To begin with on this first day of a brand new yea, may I wish you and yours a great new year.
I was reading the local newspaper this morning and a column by Bill Maxwell caught my attention. The column was entitled “White doubt reserved for black professional and it dealt with an effort of the local school district to enhance the number of black teachers that are hired.One of the members of the school board who is white is quoted as saying after the effort was announced who said the effort should be to hire quality over numbers. The reason why this caught my eye was it gave me a moment to consider this from a broader perspective.
No one will deny that we have a large unemployment issue in this country. But how large would the problem be if we removed our preconceived notions from the staffing process. Over the past several years I have seen in the social media realm various posts which suggest that we are rejecting applicants because of these notions. Consider these examples:
- One recruiter posted that if she knew a candidate had grey hair she would automatically reject them from the candidate pool.
- Individuals who call themselves professional recruiters who really believe that those with disabilities do not belong in the workplace and should be relegated to a home or family residence.
- Disregard your political views for a moment and be true to yourselves and ask how many of you thought the President was not able to do the job because he was African-American? Be honest.
- How many of you believe that just because a fellow professional does not come from the same background as you they automatically are inferior in their abilities to perform the responsibilities of the position?
Maxwell in concluding his article asked what it will take for so many whites to stop automatically questioning the qualifications of black professionals who are not entertainers or jocks. I would carry this further and ask what will it take for corporate America to recognize the worth of EVERY employee regardless of their origin. In his book on the Toyota Culture, Liker states that the hiring managers at Toyota look at the skills the person has, even if they are not from the same industry. They discuss people who were managers in the grocery store industry who moved to the production floor as a lead person because of her skills. We all need to take the same attitude going into this new year. Many corporations are reporting that they are having a hard time finding the right talent for their operations. Could this view be hindering the hiring effort?
Thin about it for a moment seriously. Lets talk about how to change the hiring perspective to remove these illogical notions. We are not suggesting that you should hire anyone off the street That is equally illogical. We are suggesting that looking at the candidate pool with the eye that we will eliminate someone because they are not mirror images of the hiring manager is equally wrong.