During a startup’s early hectic days when the founders and co-founders are more focused on recruiting talent based solely on skills and qualifications rather than on the basis of diversity, it may be the case that the early hiring process becomes ingrained as part of the company’s culture and diversity is not given much consideration as the startup grows and progresses. As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. However, by sticking strictly to a criteria based only on skills and qualifications and not venturing outside the comfort zone to hire people from different walks of life, backgrounds and skill sets, your startup risks losing outstanding talents.
Diversity is key for high performing, trailblazing companies and organizations today. Scouting for potential hires that come from a diverse range of backgrounds, social standings and qualifications may seem daunting and consume more resources and time, but the payoff is well worth it as numerous studies have shown that companies that employ a team of more diverse talent usually outperform those that are less diverse in their makeup. As startups are usually dynamic and thrive on the unpredictability that comes with its unstructured nature, hires that do not conform to conventional norms and standards can really prosper and display their chops in a startup environment. To lay the groundwork that will eventually form the foundation from which your startup can hire for diversity, the following pointers can help you out.
An easy rule to follow for any startup to being hiring for diversity is to include at least one diverse potential hire when interviewing for a position or role to fill in the organization. Don’t limit your startup to only potential hires that apply for the position; instead, actively seek out and approach candidates from job seeking sites and platforms, and make a conscious attempt to understand what their motivations, visions and goals are and how they might fit in relation to your startups’ own. Women and people from minority groups with the proper support and encouragement can perform exceptionally well when given the opportunity to do so.
Sometimes, it’s good to give your startup a reality check every once in a while to see if it has been keeping up with its goal of diversity hiring. If you discover that your team or workforce is still dominated by a single ethnic group, gender or socioeconomic background, then it’s time to take a step back and reconsider your hiring process; are there any gaps in the process that’s limiting the pool of available candidates? Is the startup doing enough to proactively reach out to diverse talent? Perhaps your startup can begin to seriously consider hiring remotely to connect with individuals from outside your startup’s location. Your startup doesn’t need to be absolutely perfect and stick strictly to a formula of hiring X members from Y background to the letter, but it should do its best to avoid bias and seek out diverse talent.
Another important thing to consider as well when hiring for diversity is the educational and socioeconomic background of potential candidates. Graduating from a top tier university does not necessarily translate to better performance in your startup. Do not make the mistake of overlooking candidates from less prestigious backgrounds; in order to compete with others that have more qualifications than they do, they usually have to work harder and smarter in order to prove themselves to employers. Instead of relying solely on academic qualifications to determine who would be the best fit for your startup’s culture, ask pertinent questions during the interview process to find out how well the individual’s motivations, goals and passion would align with your startup’s.
If your startup is filled with talented, diverse members, they afford it different perspectives and points of view that can greatly enhance its business performance and positively impact its bottom line. By starting to hire for diversity as soon as your startup is able, you will quickly see the benefits and value that diversity brings.