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Recruitment should be based on culture and values as well as skills

HR Editorial , 28 Jan 2013

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Employers today are increasingly looking for a more diverse workforce, but a report last month by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Race and Community still found that black and ethnic minority (BME) women face discrimination “at every stage of recruitment” from employers.

We asked two experts: "Do you think it's acceptable for companies to have a positive bias towards a preferred gender and ethnicity, or even advertise for it?"

Today, Emily Moore (pictured), head of people at employee research firm, Learnpurple, gives her thoughts:

"Employers have long been encouraged to specifically target minority groups in order to achieve greater diversity and this is a laudable aim. And with the implementation of female quotas on boards, you could argue that employers should actively seek out and hire female talent specifically.

"However, our view is to first ensure recruitment criteria are scrupulously fair - this means that they are based only on the essential requirements of the role. You'd be surprised how many organisations insist on outdated criteria that are simply superfluous.

"Next, recruit the best person for the job regardless of age, sex, ethnicity and so on. It should be about hiring the individual who can fulfil the role and beyond; not hiring someone purely to meet minority group quotas.

"To help with recruitment, we encourage the people we work with to clearly define their culture and values - which, as found in our latest research, are critical for success. This way recruitment decisions can be made on a combination of the skills and attributes of the individual against your criteria, plus, critically, whether they are able to live and breathe your culture and therefore thrive. As such, the decision is made on attitude, shared values and a willingness to work together and not about certain groups.

"If hiring is being based on anything other than this then it's not going to have a positive effect on the organisation.

"Stop wasting time on who the person is in front of you, what they look like, where they come from, and explore instead what they can do for your business, how they can drive it forward and adapt to the way you do things.

So, here is a message, loud and clear, to the businesses that the job-seekers in the BBC article [about how ethnic minority women were 'whitening' their names in order to secure interviews] came across: open your minds."

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A disconnect between what companies aspire to and how they operate

Jackie Casey 28 Jan 2013

A great article and the content of which I wholly agree with. When working with organisations helping them to select and recruit better, I find many of them talk about values and culture but then due to the way that they work, work patterns and other operational needs are unable to uphold those values. A company that I work who were recruiting and wanted to really increase diversity in the workforce were unable to adjust/make allowances for a particular role. Their preferred candidate and the one who fit the role more closely, was only available for set working hours due to childcare arrangements. On occasion the role required working over. They showed no signs of trying to work around the issue or think how they could support or facilitate so did not offer the job.

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