Silicon Valley has a diversity problem and only pricey, outdated ideas about how to fix it. Tech companies like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon published employee data late last year that highlighted a tremendous shortfall in the numbers of minorities working in their industry when compared to the overall population. Notably, this research didn’t represent other targeted employee groups, such as veterans or those with disabilities.
As a result of these reports, Facebook decided to require managers to do certain things on the hiring front, such as interviewing at least one minority candidate for every open position. Before judging the company’s efforts as discriminatory, we need to understand these mandates as kick starts to an existing impartial hiring process. You see, instituting company mandates such as interviewing quotas and using tax break programs like the Worker Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) actually create larger applicant pools of successful candidates that might otherwise be overlooked.
In the technology industry antiquated and broken hiring practices remain the most critical reason why there are so few women and minorities working in the field and why recruiting costs are so high. Naturally, searching for applicants with such unique and accomplished skill sets makes recruiting much more complex. In turn, there should not be a surprise when the same high costs secure the same cookie-cutter candidates that find applicants using the same old methods to search the same old places.
Through their new hiring stipulation Facebook has uncovered the psychology behind how hiring should occur. Companies need to stop talking about Affirmative Action and start talking about how the real world operates today. Recognition of all groups and how they offer talent is a key ingredient that society still needs to work on embracing. Company management and HR departments can lead the way by showing others how this is done.
For Facebook mandating a process is a good thing. The company understands that for every ten interviews a hiring manager completes two or three “hidden nugget” candidates will be discovered. Interviewing candidates via the WOTC program also helps companies fill demanding spots with solid talent and receive up to $6,000 of a new hire’s first year’s salary in a tax credit. These savings can be reinvested in the recruiting budget to support additional employment avenues to help maintain a balance of diversity initiatives.
Companies that genuinely value diversity understand that creating it doesn’t happen on its own. Hiring mandates encourage hiring managers to create a supportive work environment for underrepresented employee groups. In turn, these groups will begin to feel more welcome and appreciated. Candidates who benefit from diverse hiring mandates will socially spread the word about their new employer’s modern, inclusive and cost-conscious hiring practices.
With looming positions to fill and brand building opportunities, what are you doing to improve diversity in your workplace?