Monday, January 25, 2010

Hiring Outside the Box: How to Diversify Your Talent Pool

As consultants committed to inclusive search processes, we’ve noted over the years some of the challenges organizations face when attempting to diversify their talent pool. One of the easiest is to identify what we call “right fit” decision making.

At the beginning of many searches and during the interview process, we often hear this refrain from clients—“I’ll know it when I see it.” This feel-right approach poses a challenge to an inclusive hiring process. Why? For two reasons: first, knowing it when you see it assumes you’ve seen it before and second, many “diverse” candidates who offer an organization new perspectives are just that—new.

One of the most universal principles in human psychology is the positive relationship between similarity and attraction. We are most attracted to those who are similar to us and diversity is by definition different. If decision makers rely too heavily on gut feelings to guide what feels right, they can develop unintended biases towards ‘familiar’ candidates. Doing so will slow the progress an organization can make toward diversifying its talent pool.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lorraine,

    I agree with you. If people hire carbon copies of their current employees, they lose out on the fresh perspective that someone outside of their normal comfort zone might offer. If a person is qualified and able to do the job but they look different from the people you normally hire, why not give them a chance.