Building diversity into your hiring process

I once worked with a manager who would only interview candidates who graduated from his prestigious alma-mater. He ended up with a team of brilliant, but similar-minded clones, who knew all the same processes and techniques, having studied under the same professors. This led to an increase in immediate productivity as everyone knew how to follow the current procedures, but when it came time to brainstorm new ideas: dead silence.

The team fell into a niche, and when new objectives arrived, and technologies changed, the team couldn’t break out of their comfort zone. They went from being a high performing team, to a dead weight in their department that struggled to adapt. The company lost hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars trying to reprogram and restructure the department.

Subjectivity in the hiring process can lead to an increase in uniformity among teams, which has been proven to decrease creativity and lead to lower long-term performance.

Focusing extra attention on bringing in a diverse workforce can lead to long-term financial performance, and yet we find that companies often struggle to reflect this in their hiring practices.

How can you change your hiring processes to embrace, and even seek-out teammates of different skillsets, thought processes, and backgrounds? Here are some tips from our team at Genius Plaza:

Structure the “culture fit” conversation: Positivity, eagerness for the job, alignment with the company mission, experience working in similar environments. Culture fit is crucial in the hiring process and each individual success. Use these and similar factors that are based on solid criteria for evaluating the candidate, instead of “does (s)he feel right for us” or “does the team like this person.”

Blind-review of applications: Have your HR or Recruiting team present candidate applications without names or locations attached, to ensure each candidate is reviewed objectively.

Embrace relocation: Don’t eliminate candidates who are not in the area, if they make clear they will relocate. It may add some additional time to their start date, but they are bringing a new perspective and ideas with them. With the average cost of replacing a low performer landing in the thousands of dollars, it can be worth it to pay a bit more up-front to bring someone from afar.

Diversity job boards: Utilize job boards that focus on hiring women, veterans, or diverse candidates, to turn your applicant flow into a more reflective pool of the population. Big-name job boards may land you hundreds of applicants, but every recruiter knows that one strong candidate is worth a hundred mediocre ones. Our CEO Ana Roca Castro likes to remind us that recruitment of diverse candidates sometimes may be tough, so you need to look harder.

Work with International Students: Working directly with colleges can help find fantastic international students for Internship and Co-Op positions, or during their authorized practical training period after graduation (for F-1 visa students).

At Genius Plaza diversity is one of our core values. We are proud of our record and recognize we need to continue to make diversity and inclusion a priority each and every day. For us it is part of our corporate culture, a competitive advantage that drives innovation and allows us to better serve educators and students.


-Scott Kattrein

Talent Manager at Genius Plaza

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