Jan 22, 2013

Your company has implemented a diversity initiative, and you are ready to go.  You flip on your computer and see great candidates yet, none of them seem to be the right fit.  The more you look for candidates, the harder it gets. It’s the infamous “Purple Squirrel”

Inclusion, openness, tolerance, whatever you want to call it starts at home. Everyone you meet has unique qualities that make up who they are. We all have a story. Everyone’s personality is a collection of unique experiences developed through time lumped together.  The question is whether or not employees can be their true selves at work.

When there is an intentional focus by a company to embraces people’s differences, it can bring out the best (and the worse) in people.  The fun part is when existing employees begin feeling comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions that they normally, out of fear, keep to themselves.

Just because you or your company wants to have a more diverse work force does not mean that the existing culture could embrace such an initiative. That we may need to discuss over dinner! J To start, we need an understanding of the job description, the company culture and your own biases that could affect your best recruiting efforts.  It happens to everyone.

What could go wrong in the scenario below? Do you see an issue with the description, the hiring manger, the team or you? Could it be something else? What is the sex of the people on the development team? What is the age of the hiring manager or team? What types of candidates would you, the department or CEO consider to be a diverse candidate at this company? Where should you post this job? What types of people do you think this description excludes? I am completely interested in your perspective and would love to see it in the comments section below.

To get a full deep dive insight into “Zoo Vehicle,” please come to my session at SourceCon Feb 7th – 8th in Atlanta, GA. We will discuss some of the responses during the session. I think you will be surprised….

You have been tasked with sourcing candidates for a Software Engineer. Everything below is happening at the same time:

Job Description – Senior Software Engineer

A Software Engineer job is now open at a startup whose high-traffic website combines retail and social media in an exciting way. This dynamic service has caught on with large numbers of young consumers and has landed the company in the news more than once.

You’ll be working directly with the founding team to define this company’s product and develop a great user experience. You need 5+ years of experience, including Groovy/Grails, although strong candidates with Java or Ruby will be considered.

Led by an inspirational, charismatic female CEO and well-funded by multiple VCs, this company seeks to hire creative, driven people, making this a lively and fast-paced environment.

Hiring Manager

 “I need someone tomorrow! This has been open forever. All of the candidates you have sent either have way too much experience or not enough experience. The others only have Java or Ruby. Make sure you find someone that is a fit for the team. Remember, most of the team went to University of Miami. They hate people from the University of Florida. Let me know whom you find.”

The Team

“We have interviewed 3 candidates so far.  We need someone with high energy, and someone who is willing to work long hours and do whatever it takes. We need someone who gets social media and a bit of e-commerce who can develop fast – the market is completely different from it was in the early 2000’s. I mean, Grails .01 has been out since 2006 but, what we need is the latest version that just came out in December.”


You have been a sourcer and recruiter at the company for 5 years. This company has been in business since 1950. You have lived in the same area for 30 years. You worked with your manager at a previous company and you have known the hiring manager for 3 years. You can appreciate the initiative to hiring a diverse candidate pool yet, you also know, that the hiring manager thinks that having such an initiative is a waste of time. The initiative is brand new.  Probably, like every other “great decision” this will soon lose its luster and not be a priority anymore.

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