Stop making these excuses for the lack of diversity at your company: Johnathan Nightingale, Hubba

Some practical advice on how to increase diversity in the tech industry and elsewhere:

Learn to search blindfolded

A funny thing happens when you take faces and names off of resumes and LinkedIn profiles. People who would insist that they have no bias or prejudice suddenly start evaluating candidates differently. You find candidates you somehow missed before. Unconscious bias isn’t a bleeding-heart liberal codeword, it’s a real threat to your business and your ability to find top talent. We now use the Unbias browser addon to automatically hide names and faces on LinkedIn. Try it. It really does change the quality of candidate searches, whether it ought to or not.

Cast a broader net

A job posting has one goal: to get good candidates excited enough to start a conversation. Every time a position you post reaches some great people, but they decide not to apply, your hiring program has failed. When a marketing program fails the answer is not to complain that there aren’t enough people out there; the answer is to market smarter. A job posting is no different.

Services like Textio can help you analyze your job descriptions to find obvious points for improvement, but they’re also useful for starting conversations about what you’re really looking for. A long list of bullet-point requirements feels natural, but understand that those lists implicitly select for men, who will apply when they meet a much smaller portion of them. In tech, a common pattern is for hiring managers to say “I don’t care who you are, just show me your hobby projects on Github, or your think pieces on Medium” – but a bit of reflection is all it takes to realize that screening based on free-time pursuits gets you more affluent white men than it does underemployed single moms.

Build the best team

The most pernicious theme I hear from people in hiring positions is that they don’t want to “lower the bar” – that they’d happily hire a more diverse group but not at the cost of individual candidate quality. It sounds rational but it’s wrong-headed for two reasons. First, the implication that any current diversity gap must be a result of lower quality stinks, and ignores everything we know about the barriers many groups face. But second is that it misunderstands your job as a leader.

Your job is to build the best team. You can choose a lot of strategies to get there. But if your strategy is to hire “the best candidate” for each role without regard to the team’s composition, and it’s leaving you with a weaker, less diverse team, then your strategy is failing and it needs to change.

Source: Stop making these excuses for the lack of diversity at your company – The Globe and Mail

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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