Networking: Monoculture Maintenance or Bias Buster
Networking is a great way to find candidates you can trust. You probably already know great people you’d love to work with.
However, networking can unintentionally lead to a team that look and think a lot like you. Even if our friends and connections look different than we do, it’s likely a high percentage of the people we know have similar opinions to us, share religious or political views, economic status, life situation, etc. At its worst, networking can perpetuate our own view of the world and create monoculture at work.
At its best, networking can be an excellent source for diverse candidates. In Y Scouts’ Built On Purpose Podcast,* Patty McCord – former chief talent officer of Netflix gives an excellent example of how to use networking to increase the number of qualified women in your network:
Take a piece of paper and ask each person, literally each person, who’s the best woman they’ve ever worked with and then interview them all…. Now you know what your interview list is for the next few months and ask the women you interview the same question.
The company in question told Patty that qualified women weren’t walking across their desk. Patty encouraged them to proactively use their networking to target excellent female candidates. You can do the same.
Another active recruiting opportunity is to attend job fairs that target underrepresented groups. In the US, a great list of schools to start with is the HBCU – Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Another benefit of attending these events or specifically networking with people from underrepresented groups is the message you send to your applicant pool and company. You’re showing diversity is a real priority at your company – which is critical when female or minority applicants are considering whether they will accept your job.