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7 Reasons Why Discrimination in Hiring is here to Stay!

Discrimination is here to stay.  Yep I said it.  The elephant is in the room and we might as well talk about him.  He’s called Discrimination and he just used the bathroom behind your desk!  Your office represents your hiring process and this behemoth called Discrimination is soiling it daily.  You could just tell the elephant to get out but you realize every person involved in your hiring process has brought their own elephant.  Some are also named Discrimination while many others are called Bias and Prejudice.  You realize there’s no hope in getting rid of them all so you enact laws to protect parts of your organization from your own team’s elephants.  Unfortunately the mess soon becomes so great that they invade even the parts protected by your laws.

Can anything be done about discrimination within an organization?  Studies show diversity training does not work.  Rather it serves to further emphasize the differences between us.  Laws?  Their mere existence solidifies the fact that we are inherently a discriminatory group.  We actually need government enforced regulations to prevent us from discriminating!  We love to discriminate and not just against minorities and women!  If laws tell us not to discriminate on the basis of color, creed, religion, gender, age, and so on then you can darn sure bet we’ll find something else to discriminate against such as obesity, smoking, tattoos or unattractiveness.  Heck studies show we’ll even turn our nose up at the beautiful.

Why do we discriminate?

  1. We’re afraid – Our misconceptions of other races and cultures shape us into cowardly beings too afraid to take a chance in hiring a perfectly qualified candidate who may be a little different than us.
  2. We’re jealous – We don’t want to compete with someone who may be smarter or more attractive than us so we eliminate them from contention.
  3. We’re prideful – We often hire people who are mirror images of us assuming an army of clones will further contribute to our organization’s success.  You saw how well that worked for the Empire in Star Wars.  Often cloning fosters an environment devoid of creativity with no one present to challenge our decisions.
  4. We flock together – Over 90% of Fortune 500 CEOs are white.  Within the top echelons of these companies blacks account for only 2% of the executives.  What assumptions can we make from this data?  If 90% of Fortune 500 CEOs were black do you really think blacks would account for only 2% of all executives?
  5. We’re corporate minded – A corporation’s primary goal is to make money.  Spending extra money for the health benefits of a smoker or obese person doesn’t make good sense.  Likewise if our profits are built on the backs of the attractive than we have no business with the unsightly.  Yes, I realize that sounds ridiculously harsh but honestly don’t you sometimes feel this world belongs to the pretty?
  6. We’re prejudiced – Stating the obvious here but many of us have been shaped over years by our parent’s prejudicial views and the media’s sometimes negative portrayal of minorities and other ethnicities.  These views have subconsciously taken hold in our minds and we eliminate good candidates from contention.  A 30 minute interview with a qualified candidate won’t always undermine decades of influence.
  7. We’re in denial – For all those who have said while reading this article, “That’s not me” then this point is just for you.  EEOC lawsuit filings indicate discrimination is still prevalent and rising and more than just a handful of people are responsible.  The first step to eliminating the problem as with most is admitting you have one.  The sooner you look inward and consider your fears the greater the chance you can combat your own biases.

Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe equal evidence exists suggesting we’re not as biased as we once were.  If someone has some I’d sure like to see it.

About The Author

Ryder Cullison

Ryder has more than 10 years of experience working with retained search clients as a search professional. As a pioneer of Interview4 he has great knowledge of video interviewing. He writes about all things hiring and looks forward to engaging with his audience on topics of leadership, recruiting, candidate screening, and employee satisfaction. Follow him on Twitter: @hireintelligent and @cullison1

2 Responses to “7 Reasons Why Discrimination in Hiring is here to Stay!”

  1. Shangley G.
    July 5, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Randomly found this article off google.

    I just had 2 interviews last week.
    Both weren’t that good, although I was perfectly qualified for both.

    The first one, the owner of the business asked me “Why should I hire you, and not some 26 year old female?” He then went on to make comments how men could never keep up with the girls. The job was for web and graphic design — something I’ve been doing for almost 20 years. Nonetheless, because I’m trying to kiss ass to get the job, I just had to smile and give the guy a “nice” answer. If I had 10 job offers however, I would have quickly thanked him for his time, and told him the interview was wrapping up, and left.

    The 2nd interview with another company was a group interview — never my favourite. The 3 owners were out of town, as it was the day before a long weekend. So the interview was with 3 employees, who I felt were totally threatened by me. Of course, I haven’t heard back from them, probably because they quickly said I wasn’t the right “fit” to their bosses.

    Essentially, if you are called in for an interview, the hiring person has already determined you can do the job, having looked at your resume and perhaps your portfolio. In other words, if you’re called in for an interview, they already know you could do the job they have.

    The interview, essentially, just answers the question “do we like you”? Which I can’t help but take a little personally.

    I keep hearing “fit” being used by these hiring people all the time now. And I truly believe it’s just a nice catch-all phrase to say you don’t like someone, for no particular reason. What else could it mean?

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