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20 November 2014 @ 10:04 am
unconscious bias at work  
So, I'm watching this video about unconscious bias in the workplace -- https://www.gv.com/lib/unconscious-bias-at-work -- and I'm about 20 minutes in, and I'm thinking about my own stuff around this. It's interesting, because I have a team of administrative professionals reporting to me, so it's not surprising that it's all women. And actually, we're doing okay on racial representation, with 4 white, one Latina, and one Asian American reporting to me.

BUT, I have interviewed over 20 people in the last year, and not one of them has been black. If you expand this to all the people I've video screened (this is a weird thing we do where people answer 4 questions on video in advance of a phone screen), I've probably seen over 100 candidates for entry- to mid-level, and only one of them has been black.

So, my task for my next rounds of hiring is to ask my recruiter why I'm not seeing any black candidates. There is absolutely no reason this should be the case, and now that I see the gap, I'm pretty disturbed by it. Part of what's great about my team is that I see administrative work as a way for an excellent but green or otherwise nontraditional candidate to get their foot in the door at our company and, if they're interested, grow into other roles in other teams. This is exactly the kind of opportunity that would be ideal for underrepresented populations, but somehow we're filtering them out before they get to me.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Tags: ,
I'm feeling: frustratedfrustrated
chenoamegchenoameg on November 20th, 2014 03:50 pm (UTC)
Go you!
Kcatkcatalyst on November 20th, 2014 09:06 pm (UTC)
I'll be interested to hear what the response is. Is there a way for you to check on the applications they are filtering out so you can see for yourself? Here we actually aren't even allowed to see the full list (for admin staff, that is; we're in complete control for faculty hires). We only get the filtered list that HR thinks will be possible.
ruthless compassion: no whining!aroraborealis on November 21st, 2014 03:26 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I don't know that I can solve this at my level; I have no insight into the screening that happens before it gets to me. But I'm certain that if it's a problem in my candidate pipeline, it's a problem across AT LEAST all the candidates this recruiter is screening, and, I suspect, it's an issue across more of the recruiting team than just her. So ... uh. I bet I'll wind up needing to talk to our VP of HR, who oversees recruiting, to talk about a pretty substantial change.
metaphortunate sonmetaphortunate on November 21st, 2014 05:57 am (UTC)
That sounds difficult! Good luck. I must say that if anyone has the social skills to do this in a positive manner it's gotta be you!
ruthless compassion: cheersaroraborealis on November 21st, 2014 03:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you! and here's hoping!
Mizarchivist: Fingers Crossedmizarchivist on November 21st, 2014 07:21 pm (UTC)
born from jets!!!catness on November 22nd, 2014 10:09 am (UTC)
I think about this stuff a lot. I get my applicants through CraigsList, but I've still mostly had entirely white male job seekers until this year. (Despite that, my team of seven includes three Korean Americans.) IIRC, between 2006-2013 perhaps three women total applied, yet my most recent ad netted me eight women out of about forty respondents. (The sexist and racist things that were said to me in the most recent resume vetting process would have been comical if they hadn't been so exasperating. Really, we don't want to hire a woman because we might have to stop making dick references on the work chat channel? Honestly, you think we shouldn't call back the qualified guy with the Indian name because then someone might have to think twice about how they phrase their complaints about our colleagues in Bangalore? *eyeroll*)