The Decision-Making Process
Hiring a diverse candidate outside of their network, rather than someone they already know or who looks like them, can be difficult for hiring teams, Kelly says. To help remove unconscious bias, she recommends rating applicants’ responses right away rather than after you’ve interviewed all the candidates, and then using those notes rather than recollection to compare them.
For instance, she says, if the choice comes down to two candidates, say a white male who looks like the hiring team and an Asian woman, comparing the written notes on the two provides a less subjective assessment. “You see that she gave a stronger answer [and] she's got a stronger background and experience.”
Most important, says Kelly, is the team must agree that if they hire a diverse candidate they’re going to support them and help make them successful.
The Long Term
And once your organization sets the goal of building a diverse workforce, “hold each other accountable to that goal,” Kelly stresses.
At MXOtech, for example, Sobran’s management team knows workplace diversity is a priority for her. “My managers are very aware how I feel about that,” she says. If the team finds the right candidate who also happens to be a woman or person of color, “we celebrate that.”
Stanners sees larger members of the channel community looking into creating diversity, equity, and inclusion leadership roles in-house. “One of the biggest questions seems to be hiring a chief diversity officer, and what does that position look like,” he says. It’s a crucial job for systematic improvement in diversity and inclusion, but leaders are discovering an off-the-shelf job description hard to come by. As a result, CompTIA is creating assets to help channel pros define that role.
Eaton acknowledges that building a diverse workforce isn’t easy, because people are afraid of making missteps. However, he adds, “I've seen with my own team that transparency and honesty go such a long way. [If] people know what you're trying to do and where your heart is, they will help figure things out with you and be your partner.”
—Jennifer Oladipo contributed reporting to this story.
Code2040 – Nonprofit organization that connects Black and Latinx tech talent with companies, mentors, and peers committed to racial equity and inclusion in the tech sector
Greater Good Magazine – Article on “The Subtle Way Cultural Bias Affects Job Interviews.”
IT-Ready/CompTIA Tech Academy – Provides training, certification, and career services for adults who want to launch their careers in tech.
Lila Kelly Associates – Book, Integrate Diversity into Recruiting, Interviewing and Hiring