and making sure that when we hire, we show our managers as broad a set of candidates as we can.

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