Recruiting a Diverse Team

The previous articles in this module discussed how diversity as a core value is important for organizations. We have also discussed how actualizing diversity means that the entire organization has to walk the talk instead of merely espousing it in name and then practicing something different altogether.

One of the most important actions that any organization can take is to ensure that diversity and inclusivity are inculcated right from the recruitment process itself. This means that recruiting a diverse is the first step towards realizing the goal of diversity. Though the governments in many countries including the US and India do not mandate a certain percentage of the employees to be women, racial minorities, or those with alternate sexual orientations, they do specify that equal opportunities must be given to everyone and that the organizations should not discriminate against anybody on these counts.

For instance, we often hear the term Organization X is an “equal opportunity employer”. What this means is that the organization treats all potential recruits in the same manner and does not discriminate against them in any respect. However, announcing that we are equal to towards everybody does not that mean that we are equal towards everybody in practice. Take for example, the practice in many companies in India to recruit employees based on location and because of political pressures. Further, many companies in Asia do not recruit women for the jobs that need overseas travel or those jobs that have extended working hours. This certainly goes against the grain of diversity and hence must be avoided at all costs. Further, many companies go by the appearance of candidates and not necessarily by merit alone. Of course, we are not saying that for the jobs that need pleasant demeanor like Airline Stewards and Stewardess or jobs in the hospitality sectors, employers must not give importance to looks. Rather, what we are saying is that in general, it would be a good practice to recruit employees based on merit alone instead of other considerations.

The best way to recruit a diverse team is to have “blind resumes” where except for the qualifications of the candidate, nothing else is visible. In this scenario, the potential recruit can be a woman, racial minority, physically challenged or any of the other categories that comes under inclusivity. Therefore, the recruit has a fair chance to make it to the interview stage without any bias. Once the interview is announced, it would be better for the companies to have interviewers drawn from a heterogeneous group instead of having a homogenous group. This would ensure that the candidate is not discriminated against. Finally, it would be in the fitness of things if the candidate were not asked questions from where they are and their preferences about things other than work related matters alone. This is somewhat hard to actualize but is sorely needed if organizations have to recruit diverse teams.

It must be made clear to the hiring team that asking questions about matters that are not directly related to the job at hand is not allowed. Further, the HR representative and the manager in charge of the diversity program must be allowed a greater say in recruitment and preferably, present during the interview.

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