Wells Fargo recently found themselves in hot water after it was reported that some managers at the company were interviewing non-white candidates for jobs that had already been filled. The company announced that starting Aug. 19 it would re-institute its diverse hiring practice, with some changes.
Wells Fargo is one of the more notable organizations that has such a policy but many corporations have implemented performative practices in an effort to gain “diversity clout.” The NFL has a similar policy currently in place called the Rooney Rule. The Rooney Rule was created as a way to increase diversity amongst NFL coaches and requires NFL teams to interview ethnic minority candidates for coaching and front office positions.
Despite any good intentions behind the creation of the policy, which was introduced in 2003, some have called the Rooney Rule a failure. Brian Flores is a former NFL coach that has filed a lawsuit against the NFL, citing racial discrimination against Black coaches. Flores claims that the NFL engaged in phony interviews without intentions to hire non-white candidates. There may be validity to these claims given the fact that the majority of NFL head coaches are white. Many organizations and institutions implement policies to increase representation but fail to achieve desired outcomes. Some have suggested a pipeline problem—but the pipeline isn’t often the issue. This article provides five anti-racist hiring practices that every workplace should adopt.
1. Ditch referral hiring programs. Referral hiring programs often recreate the same homogeneity that workplaces are trying to escape. Standard referral hiring programs are likely to be impacted by nepotism, the halo effect, and the affinity bias. Ditch the referral programs and invite employees to help with increasing representation. Put out a call to action encouraging employees to recommend job candidates from underrepresented and historically excluded backgrounds to interview for open roles.
2. Representation among hiring committee. According to Zippia.com, approximately 62% of recruiters in the U.S. are white. Zippia.com also reports that nearly two thirds of human resource managers in the U.S. are white. Having more representation among those making hiring decisions is imperative. It should be noted that simply having a marginalized identity does not prevent you from internalizing oppressive views about your own group and other marginalized groups, but it’s helpful to have diverse perspectives involved in hiring decisions. When assessing something like culture fit, for example, having diversity amongst hiring professionals can provide more unique perspectives, which can mitigate bias during the hiring process.
3. Training for hiring professionals. In addition to having more representation among those making hiring decisions, every person involved in the hiring process should receive anti-racist hiring training and education. This is not just a one-time training but should be ongoing. The world is changing rapidly. Practices that were standard and widely accepted years ago become outdated. How are you holding hiring professionals accountable for their employment decisions and what resources can you provide to educate them about anti-racist hiring practices? Ensure that all hiring professionals receive anti-racist training as an obligatory part of their role.
4. Reach out to different communities. Actively seek to partner with organizations, institutions and non-profits where underrepresented and historically excluded job candidates will be. For example, within a college or university, there are a number of different groups and cultural clubs. Collaborate with an organization like the Black student union for example, if you are trying to increase Black representation. Social media can also provide a plethora of options by looking for platforms specifically dedicated to increasing representation in a specific field or industry. Also look for diverse databases that contain candidates that specialize in your particular area.
5. Evaluate anti-racism during the interview. Employers should be assessing a job candidate’s commitment to anti-racism during the hiring process. If more efforts were made to analyze a candidate’s commitment to equity and justice before they enter a workplace, issues of discrimination and racism would lessen. In addition to utilizing a rubric or scorecard to ensure objectivity during the hiring process, candidates should be asked a series of questions to better ascertain their interest and commitment to racial equity. What-would-you-do situations should be designed to evaluate how a candidate would react in different workplace scenarios.