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How to Hire for Diversity Using Past Success as an Indicator

group of employees dressed in business attire standing and looking at the camera

When you have great employees, you want to find more people like them. The reasons so many employers and hiring managers feel this way is pretty obvious. Why wouldn’t you want to duplicate success? Hiring for diversity without overlooking the key success indicators can help you build a team of people who bring new and equally valuable  experiences to the table.

Knowing what makes your employees (or even yourself) do so well is an essential part of choosing the right candidates in the future, but searching for people exactly like your current staff does have a few pitfalls. Being too rigid in your requirements can mean missing out on innovative ideas or new perspectives. Search for the elements that have led to success, but know when to allow for a little flexibility.

When it is time to hire, consider what the new employee will actually need to do and think about what characteristics would enable them to succeed. Take a look at your own staff. Over time, you should be able to recognize what makes your team click or what traits are present in your best individuals. Pre-hire assessment tests — whether focused on skills, personality, habits, or a combination of characteristics – can reveal these elements in a clear, validated way. You should also consider your own observations as well as feedback from managers, employees, and clients.

Not hiring a clone of your present employees doesn’t mean neglecting these successful traits. It simply means that we may need to be reminded that a candidate with a slightly different background or who demonstrates a different way of looking at your business may fit in quite well.

As psychologist Paul White suggests in Entrepreneur, hiring for diversity comes in many forms. In any group of people, the individuals have different things that motivate them, different ways of thinking about a problem.

You are accepting of these differences among employees because you know that they are successful and that the differences don’t interfere with doing good business. This can create a false sense that any future employee ought to act like or be just like these successful individuals.

It is important to be able to create or accept new ideas. No matter how great your business model is or how sincerely you stick to a tradition, cultural and technological changes will require you to adapt in order to stay competitive. Choose candidates who understand and show commitment to your goals, but recognize that a slightly different style or viewpoint can ensure that you don’t forget to see your work objectively.

It is essential that new hires be able to integrate well, but it is also important to realize that searching for cookie cutter candidates can leave you frustrated with a stagnant atmosphere or company culture. Consider what type of position you are hiring for and think about whether a different candidate could be an asset.