I: Interviews

I stands for isolation, something we are now all too-familiar with, ignorance, something demonstrated everywhere on a daily basis and infrastructure, the thing that is currently key to our existence on absolutely every level.   

However, all these can all be put aside for now.

The murder of George Floyd, in the midst of the Covid-19 vacuum, has led to world-wide disgust, global protests and talk of revolution is everywhere. Comparisons to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, a leader of the Civil Rights Movement, on the 4th April,1968, are probably not wide of the mark.

That night, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, made a speech in Indianapolis, from the bed of a pick-up truck, which lasted five minutes, and is considered one of the greatest in American history. Compare and contrast with Donald Trump (teargassing peaceful protesters to get a photo op in front of a church was never going to be a good look).

Amidst the current horror, questions and dialogue, there is the feeling things are going to change and newsreaders now talk as unblinkingly about taking the knee as they do about R-rates.  

Obviously, there is no movement or discussion that big brands and corporations will not try to focus on themselves, or as Americus Reed, a professor of marketing said in the New York Times; “they will use anti-racism as a PR exercise, a form of values and identity-driven targeted marketing.”

Yesterday, I read that Grindr is removing an “ethnicity filter” from its dating app, as part of its support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Nice of them.

That they had such a thing is unbelievable, but it got me thinking.

If someone wanted to exclude any ethnicities from their search, there was a filter to help them. Now that filter has gone, they can still exclude those ethnicities simply by swiping left, when they see a picture not fitting their criteria. Essentially, nothing has changed; the racial filtering process has become marginally more time-consuming.

And that, I think, is, very similar to the hiring process.

The Equality Act 2010, makes it unlawful to discriminate against employees, job seekers and trainees because of race, but it is still very easy to do so. The same goes for age, gender or anything else that can be filtered. 

There is something called ‘blind’, or anonymised hiring, which refers to the technique of removing personal information from candidate applications during the assessment process. The idea is to help employers overcome the unconscious biases that can result in people from more diverse backgrounds being overlooked for the job. A bit like removing the ethnicity filter from a dating app.

But at the interview stage, the employer can still ‘swipe left’ with impunity.

A candidate can fly through the blind cv process and then arrive at the interview, where the employer decides, for whatever reason, that their face does not fit, applying all the conscious or unconscious biases that they had both been shielded from previously in the process. 

In the UK, BAME citizens represent 14% of the population. The latest figures say that the current  level of BAME board members is 7.4%, down from 9% in 2018, while the number of chairs, chief executives and finance directors remains at 3.3%. (Green Park Consultancy).

Quotas should be enforced by law; so quite simply, any company of 10 or more employees should employ at least 15% BAME personnel and the interview process itself needs to change if companies are going to reflect the community in which they exist.

My suggestion would be, that during the hiring process, cvs should go through the current company requirements and mechanisms blind, ensuring all educational and experience criteria are met, but that the final interview stage should be conducted by a panel of three to six employees, chosen at random, who ask all the selected candidates the same set of pre-arranged questions and then discuss and choose the best candidate for the job.

A bit like jury service, the panel is then discharged and another chosen for the next round of hiring. The original panel, however, will share responsibility for the hired candidate’s induction and future career progress in their new company.







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