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In the Press


Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Why you should hire for diversity rather than culture fit

by Paul Murphy
Culture Add


Yep, there’s another change on the horizon.

Hiring for culture fit is out.

And hiring for culture add is in.

But what if that’s wrong too? 

Rather than focusing on either one, how about hiring for diversity instead? 

It’s a sure way to secure yourself an A-grade team. And here’s why...

What’s So Great About Hiring Diversely?

Hiring diversely does wonders for your bottom-line. For example, McKinsey & Company analysed data from over 1,000 companies across 12 countries, finding:

  • Companies with the greatest ethnic and cultural diversity are 33% more likely to enjoy bigger profits than those low on the diversity scale
  • Those with the most gender diversity are 21% more likely to outperform those who have the least

But apart from profitability, hiring diversely means you’ll also benefit from a team with a wider range of skills, experience, opinions and ideas. This leads to thinking that challenges the status quo, which promotes greater innovation and creativity. 

Here’s How You Can Actively Hire For Diversity In Your Company

The key to ensuring you have a diverse workforce lies with you as the hiring manager, plus your larger recruitment team. Here are four tips to help you.

1. Invest in some bias training

We instinctively gravitate towards individuals we identify with. 

It can be as simple as liking them because they have the same favourite movie, or possibly because they have a similar perceived social class or educational background. 

In fact, as interviewers we tend to go easier on people we like, asking questions we know the candidate will be comfortable with and blaming nerves if they don’t answer as strongly as other candidates.

This is done unconsciously, so that’s where bias awareness training can really help you and your hiring team. 

It’s a chance to develop an understanding of what prejudices you may have, so you can actively work against them. Global giant Facebook engages in bias awareness training, with almost 100% of their senior leadership team voluntarily completing the course. 

2. Widen your talent pool 

Don’t limit yourself when it comes to who you consider for your role. This might mean considering candidates from different industries, with different backgrounds, skills and experiences. For example, perhaps you’re in need of A-grade claims people. Rather than searching for hard-to-find claims professionals, you could consider looking for an underwriter who’s interested in transitioning to a new career. Their medical, product, financial and legal knowledge will be a great asset for your team. 

Extra tipWhen it comes to finding diverse talent, consider working with a recruitment agency. They have broad networks and thorough screening processes to help you consider a wider range of candidates when it comes to skills, backgrounds and experiences.

3. Standardise your interview

Compile a structured list of interview questions that you ask all candidates, so you can compare answers fairly. Questions should be a mixture of technical, behavioural, motivational and scenario based, encouraging interviewees to give a real-life example of how they would complete a particular task in line with what success would look like in that role. This helps you weed out those who can do what you want (perhaps in an innovative way), from those you just happen to like.

Extra tip: It’s great practice to put candidates at ease with an icebreaker question or two. But be wary. What they say can easily shape your opinion and inform the rest of the interview, especially if you discover you share common ground.

4. Review your job description and ad 

If you want to invite diversity into your team, you need to specifically advertise for it. This means wording your recruitment materials appropriately. 

For example, research shows words such as ‘competitive’ and ‘determined’ in a job ad can dissuade women from applying, whereas ‘collaborative’ and ‘cooperative’ draw them in. Level the playing field with inclusive language throughout your recruitment documents, as it will help you capture the widest section of the market.

If you’d like to uncover more ways diversify your workforce, or need assistance crafting your recruitment materials and finding great candidates, please get in touch with us. We’d love to lend a hand.


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