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Rethinking Diversity Recruiting

rethinking diversity recruitment
Michael Wieder - WayUp Staff
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Published on January 26, 2016

Diversity is a topic we discuss a lot at WayUp. Internally, we are focused on having a diverse team to build a strong foundation for the future, and our clients also rely on us as a method to correct their own diversity issues.

I was recently listening to one of my favorite podcasts (Reply All), and learned about a really cool study conducted by a University of Michigan professor (Go Blue!). He used mathematical algorithms to simulate diverse groups of people. Without fail, the consciously selected group of the “best algorithms” underperformed in comparison to the randomly selected (diverse) group of algorithms. The “best algorithms” always got stumped on the same problem, whereas the “diverse algorithms” were able to navigate and come up with a solutions.

At the end of the day, besides the moral obligation to have a diverse workforce, diversity is key in solving major company challenges and sparking innovative thinking. The problem, however, is that diversity is composed of so many factors that a quick glance may cause you to overlook in a diverse candidate. To effectively engage in diversity recruiting, you’ll need to think about factors that go beyond race and gender: socioeconomic status, region of the country, upbringing and “challenges” candidates have faced in their lives. These are all important diversity indicators.

So, now that we have covered the importance of diversity and some of its many facets, how can you tackle diversity through university recruiting? Here are 3 quick tips:

1. Look outside of your “core schools”

If you constantly recruit from the same schools, you are limiting your diversity prospects. It’s expensive to travel to tons of schools searching for that one great candidate: This is where WayUp comes in. You will be able to expand your recruiting efforts without having to physically go the extra mile. Additionally, we are working on great virtual events, so you can connect with students from a range of schools without having to leave your office.

2. Search for a mix of quantitative and qualitative qualities

It is best to go into recruiting thinking outside of typical criteria like technical skills, GPA and major. When creating an ideal candidate profile, consider questions like, “Is this person a self-starter?” or “Will this person attack a problem differently than their manager?”

Another thing to consider when it comes to diversity is finding a balance of people with strong IQ’s and EQ’s. A team with a strong balance of intellectual intelligence and emotional intelligence will make strong decisions and will better understand the implications of those decisions. Additionally, the team members with strong EQ will often be the glue that holds everything together when it comes to company culture.

3. Test for results

To make sure you aren’t missing a diverse candidate on the inside, present candidates with challenges during the interview process. This will allow you to see how they navigate problems and if they will bring a different approach to the company. Open-ended questions that leave room for creative solutions will allow you to get a holistic view of each candidate’s potential. Possibly even give them an existing company challenge, so the results can be put into perspective.

Diversity in the workplace is definitely more of an art than a science, and it is not a one size fits all model. Remember that every company has different challenges that require different solutions, so look internally for inspiration instead of comparing your organization to another.

Michael Wieder - WayUp Staff Guest Contributor

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