How Do You Hire for Diversity?

By Vira Trevino-Garcia, Certified Diversity and Inclusion Recruiter – Recruiting Director

Over the last several years, companies have become more focused on creating a mission-driven workplace. For recruiting, that has meant interviewing for culture fit with the organization. Hiring employees that are aligned with the company vision and values is a top priority, which means selecting candidates based on how well they can conform and adapt to the existing values and behaviors of the organization.

However, with the recent attention and surge in efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion, the practice of hiring for culture fit has come into the spotlight. Hiring for culture fit can reinforce lack of diversity and lead the way to groupthink and corporate monocultures. Talent acquisition leaders have begun to shift the hiring away from culture fit and pivot more towards “culture ADD” in order to build more dynamic and innovative organizations.

Culture add is a term used to describe people who not only value the company’s existing standards and workplace culture, but also bring an aspect of diversity that positively contributes to the organization. Changing the mindset to culture add also helps change the recruiting mindset from “What does this candidate not have?” to “What can this person bring to the table?”.

Interviewing and hiring for culture fit can unintentionally encourage managers to pick candidates that look and think like everyone else, and affinity (the candidate is like me) is one of the strongest unconscious biases. Pivoting the mindset to look for culture add and focusing on how a candidate’s individuality can make a company better and stronger will return the rewards of a truly diverse team.