Researchers Say An Important Choice Leads To Greater Diversity In Hiring

A job search can either help attract applicants of underrepresented backgrounds or turn them off, depending on how decisions are made in power before a job candidate is hired.

Choosing who will lead the search committee to fill a position is essential. A new study found that a woman and person of colour leading such a committee can make a big difference in diversity. Christiane Spitzmueller, a professor of industrial and organizational psychology, said white men are likelier to maintain the status quo and fail to promote jobs outside their networks.

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The Hiring Process Matters To the Candidate

From 2015 to 2018, 156 faculty positions at a large U.S. research university had 13,750 job applications from the University of Houston, Louisiana State University Shreveport, and the University of Sheffield. A woman leading a search committee resulted in 23% more women applying for the job than a male. People of colour will likely use it when other people of colour with power actively recruit them.

People Of Color And Women Search For Jobs Differently

The study emphasizes the importance of hiring managers’ networks. To expand the diversity of applicant pools, network with underrepresented candidates, and proactively target them on job boards. Researchers found that including language beyond legal requirements for welcoming diverse candidates didn’t affect application rates significantly. It may be because faculty of colour are persistent and have found creative ways to overcome structural barriers.

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Job Search Inclusiveness Depends On Everyone’s Efforts

It’s up to everyone to make a job search more inclusive. Diversity education should be a priority for employees who are not from unrepresented backgrounds. Ensure that women and people of colour best reflect the institution shouldn’t fall solely on them. Nadia de Ala, the founder of a group coaching program for women of colour and BIPOC, said, “It is inexcusable that diversity initiatives fall on those negatively impacted by lack of diversity.”