Recruiting for Diversity

Why is it important to have a diverse workforce?

In recent news, Deloitte has come out with a new innovative way to recruit talent: by hiding from recruiters where candidates went to school or university. Changing the selection process in this way hopes to eliminate biased decisions based on the graduate’s contextual background. This change hopes to find ‘potential’ new talent from a wider pool of applicants. The high level of media attention the announcement triggered proves that it is currently within public interest to revise the way graduates are selected.

The move by Deloitte is amongst a series of change from recruiters looking to focus less exclusively on academic achievement and more on the bigger picture. This includes looking at the soft-skills that go beyond academic achievement: work ethic, communication, attitude and leadership. The call to revolutionise the way we recruit talent by becoming less selective and more varied hopes to create a workforce that is diverse.

Why do we need a diverse workforce? Because diversity promotes innovative thinking. A team of individuals with different strengths and weaknesses from different backgrounds gives you a variety of perspectives and behaviour. Recruiting people from the same academic and social background creates an army of the same kind of people, which does not suitably reflect the globalization of business. These small changes from recruiters in global companies, help to give people of all backgrounds the opportunity to prove that with simple hard work and determination, they too can also succeed in a successful career.

Diversifying recruitment is a move followed by countless influential organisations. Apple CEO Tim Cook evaluated his company and found that 72% of executives were from the same category. From this discovery, Cook is now urging companies to hire more women and more minorities to encourage many different perspectives leading to increased creativity and productivity. To achieve this diversity, we must first reflect on the recruitment processes that selects their candidates.

The very first stage in recruitment is an assessment of the CV. The CV gives an overview of the background of the candidate, where recruiters can eliminate graduates quickly based on a simple fact like name of university. Deloitte’s move to take out this filtering technique prompts a change in the nature of recruitment. This places more emphasis on the middle section of the recruitment process: the interview. The interview is chance to sell your skills to the employer by showing what you can bring to their company and work force. But it is also a chance for the employer to fairly assess what this candidate will bring to the team. Interviews must be consistent and objective in order to give everyone an equal chance to prove themselves. But there must also be a more creative edge so that you are able engage with the candidate and understand their true character.

There has been much discussion about various creative ways to select candidates: recording interview videos, encouraging friend referrals, careers fairs- amongst others. I think this emphasis on the importance of the recruitment process in creating a successful and dynamic company is justified. It is a win-win situation for companies: they reap the benefits of a diverse and innovative work force, and candidates with excellent soft-skills and work ethic are rewarded with greater opportunities. As a recruiter myself I will also be encouraged to constantly reevaluate how I can creatively and fairly select new talent for our company. The need for diversity has triggered the need for recruiters to reflect on the way they select talent; fairly and effectively.

 Olivia Conway

Talent Management Executive @ Vantage Point

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