Archive for August, 2013

Filling Positions Diversely Will Benefit Your Company

August 23rd, 2013

diverse hiringDiversity helps companies achieve business goals and, in an inclusive environment, 20% more employees state that they will stay at their organization, according to Corporate Executive Board (CEB) research. These findings and others were reported by Jean Martin in a recent “Harvard Business Review” article.

Martin observes that diversity initiatives such as mentoring, diversity councils and affinity groups are supported by management even during tough economic times. But is this investment paying off?

There are few firms with particularly diverse and inclusive populations. CEB research identifies bias, whether unconscious or conscious, as one of the key problems in moving qualified diverse candidates into leadership roles.

Innovative Processes to Counter Bias

Martin cites two examples of companies that utilize “objective-fit analysis” tools. These organizations succeeded in modifying their promotion processes to build diverse candidate slates and neutralize biases.

At Charlotte’s Duke Energy, managers prepare a candidate list for a specific position. At the same time, HR prepares its own slate by querying their data against a detailed position profile. Both lists are used to create the candidate pool. The combined list of qualified candidates may include some not known by the hiring manager.

CEMEX, a cement manufacturer headquartered in Mexico with 42,883 employees worldwide, developed a data tool to analyze employee profiles. Four factors in the profile – experience, knowledge, potential and performance, and personal – are created through lengthy testing and assessment processes. These leader profiles are matched against detailed position profiles to create a candidate slate.

EEOC and OFCCP Compliance Software

Duke Energy and CEMEX’s solutions are good innovations, but the newest technology in compliance should also be considered.  EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) and OFCCP (Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs) compliance software can automate and streamline the hiring process, with functions such as recording voluntary EEO information (race, gender, ethnicity) as well as capturing a wealth of information needed during compliance audits, like applicant logs and flow data.

Take Advantage of Compliance Tech to Assess Candidate Diversity

When you’re ready to create your short list of candidates for interviews, a report from your compliance software will show qualified candidates (measured against minimum job requirements) with their EEO characteristics. If the candidate pool shows few or no benchmarks of diversity, you’ll know in advance that more work is necessary before the interviews start; for example, explore diversity job boards.

Is Your Candidate a Superbowl Contender or a Playoff Fluke?

August 6th, 2013

joe montana

According to an article on, Don Moore, an associate professor at Berkeley-Haas, says that hiring managers often ignore the context of past performance. This can undermine the hiring process because past performance  provides context into what a candidate has truly done as opposed to seeing what they look like on paper.

Because football season is almost here, it’s easy to think about past performance in the context of the NFL.  Think about those teams with great records towards the end of the season.  Sure, a 10-3 record looks pretty on paper, but what teams did they play?  Did the majority of their opponents have losing records, or did they get through a gauntlet of tough teams?   Contextual differences like these make all the difference in the world between a true Superbowl contender and a team that will likely be eliminated in their first playoff game.

On a more academic level, a GPA is a common score used to determine whether a person is a good student or not. However, the GPA alone doesn’t say too much because it  depends on the leniency of the grading system. Students who have a lower GPA from a school with a stricter grading system may actually be the better student.

Professor Moore refers to this as correspondence bias. As a hiring manager, it’s important that inferences aren’t drawn based upon a disposition without looking into the surrounding circumstances first.

Looking at awards is another great example. If a hiring manager sees a large number of awards on a resume, it may help to boost the candidate to the top of the list. These awards may be superficial though. There may have only been a handful of people in the running for the award or a certain company may hand out more awards than another company. If another candidate works for a company where awards are never given, that candidate may not be considered – when in fact that is the person could be the better hire.

So how can a hiring manager check up on past performance? Watch the tape on your candidate.   Even if there isn’t actual video footage of them working,  do those reference checks thoroughly and talk to the person’s supervisors to see how they have actually handled difficult experiences.  How tough were there previous jobs and what sort of obstacles did they get through to succeed? Just as you would when making your NFL playoff picks, make sure you consider what your candidate has been put up against to get where they are.