Over the years I’ve spoken to hundreds of Human Resource Professionals about how they select and sift through the masses of CVs and applications they receive in order to find THE ONE; the perfect candidate for the role.
If you think about the process, you can visualise HR going through a mass of CVs, looking at the matching skills for the role, and saying ‘No. No. No. No. Maybe. You’re Wrong. You’re Wrong. You’re Right!’ before they even start on a point-scoring exercise.
When it comes to diversity, could part of the issue be that this process is all about exclusion rather than inclusion? That sometimes the amount of CVs can be so overwhelming (David Shelley CEO of Little Brown recently mentioned 900 applicants for an Editorial Assistant role) ; and we are looking to find fault and rejection rather than find the positives and retention.
I reiterate my statement of before; I see many diverse candidates who want to work in publishing; recently my latest training course was full of skilled diverse candidates, yet they are not getting a look-in with the current publishing recruitment process.
It is the same with the interview process. That very often interviews are geared to ‘cutting down’ or ‘weeding out’ the shortlist. The truth is, if you want to find fault in someone, you can and you will. Often the ‘perfect candidate’ is very far from perfect.
What if, the situation was shifted? What if, instead of always looking for the negatives in candidates we started to look for the positives? That we focussed on inclusion, whatever that inclusion looked like? What if, when we interviewed we all treated candidates like our best customer, someone who we had to build rapport with at all costs, instead of someone who might be desperate for employment? Do you think our diversity levels would improve, if instead of looking for differences, we concentrated on similarities; in particular, the similarities in candidates between their skills and the skills and competencies for the role? Do you think the industry would be saying “you’re right” to more diverse candidates than “you’re wrong”?
To facilitate change we have to change the way we are and change the things we do. Repeating the same exercise over and over and getting the same results is the path to failure. If you are truly committed to diversity, start looking for inclusion instead of exclusion.