Recently I had one of the most refreshing client meetings I have had in a long time. I was meeting with a Director of a Global Business to discuss the recruitment of a critical leadership role. The role is an important one, with significant responsibility and this Director, quite rightly, had some very clear criteria in terms of the necessary competencies, skills and experience which potential candidates would need to demonstrate, if he was to hire them. He had a clear vision and strategy and knew what he wanted the person in this role to achieve; that clarity alone was music to this recruiter’s ears, a clear brief makes our job so much easier. We then got to the discussion of culture fit and this Director said something that absolutely made my day.
He really wanted to embrace and build a diverse team and was explicit in his desire to meet with candidates of all ages, gender, cultural backgrounds and personal situations.
He was actively trying to break the ‘boys’ club’ mentality, for which his industry has often been known. To be clear, he absolutely wanted the best person for the job and he would select candidates on merit, but he was committed to doing it solely on merit, and not letting any prejudice (explicit or implicit) impact his decision. Sadly, in more than a decade in the recruitment sector, I have not had many of these conversations. Whilst I don’t think people deliberately intend to be prejudiced, there can still be an implicit prejudice which impacts the hiring decisions of some managers.
They overlook the older candidate, or the Mum with small children, or the person with English as a second language. People have a tendency to hire in their own image and subsequently you get a whole team of very similar people (and perspectives!) So thank you Mr Client, it was so refreshing to meet a manager with such insight, who was actively trying to embrace diversity, it really made my week (and probably decade!)