I was speaking with a corporate recruiter the other day who is passionate about creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. We were discussing the events of the recent weeks -– the pandemic, the demonstrations and calls for action around the country, and the painful truths in our society that are now exposed for all to see. As I listened, what struck me most was something we had in common – a feeling of powerlessness. It can be natural to feel powerless when we can’t change things for the entire company, when we don’t lead Diversity and Inclusion, or we don’t have a budget that we can dedicate to solving this problem. But we don’t have to feel that way. We can do something.
As recruiters and recruiting leaders, we are in a unique position to lead and promote a culture of inclusion, one candidate and one hiring team at a time. We have an opportunity to learn more about the people around us and help each other grow into more caring, thoughtful, and understanding friends and colleagues. An opportunity to help build a truly inclusive workplace.
As a recruiting consultant at Recruiting Toolbox, I spend my time learning how companies identify, find, and retain the best talent. And companies are generally trying to do the right thing. They have good intent and they say, “We are nothing without great people.” “Our greatest asset is our people.” “We are committed to Diversity and Inclusion.” These statements are important starting points, but true progress requires a commitment to action.
“As HR practitioners, we take for granted when we say to leaders that they need to be inclusive that they know what we mean.”
VP – Enterprise Leadership and Global Diversity and Inclusion, American Express
It’s time to move beyond talking about the future and get specific about the now. Here are 12 conversations we as recruiters should have with our hiring managers and their hiring teams to help create a more inclusive work environment.
By doing the work of leading our hiring teams to a more inclusive and productive way of hiring, we will help our companies be what they say they want to be. More importantly, we will show candidates and employees what our commitment to diversity and inclusion is. And we may inspire other teams and other companies to do the same. It’s all about progress and empowering all of us to recruit better.
Will it work for every hiring team or every culture? The hard answer is “it depends”. It will depend on how willing we are to look at these issues and then actually do something about them.
If we are in a car that is drifting off the road, we overcorrect to steer ourselves back into the proper lane. The question for us and our hiring teams is simple: Are we willing to overcorrect for how we have drifted off the road in how we interview, hire, and promote in our culture?
If we keep making the same hiring decisions and using the same processes that we always have, then nothing will change. But if we commit to real, meaningful corrections, then we have a chance. It will take corrections that make some people uncomfortable, or that some people see as overreactions. When we are driving off the road, we need a major correction to get back in our lane. We should be honest with ourselves and hiring teams about that.
This kind of change is not about incremental change that is easy. This is going to require some people being uncomfortable and learning to grow in ways that may be a challenge for them. Support them in their journey.
It is going to require teams to take a stand for what is right and change the behaviors that they have built over many years. Some teams will be more ready for that than others. This is why it’s going to take recruiters and recruiting leaders to lead the way - one hire, one candidate, and one uncomfortable step at a time.
If you are taking other steps that you want to share, please do so in the comments or share your own post with me. We need all the good ideas we can get.