Inclusive Hiring Processes
Sheila Robinson, Ph.D., owner of Diversity Woman magazine and a 2018 NAFE Woman of Excellence, advocates that companies use implicit bias training for decision-makers in the recruiting and hiring process. This training, which 88 percent of our Best Companies use for hiring managers, allows people to understand their own biases and how that might impact a decision to see a candidate or move her to the next level.
A Harvard Business Review
article suggests companies specifically schedule the trainings around workplace situations only and equip people with action-oriented strategies to deal with bias, such as defining what qualities matter in applicants and examining whether they ask applicants the same questions.
Mariela Dabbah, author of Poder de Mujer ( Woman Power) and creator of the Red Shoe Movement (empowering Latinas to be leaders) and Latinos in College (a platform to help Latinos succeed in colleges), has another suggestion for companies to avoid bias in the hiring process and promotion process. A 2015 study by the UCLA Center for Behavior, Evolution and Culture examined white versus African-American, Hispanic and Asian surnames, and found these applicants more likely to be rejected than those with white-sounding names. Dabbah advocates implementing the practice of hiding the names of people being hired or up for promotion (using a number or code instead of a name). The person making decisions shouldn’t know the gender or race/ethnicity of the applicant until the initial applicants have been determined, she says. At larger companies, there often are slates of applicants who are first reviewed by HR departments and don’t know the employees.
She also recommends “designing for equity and inclusion at all levels.” This means HR and hiring managers consistently looking at slates of employees being hired and promoted, and ensuring there is adequate representation of underrepresented groups. This practice, like the “Rooney rule” implemented by the National Football League, mandates that women and people of color be included in slates presented for positions. Eighty-four percent of the Best Companies for Multicultural Women require diverse slates for openings. In some of these companies, hiring managers’ compensation and bonuses are tied to ability to present diverse slates.
However, the data does show a difference for Asian-American women. While 96 percent of the Best Companies have recruiting programs targeted at African-American and Hispanic women, only
88 percent have recruiting programs targeted at AsianAmerican women.
What accounts for this discrepancy? Linda Akutagawa, president and CEO of LEAP (Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics Inc.), a national nonprofit that works to achieve full equality and participation for Asians and Pacific Islanders, says that, frustratingly, many companies erroneously think there’s no need to recruit Asians.
Asian-Americans are sometimes ignored, she says, “because of the incorrect stereotype that we have made it, which is driven by the tech industry being so heavily Asian/Asian-American. We are still underrepresented, and Asian women are not getting the attention they need to become leaders because of the assumption they are happy being individual contributors.” She urges companies to have “stay interviews” to improve retention and potential promotions of these employees to find out what they really want at the company and what aspirations they have.