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recruiting Diversity

Recruiting Connections: Building an Inclusive Company Culture

June 15, 2023

In the latest episode of Recruiting Connections with Chris Murdock, host Chris Murdock, Chief Sourcing Officer and Co-Founder of IQTalent, dives into the topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the recruitment industry with Kris Clelland, Talent and People Strategist and Founder & Director of Clellands & Co.

This insightful conversation covers common barriers to diversity in recruitment processes, highlighting the importance of both external and internal diversity efforts, and explores strategies for effectively branding organizations to attract diverse talent.

Dive into the latest episode of Recruiting Connections! Join host Chris Murdock & guest Kris Clelland as they explore diversity & inclusion in the recruitment industry. Discover common barriers, branding strategies, and more! 🌟 Be a champion for DE&I: Click to Tweet

Throughout the conversation, several resources and methods are referenced to help improve DEI in recruitment. These include:

Don't miss this episode of Recruiting Connections! Chris Murdock & Kris Clelland discuss the importance of showcasing diversity efforts & share tips to brand your organization effectively. 🚀 Listen now & transform your recruitment process:Click to Tweet

Take a look at these excerpts from the transcript below.

Cross-Cultural Training

Kris Clelland: My next point, Before you spoke, there was actually going to be cross-cultural training and cross-cultural sort of methodologies.

And I think that is an important one for me. It's taking things back to basics. Even the largest organizations in the globe have to consistently audit themselves and do surveys throughout the organization to make sure that their inclusion, their culture, their racial, and diversity in the organization is kept up to date.

I was with AWS, luckily, for a couple of years with absolutely no red tape around the purse strings, which I don't think I'll ever get that opportunity again. But it was little things like that. Like I was one of the first male members to be a champion and a chair for women at Amazon, and the local chair here in Asia Pacific used to love that.

Chris, you're introducing most of our events from the front stage. And people kinda look at you funny. I said I like that. Because why should it only be women that are advocating for women? Why should it only be racial ethnicities that are advocating for themselves?

And on that cultural piece, that's an important factor for me is that every single person in the organization or out of the organization should be advocating for every diverse group. That was a driver for me setting up my own business with the key pillar being DE&I and not a lot of people recognize me for diversity, equity, and inclusion because most of the world hasn't been on the inside, above, below, beside me in an organization to see what I've managed with regards to that respect.

And if you look at me on paper, I fall into none of the 15-plus diversity categories, and I mean that wholeheartedly, I don't fall under any of them, but why should that be a reason? I spoke to Torin Ellis, for those in the US who know Torin, before Christmas, and he said, Kris, I think you are more of a champion than I am.

Because you fall under zero of the categories, and I'm out in the community pushing for Black equality because I've been through it personally. He said the fact that you've not been through any of these, but you're still trying to push it. So the cultural side for me doesn't just fall onto one department or one demographic, et cetera, and it often falls on deaf ears.

I think everyone should be an advocate for trying to drive the cultural side, and it can be simple things. It can be providing cross-cultural training and education so that individuals can sort of develop a better understanding of different cultures and their norms, their beliefs, their values, which can also help reduce misunderstanding and conflict and promote a little bit more of a sense of belonging for everyone right across the cultural spectrum.

Branding Your Organization to Attract Diverse Talent

Kris Clelland: You mentioned breaking glass. If you're not breaking things, they'll never reform or be fixed. And the way that things have historically been built, if we take glass, for example, you melt down sand, you mix it with X, and it becomes Y unless you add something else to the mix. That glass bottle is always gonna be the same type of glass, made the same way from the same background.

Unless you throw a piece of glitter into the mix and you throw mud in there, or whatever it is to add color and diversity to what that's gonna be in the end, things will always be the same. A lot of organizations, when it comes, and I never speak up, have done quite a lot of programs in the past year on employer branding.

I'm from a design engineering background. This is why I got into pre-sales technical solution work because I love the mathematics and the engineering side. But I've also always been design-oriented, and I've done a lot of EB campaigns over the past 12 months. Everything from completely rebuilding people's brands to point of sale, et cetera, which people are like, wait a minute, you can do that?

And I'm like, that's the stuff that brings creativity: do artwork, charcoal, not as much, now. In the past decade, which is a shame, my wife tries to get me to go back to it, but with that sort of creative side, people don't think of that equity piece right from the very start. How are you branding your organization to attract more diverse talent and more people to be attracted towards your organization?

But then they don't take it three layers back the way again, and I constantly refer to reverse engineering as a process. If you reverse engineer minus three, again, even from the talent attraction piece, your diversity has to be at the forefront of everything.

I could name to you right now, five organizations this week alone I've seen LinkedIn posts from that have been up around social and corporate responsibility, the factoring in of economic factors for net zero, et cetera, and also on diversity. I know people in those organizations, and I know 99% of what they say externally is not actually what goes on in the inside.

And they're still working on those things. But don't put it out as we've completed this, we are doing this, this is what we live and breathe but, you actually don't. There has to be a level of transparency from what you're telling your internal staff with an employee value proposition to also what you're marketing.

Respectfully and honestly and truthfully, and it doesn't matter if you're saying to the external world, “Hey, we've noticed recently through an audit and found that there are the demographics within our organization who are not comfortable, and what we are doing right now to actively try to fix these is why.”

You're letting the external world know that you are making a conscious effort to fix something that you know is not as perfect as you would like it to be. That's a hundred percent okay. You don't only have to tell people things once they're done because then you wouldn't be getting that post out for 12 or 18 months, let's be honest.

So reverse engineering, again, that talent attraction piece also goes out to your clients, your new partners, and your new customers. All of that sort of stuff. And by bringing in equitable partners, I caught up this week with a number of indigenous vendors with regards to a client operation who want to try and increase their indigenous community here in Australia, which for those of you who don't know the indigenous community, were those who were first on the Australian lands.

And I reached out to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 organizations. And by the way, I'm tapping here on my whiteboard next to me. And I also reached out to New South Wales, which is where Sydney is, the New South Wales Premier for the indigenous community. If she knew of anyone else that I could potentially be in contact with, as soon as you go three or four steps further, that equitable piece then becomes not just talent that you're bringing into the organization that you're attracting, but it also then attracts a different caliber of client.

Some clients won't even work with you if your diversity isn't at the forefront of the pillars that you're working on in your organization, and people don't realize that by opening up diversity, you're not just opening up new people that come into the organization of varied colors or varied races or varied ages or whatever.

You're also opening up the doors to multiple new clients, partners, customers, et cetera. So your bottom line is a hundred percent affected by not having that equitable piece.

Championing Diversity

Kris Clelland: If you can reduce bias in your organization, reduce it for yourself, but also be a champion to others. So if you're on a panel interview or if you're in a dual interview with another colleague and you notice that they say something before an interview starts like, hey. This person came from AWS, they're definitely gonna know why.

Pull 'em up on it. Be a champion for other people as well, and say, Hey, forget the organizations that someone's worked for. Let's ask questions that open up the wheels of that person. Let's allow that person to drop the persona, drop the shoulders, and speak about their experience before we make informed decisions as to whether they're gonna be good or bad based on an organization, an educational establishment, et cetera.

So pulling yourself up, being a champion, but also being a champion for others to remove things like biases means that everyone gets more of an equitable chance of getting through the doors than they don't.

Chris Murdock: It is my job to be a champion and an ally. Yep. And I would love to hear your take, and I would love for the audience to get a full take on that.

Kris Clelland: Yeah, and I said this in the last stage that I was on when I apologized that I'm speaking about or an advocate for diversity, and I don't fall under any of the 15 plus categories. And someone afterward came up and said, look, it's really courageous that you addressed it. I'm glad that you did, but it would've made me think nothing less, given what you just delivered.

And when it comes to that, I also then said, look, I'm under no pre-illusion that at points in my life, I've taken advantage of privileged white male status, and I've probably been given one or two roles, and I say given quite aggressively there. I've been given roles just because I probably look like I should be a fit to the position historically and for those who have got me on LinkedIn or those who don't, you can add me and go through some of my posts.

I post about this stuff all the time, which, personally, I think is disgusting. I would actually rather have been rejected from those organizations than included. Because then once you're on the inside, the good, the positive for me was that there are lots to do because that white privileged male ethos runs throughout an organization, and it's my job to go in and uncover that, potentially help fix it.

Ensuring Equity During the Interview Process

Kris Clelland: But I still think that everyone should have a seat at the table throughout every hiring process, from interviewers right through to the candidate, to be given an equitable chance to be hired into the organization. I created an interview training program when I was at AWS. And I did a lot of studies.

For those of you who have never seen the Frank Schmidt 100-year recruitment study, I'm more than happy to give Chris the link, and he can post it out with us. But it's an incredible study of a hundred years worth of recruiting, and there are little things in it that I then went. Like I usually do. I went 20 levels deeper on the subjects, and it was amazing at that point in time.

And this was back in 2017-2018. In a technical interview, a technical interviewer will spend over 85% of any allocated time, whether that's 30 minutes, 45, 60 minutes, or 90 minutes, finding out what someone doesn't know. Now, if you then put together a five-stage interview process, and it's all an hour, think of the time that's been wasted if 90% of each of those interviews have been finding out what someone doesn't know - or the way that I like to think about it is - somewhat the reason why you shouldn't hire someone you've given yourself 10% of the time for each interview to actually uncover what someone does know and why to hire them, which again, goes back to the equitable piece.

You're not giving that person a fair chance of being hired into any organization, whether it's that team, whether it's opening up the skills base and figuring out, oh, that person would actually be perfect for another team, maybe not ours right now. You're not giving someone a chance. And usually, that other 10% is an introduction, a bit of chit-chat, and an ending, or what are the next processes?

So you've actually found out probably less than 2 or 3% of why you should hire the person. In an interview when I was at AWS and when I was at Zip Co. When I was at Wipro, I tried to change the landscape over the way interviewers thought, and I call it the cab driver syndrome.

A lot of interviewers say, but why do I need interview training? I've done 800. And I'm like, okay. Name one cab driver you've ever been in the car with that's an excellent, professional level driver other than like an entourage or something that you pay thousands for, and they're like, oh, good point. I said, look, if you do the same thing 800 times, you don't progressively get better at it.

You progressively get worse at that thing. Unless you fix the root cause of something you don't get better in interviewing is exactly like driving a cab. If you interview poorly a thousand times, you don't get better at it. You just get better at conversation. You don't get actually better at the interviewing itself.

So I used to say to people if you figure out something significant from someone's resume or looking at a profile, focus on that area. And I always used to say, think about when you go for lunch, and you're sitting with a group of workmates. How often do you, as a techie, do you throw a little seat into the middle of the table, and the table erupts, and you talk for hours about that topic or that subject?

Hold an interview like that. Focus on the areas that someone does know. Because then you open up the person's general cognitive ability and not just the functional capability of what they've done in the past. Give them complex situations that they might not have been in before to help open up the dial.

And then you're spending 90% of the interview finding out why to hire someone. Still focus on the areas they don't know. Because you need to know the gaps but spend minimal effort in those areas. And again, equitable processes don't have to be throwing in a technology that removes bias from a process by taking your name, your company name, and your educational establishment name off of a resume. It can be educating the people in your organization to also remove it by giving someone an equitable chance to stepping through the door.

And as I said, it might not be in your department, but speak to other departments every day and find out what, what are the USPs for your department and what you focus on technically when someone comes in. Because you might pick up four or five things from an interview that was for your department that you could then pass on to someone else as opposed to rejecting that person from the whole organization.

Like it's all of these little things that you talk about being equitable. Companies are shocked at it.

This is just a taste of the valuable invaluable insights and actionable ideas to further nurture diversity, equity, and inclusion in the recruitment industry offered in this episode of Recruiting Connections with Chris Murdock.

Don't miss this engaging and informative discussion – tune in today and become a champion for DEI within your organization! Don't forget to subscribe to "Recruiting Connections with Chris Murdock" for more engaging content on all things recruitment. Dive into our previous episodes and join the conversation.

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