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6 important tips for interviewers looking to hire top talent from diverse backgrounds, according to HR and D&I leaders
Job candidates are more likely to withdraw from the recruiting process or turn down offers after...Job candidates are more likely to withdraw from the recruiting process or turn down offers after interactions with ill-prepared interviewers who perpetrate microaggressions. Common bias pitfalls include asking a woman about childcare, speaking in an accent, and making pop culture preference assumptions. It is imperative to train interviewers better, diversity and human resources experts said, given the tight labor market. Advice for conducting better interviews includes "flipping the script" to combat bias, setting a strategy and hiring criteria, and keeping a conversational flow focused on aligning candidates to a predetermined rubric. Click here for more BI Prime stories. While interviewing for brand manager roles, Norville Barrington remembered two instances when the interviewers' comments took him aback. In one, the interviewer told Barrington, who is black, that the company was making an exception by recruiting him. In the other, the interviewer began using slang and asked if Barrington had watched the latest "Love + Hip Hop," a reality TV series about hip-hop artists. He had not. "I didn't go through with either opportunity," Barrington, now a director at a health insurance company and vice president of marketing communications for the Metro New York Chapter of the National Black MBA Association, told Business Insider. "The first opportunity wasn't the right environment for me. With the second opportunity, I pursued an option that was more aligned with my values." But if that better opportunity hadn't come along, Barrington said he would have considered the second option, despite facing an uncomfortable interview. Feeling slighted during an interview is not a new concept, and neither is overlooking insults to secure a position, many professionals and experts told Business Insider. But times are changing. The tight labor market has intensified the battle for top talent. Microaggression has entered the lexicon. Organizations spend about $8 billion on diversity training and recognize that diverse leadership leads to better overall performance. And people of all backgrounds are more connected than ever. Combined, experts said, these factors make it more likely for candidates who encounter bias to bow out. "Job seekers are evaluating the company as much as they're being evaluated," said Tony Lee, vice president of editorial for the Society for Human Resource Management. "If it becomes clear that a company's culture isn't a good fit, then they'll continue to look, especially in this job market." Despite the nearly $150 billion spent on staffing and recruiting and the emphasis on attracting diverse candidates, companies will continue to repel talent at times. "Most people want to do the right thing, but they might be N-B-C: nice, but clueless," said Maureen Berkner Boyt, founder of The Moxie Exchange, which provides diversity, inclusion, and leadership training as well as digital solutions to companies. "Companies have to give them the tools to do the right thing. Unconscious bias is all too real, and we are not spending enough time making sure that people are qualified to interview candidates." Interviewing, they said, should be strategic to be most effective. There should be a clear plan and advanced training on how to avoid bias. "We're now in a society where a lot of companies want diversity talent: black and brown, LGBTQ, able-bodied," said Netta Jenkins, vice president of global inclusion for Mosaic Group and Ask Applications, and the author of "Self-Advocacy & Confidence for a Fearless Career." "It's really important for organizations to see how we can retool [systems and processes] to make sure they are equitable. Organizations need to focus on systemic gaps versus aesthetic diversity." Heide Gardner, senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer at Interpublic Group (IPG), a global provider of marketing solutions, said that getting through the interview is just the beginning. Employers need to address systemic factors to be competitive in hiring and in fostering inclusion for retention and advancement, she added. That is why these topics were included in the Advancing Diversity Council meeting at CES 2020, said Gardner, an inductee of the 2018 Advancing Diversity Hall of Honors. These are six tips for before, during, and after the interview to have an equitable hiring process without perpetuating microaggressions. 1. Update your recruiting process to represent diversity — in materials and in person Siri Chilazi, a gender and organizations researcher at the Harvard Kennedy School — Harvard's school of government, public policy, and public leadership — said that one important area to address is recruiting materials, starting with the job description. Featuring people of diverse gender, race, age, or disability in recruiting materials and on the company website would be among additional updates required, as would using non-gendered language that reflects aspirations for diversity, Chilazi said. "The specific words that you apply in your materials can turn some applicants on and off," she said. "For example, if you write that you're looking for an 'individualistic, aggressive coding ninja,' that will likely keep women from applying." Minda Harts, author of "The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table," said that during her recent book tour, she met many college students who asked about wearing their natural hair or shortening their name to seem less ethnic. "Unfortunately, they are greeted on the first day of their interview process with many [biases] before they have a chance to introduce themselves," Harts said. "It's hard to display a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion when your 'About Us' page doesn't reflect that." Harts also recommended that companies include interviewers of diverse backgrounds so candidates can see diversity reflected in the company early on. Kate Byrne, president of Intentional Media, suggested instituting a buddy system for each candidate, similar to the way first-year students entering college are assigned an older student to guide them during orientation. Walking the company's halls, for example, would give a candidate a better sense than being in an interview room. "To me, that is where you would get those real concerns out, when you get people in a more experiential setting," said Byrne. "But it has to be consistent with all candidates." Chilazi said interviewers should also tell candidates about the company's formal interview process, however it is structured, to foster fairness. They can explain the steps and which parts will be evaluated or not so that everyone knows what to expect. 2. Form a strong hiring rubric that makes sense for each role Ron Rapatalo, an executive search lead with Edgility Consulting, recommended an interview process that is structured and formalized. "You need a process to be able to say, 'Here's what we agreed on, here's what we'll hire for,'" Rapatalo said. "Whatever you see has to tie back to the hiring rubric." At Edgility, a hiring committee of eight to 10 school leaders, teachers, and parents is part of the recruiting process for executive-level positions. Each interviewer undergoes equity and selection training, where they learn to assess a candidate's competency on each aspect of the rubric. That way, Rapatalo said, you're measuring candidates against qualifications, not each other. Jenkins suggested that companies include a representative to screen for core values on a hiring committee. If diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a priority, for example, then DEI partners should be part of the interview process to get a sense of whether a candidate is truly committed to that value. One team's lack of a criteria was one of two reasons that Karen Anglade, an entertainment company HR manager, turned down a job offer. She had completed two rounds of in-person interviews, one with a panel. She then received additional questions via email, to her surprise. "It was clear they didn't know what they were looking for [in a candidate]," Anglade said. "If you don't know the problem, you can't find the solution for it." 3. Have every interviewer go through DEI training All the experts said that interviewers need better training to make the hiring process more diverse and inclusive. Or, at least, not chip away at a brand. "If you're hiring, be sure to ask for interview training," SHRM's Lee said. "If you're talking with HR, they'll be sensitive to what to say or not to say. But on the managerial side, they tend to get very little training, and that can be detrimental for the company." Chilazi said that training sessions which explain the methodology of hiring candidates, give interviewers time to practice interviewing, and iterate why adhering to the process are important to combat bias. Training could be as detailed as showing sample answers and their ratings so that interviewers know how to rate candidates' answers fairly and consistently. "It's hard to control your interviewers' behavior because they are human," Chilazi said. "But if companies are serious, they should be spending more time on training interviewers. That means get the teams together, give them training, and do a primer on unconscious bias and how to procedurally combat bias." Fresh out of law school and an externship with a judge, a Connecticut attorney — who wished to remain anonymous for fear of blowback to her practice — was excited to interview with a partner for a job at a small law firm. But her excitement quickly turned to confusion after she handed over her original writing samples. The interviewer didn't believe they were hers. "Halfway through it, he said, 'It doesn't seem like you understood the instructions,'" the attorney said. "He kept saying things like, 'I don't think you wrote this without help' and 'Are you sure the judge didn't look at it?'" When the partner later emailed to see if she was still interested in the position, she politely declined. 4. Prepare behavioral questions and read the candidate's resume before walking into the room IPG's Gardner said to prepare a list of questions to ask everyone, whether or not diversity is a factor. Interview questions are best if they are open-ended and behavioral-based, experts said. Behavioral questions emphasize examples and stories from the candidate's past behavior that demonstrate the competencies the new role requires. Using these questions reduces bias because they focus less on a candidate's title or years of experience, which can be biased, Jenkins said. Instead, they highlight the candidate's ability to perform. For a leadership role, Jenkins said, sample behavioral questions could be "How did you handle a time when you had to deliver difficult news to employees?" or "Tell me how you've grown in your position." Another obvious tip some interviewers overlook: Read the person's resume. Not doing so is among the most vexing for candidates. A 65-year-old Brooklyn executive assistant, who asked that her name not be used for fear of jeopardizing future employment, said that in one interview, the interviewer clearly didn't read her resume to recognize that she was not fresh out of college. "She said they were looking for someone more college-age," said the executive assistant, adding that the length of experience on her resume would have made it clear she was not a recent grad. "So yes, carefully look at a resume, actually read it, and listen to what the person has to say before [making] a decision." 5. Don't make assumptions about people's backgrounds Jenkins, who is also a cofounder and advisor of Dipper, an online community where professionals of color can share work experiences, is all too familiar with stories of unconscious bias. Although the platform is in its infancy, as of December, the site's users have shared nearly 4,000 reviews — good, bad, and indifferent, Jenkins said. "The assumption that we have the same story is wrong," Jenkins said. Jenkins said those anecdotes from friends and family are all too common. One interviewer asked her friend, a woman, how she planned to manage childcare even though the friend had not brought it up. Another interviewer wrongly assumed Jenkins' brother was from an underprivileged environment. Jenkins, whose family is from Liberia, has had people assume she is African American and make references that were not part of her upbringing. Other assumptions veer into a candidate's preferences or mannerisms. Some interviewers have chosen to speak in a voice, volume, or accent that is not their natural way of speaking. In other instances, assumptions manifest as questions about personal preferences that would not be asked of other candidates and are based on stereotypes. In Barrington's case, he was met with all three when the interviewer fell into an urban slang, used an accent, and asked about "Love + Hip Hop." In Anglade's case, in addition to feeling like the company didn't have clear criteria for the role, she was turned off because the interviewers assumed she was not comfortable with technology. They asked that question in the follow-up email, then misconstrued her answer, she said. "Generation Xers have had to do the most adapting to technology, so it rankles for somebody to question how much I can adapt to technology," said Anglade, who is in her 50s. "Ageism is real, and it's unfair. I didn't want to be in that type of environment." Another assumption that often backfires is giving compliments based on stereotypes or how the candidate seems different from "norms" for people from their background. "When these things happen, there is a silver lining for candidates," Gardner said. "They get a heads-up on what the work environment might be like, and whether or not they will be set up for maximum success." 6. Keep biases away after the candidate leaves the office When the interview is over and the candidate has left, inklings of unconscious bias can emerge during debrief sessions among interviewers. Having the requirements on hand can help manage perceptions and mitigate biases during such candidate evaluations. When biases pop up, interviewers have to hold each other accountable, Rapatalo said, and return to the rubric made before the interview. Berkner Boyt added that when someone in the room mentions, for example, that someone with a disability is "an inspiration," a black person is "articulate," or a Latinx person is "fiery," flip the script. "Would they describe anyone else interviewed that way, using that adjective?" asked Berkner Boyt. "If the answer is no, then it shouldn't be factored in the hiring decision."SEE ALSO: Read the spreadsheet women in tech are sending each other to find out how much they're making compared to their male coworkers READ MORE: Less than 10% of decision makers in venture capital are women. Here's a managing partner's advice for shattering the glass ceiling. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Taylor Swift is the world's highest-paid celebrity. Here's how she makes and spends her $360 million.
Goldman Sachs is assembling a team of senior bankers focused on middle-market private equity. Here are the key hires and the playbook they'll use to land new clients.
Goldman Sachs has assembled a team of five senior bankers devoted exclusively to building relationships with...Goldman Sachs has assembled a team of five senior bankers devoted exclusively to building relationships with middle-market private equity firms, a first for the investment banking giant that pits it head-to-head with boutique firms that cater to those clients. David Friedland, global head of M&A in the Americas for Cross Markets Group, said that the firm plans to add two more senior bankers in 2020, rounding out what will become a six-member managing director team to get Goldman in the door of middle-market PE firms and their portfolio companies. David Cohen Mintz officially joins Goldman from Rothschild on Dec. 9, following the November hires of Scott Smith from Piper Jaffray and Bryan D'Alessandro from BMO Capital Markets. The team is rounded out by Jean Oh, who joined Goldman from Morgan Stanley in 2018 and has since been appointed with middle-market PE coverage responsibilities. "This becomes their mission," said Friedland. "You want people focused." Goldman Sachs has assembled a team of five senior bankers devoted exclusively to building relationships with middle-market private equity firms, a first for the investment banking giant that pits it head-to-head with boutique firms that cater to those clients. David Friedland, global head of M&A for Cross Markets Group, a division launched in April that's aimed at capturing M&A advisory and finance market share from companies valued at between $500 million and $2 billion, shared the details of the new hires with Business Insider in an interview. He said that Cross Markets Group plans to add two more senior bankers in 2020, rounding out what will become a six-member managing director team to get Goldman in the door of middle-market PE firms and their portfolio companies. Goldman declined to offer figures on the expansion of more junior staff, such as vice presidents, associates and analysts, who will be devoted to middle-market PE, but said that the bank would be adding headcount in these positions as well. Having a dedicated team is a first for Goldman Sachs, Frieldand said. Previously, the firm's bankers who cover PE firms handled both large firm clients and middle-market clients, but now it is hoping to cover more ground in the middle-market space by establishing a dedicated team. "Have we had senior people in our financial sponsor coverage group covering middle market sponsors? Yes," said Friedland. "Have we had multiple people who are going to spend 100 percent of their time covering middle market sponsors? No." "This becomes their mission," said Friedland. "You want people focused." Building the team The team of five will be finalized on Dec. 9 when David Cohen Mintz officially joins Goldman from Rothschild after more than 15 years. Cohen Mintz will join Scott Smith, a managing director from Piper Jaffray, as well as Bryan D'Alessandro, a managing director from BMO Capital Markets, both of whom joined Nov. 11. Jean Oh, who joined Goldman from Morgan Stanley in 2018, has since been appointed with middle-market PE coverage responsibilities. The fifth managing director, Esma Yildiz, will be based in Europe. The five will serve as so-called relationship bankers within the broader Cross Markets team, which is expected to staff more than 100 bankers by year's end, including 45 managing directors. The team, led by Friedland and Will Bousquette in the Americas, and Rob Pulford in the EMEA, is comprised of both bankers who execute M&A deals and financing arrangements, as well as the industry specialists who support them by attending pitch meetings and offering sector-specific analysis and data. Expanding market share in the middle market is a more entrepreneurial effort than Goldman's large cap M&A business, because it means cultivating new relationships rather than relying on existing ones. David Kamo, a managing director overseeing M&A efforts in the Americas, told us that he is flying out to clients and sitting in on lengthy private equity deal diligence sessions, instead of sending the more junior bankers that more typically handle that work. 'We have to prove ourselves every day' The hands-on approach is a bid to win clients over from the smaller firms that have traditionally served them — where they may have longstanding relationships and expect a certain level of personal service. "I think there is an expectation on the other side of the table that, 'They are Goldman Sachs and they expect to just win and have business handed to them,'" said Kamo, who has previously brought industry specialists with him to pitches in sectors like healthcare. "But we take nothing for granted. We know in this market we have to prove ourselves every day." Proving itself has also meant rolling out new services, like a proprietary website only accessible to Goldman's PE clients where they can read curated news and information including deals, fireside chats with executives and industry reports. "When you cover more companies and clients, leveraging technology to provide them information and insight is just a way to make incremental touches with people and enhance our brand," said Friedland. But perhaps most importantly, it's meant sharpening up Goldman's pitch materials, stressing its global reach, telling clients it can do things boutique firms can't — like underwriting debt — and pointing to its relationships with strategic buyers. "There is a great chance that we have very good relationships and are in the board room and know them really well," Kamo said, "whereas the dialogue with the boutiques, for strategic buyers, tend to be more episodic." Going into 2020, Goldman will be coming off not just a series of hires, but also the announcement of PE deals that it hopes to build upon and use to market its services to future companies. This includes its advising on the 2019 sale of hotel operator Interstate Hotels & Resorts — a Kohlberg & Company portfolio company — to PE giant Advent International, followed up by the merger of Aimbridge Hospitality, another Kohlberg portfolio company and hotel management firm, into Interstate. Friedland, the global head of M&A in Cross Markets Group, said hiring in 2020 will focus on the Midwest and West Coast whereas Goldman already has an East Coast team established. "It's early days," said Friedland. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: People are still debating the pink or grey sneaker, 2 years after it went viral. Here's the real color explained.