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How is diversity and inclusion in hiring really working out?

Diversity and inclusion in hiring Bob Pudlock

Diversity and Inclusion in hiring and talent acquisition are prominent in the news and across social media, but how is it being implemented at the individual hiring manager level?

Beyond the words and the keynote speakers expounding on principles and “You should”, “We need to” or We must” proclamations regarding diversity, what can hiring managers and people in positions of authority due to promote diversity and inclusion, while still accomplishing their primary mandate of a high performing department and company?

As an executive recruiter and talent acquisition consultant who works with manufacturing companies to capture hard to find talent for their hard to fill roles, I’m in the trenches with managers trying to fill jobs with people that can just “do the da*n work”.

My experience has been they want to fill the job as much as I do, and they want the person to make their job easier.

So why do we have so many jobs left open? Why do we still have job seekers left out in the cold when jobs are open in their area?

Below we’ll give hiring managers who are directly impacted by open jobs on their teams ways to apply diversity and inclusion practices.

By the end of the article, you’ll learn it’s less about adding principles and buzzwords to your vocabulary than it is about removing barriers to your candidate pipeline.

Diversity and Inclusion | An Analogy

Two piano players, Student A and Student B, enroll for lessons with a highly regarded instructor.

Each student has equal ability.

Student A comes from a family whose parents graduated from Julliard.

Their oldest child is an accomplished musician too.

Student B comes from a household that doesn’t have any ties to music or accomplishments in the field of music.

In fact, Student B comes from a working class family whose father actively resisted the overtures of his child having an interest in music, which he didn’t see any long-term application or value in.

“What kind of job are you going to get by taking piano lessons?”

However, he finally gave in at the insistence of the child, as parents do!

Student A, coming from a family of accomplished musicians, has a significant amount of familiarity with and exposure to musical theory, best practices, proper technique and a strong awareness of “what it takes to be a successful musician” through their upbringing and by osmosis.

Student B does not.

In fact, Student B has been exposed to negative inputs from their father, who views the pursuit of music mastery a negative versus one, much less one that’s going to do anyone any good in the long run.

Some would say Student A comes from a strong culture and an “environment conducive to success.”

Some would say Student B does not.

And, if this instructor only had time for one student, they might view Student A as being more favorable and more likely to be successful because they come from a “music family”.

But let’s say for this example, the instructor went ahead and trained both Student A and Student B.

How many times have you seen Student B outperform Student A?

Whether it’s athletics or in the workplace, how many times have we seen Student A fall short of their potential due to a lack of self-discipline, motivation, desire, critical thinking and emotional intelligence to perform at a high level?

How many times have we seen a frustrated instructor “fire” Student A because, in their words, “I’m a piano teacher, not a babysitter.”

What about in the workplace? How many times has it occurred you want your team members to be successful more than they do?

Sticking with the analogy, let’s say Student B went on to be an accomplished musician.

What was at the core of Student B’s success?

Student B didn’t become successful because they were more talented, had more benefits or had extra privileges. That’s not it.

Student B had access to the same instructor as Student A. That’s not it.

It sure wasn’t the environment in which they were raised, that’s for sure.

In fact, Student B was successful in spite of the “culture” they were raised in.

What did contribute to Student B’s success was their willingness to be trained.

Student B did what the instructor told him to do.

Over time, the instructor added on layers of technique, new skills and new concepts that Student B could blend into their repertoire.

In other words, Student B was COMPLIANT and incrementally improved.

Trainable and compliant.

Student B is compliant to the continually evolving high standards and expectations of the instructor.

Student B proves the point that a willingness to learn and an ability to adapt are just as important, if not more, than talent and “access to culture”.

More than a college degree – employers are figuring this out.

Less companies are requiring a college degree, especially in manufacturing and production jobs that are hard to fill in industries like food manufacturing, aviation and aerospace and chemical manufacturing.

And why did Student A fall short of their potential?

Student A did not have the interest nor the desire to develop into an accomplished musician, despite their parent’s pedigree.

Despite their natural talents and their access to the best instructors and talent peers at Julliard.

Student A was capable, but not trainable nor compliant to the continually increasing standards and performance level necessary to succeed at each subsequent stage of development.

Student A never developed.

Diversity and Inclusion in Hiring = Expanding your Talent Pipelines to Find More Student B’s


When it comes to diversity and inclusion in hiring and talent acquisition.

Companies with hard to fill roles often handcuff themselves by putting unnecessary requirements in job descriptions.

The must-haves come in all shapes and sizes:

Must have a Masters degree in Biology
Must have a degree in Mechanical Engineering
Must have 10 years experience working in aviation and aerospace

Even with the best of intentions, you may be importing biases into your job postings and job descriptions that limit the Student B’s who may not have had access to education.

They may have been blocked from access to required industry exposure for far worse reasons – systemic racism, sex-based discrimination and archaic hiring practices all contribute to today’s Student B’s not having the years of experience necessary for today’s jobs.

And so the jobs sit open, and the company’s performance lags, and great high-potential employees are left outside the gates.

Diversity and Inclusion = Fill your Jobs Fast with Future All Stars

So what can you do today?

If you’re a hiring manager, start with your own department.

Are there any must-haves that can be eliminated or downgraded that open up the job to more high-potential candidates?

Beyond the functional and industry specific requirements for the open job, what are the key behavioral traits that most impact the success of the next hire?

I’ll give you a head start.

Look for:

A curiosity and desire to learn
A high appetite for success
A motivation that goes beyond just collecting a check

Then ask yourself: what training resources and time can I or members of my team set aside to train up a Student B if we hired them?

At the end of this exercise, your job description and job posting may have a couple less bullet points.

And you’ll likely have to put some time into an on-boarding plan and a shuffling of some responsibilities for training up the new hire.

You’ll also have to learn some new interview questions to uncover the attributes that a high-potential, low functional experience will need to survive the onboarding process and learn the ropes quickly.

Sound like a lot of work? Wondering what the payoff is?

The immediate payoff is more candidates.

The longer-term payoff is a set of employees who were given access, given a chance and offered on-the-job training to improve their lot in life.

The longer-term payoff is a high functioning department with employees who have an appreciation and higher degree of loyalty.

These are all things a hiring manager can control.

Diversity and Inclusion in Hiring | What can you do?

To summarize, here’s what you can do as a hiring manager or a talent acquisition and HR leader in a position to influence your hiring managers.

Develop an acute awareness of the behavioral traits, work style and personal interests required for each role in each functional area of your department.

Immediately strive for a more disciplined approach to recruitment, selection and hiring to those specific traits, styles and interests.

Commit time and energy to refining your department’s onboarding process keeping in mind the Student B who’ll have less experience, little industry experience and less functional skills than you’ve had in the past.

The end result?

A more diverse and inclusive department, company and workforce.

And what did it take to implement this?

Hiring managers on the ground doing what’s in their own best interests….from the bottom up.

By investing some time and energy in stripping away barriers to their jobs, the hiring manager gives themselves more access to high-potential Student B’s who can outperform your previous hires.

About the author

Bob Pudlock is a top executive recruiter in Florida with an extensive network of hard to find manufacturing talent for his clients’ hardest to fill manufacturing jobs in Florida.

If you’d like to have an exploratory call with Bob to determine if he’s the right recruiter to capture talent for your manufacturing business in Florida, click on the button below.

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