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The disconnect between diversity recruitment goals and the actions of the management team

December 7, 2022

Despite their best intentions, teams are failing to achieve their diversity hiring goals. While many complexities feed into this issue, there’s a common cause of failure occurring across companies: The disconnect between diversity recruitment goals and the actions of line managers.

As with any business objective, success in diversity hiring depends on the right strategic and tactical actions, and an alignment across teams. If you suspect your diversity hiring efforts could be being impacted by a lack of team alignment, read on because I’m about to share the key questions you need to ask.

What to ask your hiring managers, and why

By asking your team members the three questions in this article, you can begin to unpack and assess whether the following crucial elements are strong enough within your recruitment processes. These elements are:

  • Accountability to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals
  • Processes to enable inclusive and minimally biased recruitment
  • Training and capability building for leaders


1. Accountability to DEI goals

Ask: “Does the organization have diversity targets? If yes, what and how often are they tracked?”

In a recent audit of an employer’s recruitment practices, we received a range of answers to this question (which immediately identified a disconnect). Of the hiring managers asked:

  • 44% of managers expressed the organization has overarching intentions, but no formal targets
  • 33.3% said the organization had targets in place, but they do not relate to their teams
  • 22.2% said they had targets in place
  • 50% said they don’t know how often the progress on targets is tracked and changes actioned.


2. Processes to enable inclusive and minimally biased recruitment

Ask: “How are job requirements being defined? Are any tools being used to remove bias when creating the initial requirements and job descriptions?”

    In the same audit, 44% of hiring managers said yes. However, they also expressed a need for clarification around exactly how this is being done. For example, one hiring manager stated: It comes from HR but I don’t know what they do.”

    💡If you’re unsure as to why this step is important, I recommend reading our actionable report on inclusive hiring

    3. Training and capability building for leaders

    Ask: “Are candidates being asked the same questions in the same order?”

    Hiring Managers in the recently audited organization indicated they have autonomy around how they conduct their interviews. One hiring manager said that an interview guide is provided, but it doesn’t provide deep insight into making their interviews more inclusive. All hiring managers said they aim to hire the best candidate for the role while allowing reasonable adjustments for a diverse pipeline. However, only one hiring manager said they asked all the questions in the same order.

    💡 Why might this inconsistency in approach be causing problems?

    “While unstructured interviews consistently receive the highest ratings for perceived effectiveness from hiring managers, dozens of studies have found them to be among the worst predictors of actual on-the-job performance — far less reliable than general mental ability tests, aptitude tests, or personality tests.”

    Iris Bohnet, How to take the bias out of interview

    Further questions to ask your hiring managers include (but are not limited to):

    • What training is in place to help you deliver an inclusive recruitment process? (You can also use the Inclusive Hiring module in WORK180’s Equity Audit)
    • Is the candidate’s outcome discussed as a group or do individual interviewers complete your assessment before coming together?

    If you’re not meeting your diversity recruitment targets, a deep-dive review may be the next best step. Should you want an external perspective/support with this, please reach out to your WORK180 DEI Account Manager or book a meeting with a member of our team

    Hiring teams play a crucial part in any diversity strategy, which is why it’s vital they’re equipped with the latest DEI knowledge and practices. 

    Leading employers get it and are preparing both internal and external hiring teams formally with WORK180’s Gender Equity Sourcing Accreditation.

    WORK180's Gender Equity Sourcing Accreditation badge

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    About the Author

    Gemma Lloyd is Co-Founder and CEO of WORK180, which is on a mission to raise organizational standards for all women in the workplace. Working with employers across the globe and at all stages of their DEI journey, Gemma has a decade of experience helping companies build and benefit from workplaces where all women can thrive.

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