We all know that having an inclusive hiring process is essential to building diverse teams. But for rapidly growing teams, diversity often takes a back seat to the need of quickly filling as many positions as possible.
The pressure on internal recruitment teams is enormous to deliver a steady stream of high quality candidates. Even extremely well-funded startups struggle with this. The recent flub by the CEO of Snowflake is just one of many examples.
The reality is that most companies ditch their inclusivity goals when the going gets tough. The case I want to make in this article is that the opposite should be true.
Why Diversity and Inclusivity help you recruit better people
Direct Gains: Because of the many, well established biases in recruitment, you’re missing great candidates that already applied at your organization.
Reach: The biggest bottleneck to your recruitment is reach. Outside of some mega-brands, most people have not heard of your company. The more diverse your workforce, the less overlap in their personal networks, and the larger the reach of that network in aggregate.
Employer Brand: When considering employment, 67% of job seekers deem workplace diversity as an important factor in their decision process.
Diversity is not just about gender or skin color. It’s also about background in general: Different schools teach the same ideas in different ways. People with different life experiences solve problems in different ways.
What you can do now to improve inclusivity in your hiring process
1. Recognize your own cognitive preferences.
Do a quick LinkedIn search of people at your own company. The pattern is usually pretty obvious: executive teams that are mostly white and male. Even with companies that have good gender balance, women are concentrated in one department, for example, marketing or sales.
2. Diversify your sourcing channels.
You presumably already use multiple methods (ads, cold messages, events). And multiple platforms (LinkedIn, Jobs Boards, email). But if you’re doing, say, all of your cold outreach on LinkedIn, you’re still missing the 70% of adults that are not regularly on LinkedIn.
The key is to not get stuck in one place and to keep iterating on different ways to reach candidates. A diverse candidate pipeline requires a diverse sourcing strategy.
3. Look beyond the CV to see the person behind the page.
On this website we’ve already spent a lot of time talking about how bias enters the recruitment process and how we solve this problem at Swyg. But the bottom line is that trying to make a decision based on too little information (or low quality information) is a bad idea.
Consider better alternatives: look at a portfolio of work (if available). Use skills tests, interview more people (but use scientifically proven best practices).
Take Away Message
Many habits we have in recruitment perpetuate bias: We look at past performance as a predictor of future performance; We have an innate bias to prefer people that look like ourselves (not just in appearance); And when trying to understand factors that lead to success, most success stories are of people that succeeded in a biassed world.
We cannot keep doing the same thing and expect a different outcome.