Employers look for certain things when they are hiring, largely whether they think the candidate The former is always vital, though flexible, but the latter can end opportunities to hire the right candidate.
Your Internal Biases Will Be Your Downfall and AI isn’t Always the Answer
Everyone has internal biases. They are natural and normal, but that doesn’t mean that they’re good. Recent developments in AI are promising hiring lead by machine learning as a solution to discrimination, but have been met with unease. After all, machine learning gets its knowledge from existing decisions. If previous decisions had a human bias towards men over women, the AI might pick up on that and continue that bias. If the AI has been told to value athletic candidates, even if the employer intends it for the teamwork implied in sports, a large section of disabled candidates could be sorted out even if they have the skills necessary.
The point is, you can’t exclude candidates until you know they aren’t right for the job, and you can’t hire candidates until you know that they’ll bring something to the team. You won’t always know what it is that they’ll bring. The Wall Street Journal wrote an article in 2016 about how Silicon Valley businesses weren’t getting most of their hires from Ivy League schools, but relatively large, not overly exclusive ones. In fact, no Ivy League school made it into the top 10 schools most hired from in Silicon Valley. While common hiring advice might be to go with the school with a better name, that hasn’t proven to be the best practice.
How Unexpected Candidates Can Change a Workplace
Homogenous teams rarely create revolutionary ideas. For true innovation, you need a collaboration of people from different backgrounds with different ideas.
This means that hiring managers need to look at factors other than education and hard skills. Transferable skills and personality types are what should be looked at, but unfortunately, there are biases here too. Outgoing personalities are often preferred to quieter candidates, but a team full of leaders isn’t going to get anywhere. In an article by the Harvard Business Review, authors Elena Butler and Shreya Kangovi describe how in the medical world hard skills are often prioritized over important personality traits such as empathy. It’s common practice to hire someone who is qualified on paper and then try and teach them empathy, instead of hiring the people with the right personality for the job and then teaching them the hard skills they might not be familiar with yet.
Dealing with Conflicts
Of course, with the introduction of a diverse workforce, conflicts can arise. It’s important to remember that conflicts arise in every workforce. What’s important is that your company is ready to handle it fairly. This requires a well-prepared HR department that understands how to manage conflicts between two parties that might have very little in common. When discriminatory practices extend to the HR department, your company will likely end up with a lawsuit.