I want to highlight two factors that could influence the way you read this. Firstly this is my first attempt at writing a blog, so forgive me if it isn’t to your taste or preferred writing style. Secondly and more importantly, this article is in no way trying to avoid the fact that there will be some people out there that have experienced discriminatory practices in some companies.

I am not condoning discrimination at all or pretending that it doesn’t exist. My intention is to get a balanced perspective from candidates and clients alike on their thoughts around this topic so I can further improve the way I hire employees. I am also hoping to influence others to follow suit to ensure that the best person for the job is hired and good potential employees are not being discredited because they do (or do not) fall into a certain quota.
My team of 22 employees currently consists of the following nationalities:

  • Jamaican
  • Italian
  • British
  • Bangladeshi
  • Trinidadian
  • Lebanese
  • Algerian
  • Venezuelan
  • Greek

There are more males than females as it stands, which I am monitoring to understand why my current recruitment process or the roles themselves aren’t as attractive to female applicants as males. I don’t expressly ask the sexual orientation, age or religious beliefs of the team as it’s their own personal business, as is mine - not to mention unethical and illegal! But for those that want to discuss openly, we welcome the discussions as we all get to learn about cultural differences.

I currently don’t have anyone in the gender fluid category or anyone with a known/obvious disability; this is not by design purely it's just that I have not received the applications.
I stand by the below statement and will continue to stand by this statement throughout my time as a leader:
This does not mean in any way, shape or form that I only hire certain types of people into my team; I don’t. This simply means that I never take the gender, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, gender identification, age, disability or other such factors into my hiring decision. I only look to seek out if the person in the interview is the right person for the job and if I believe they have the right skill sets/attitude that will allow me to train them to be successful in the role.
This may well be easier for me to say as I work in London and being such a cosmopolitan city, the number of diverse candidate applications we receive is probably higher than most other cities. However,  I firmly believe that if the best person for my team is gender fluid, mixed race, Jewish and Lesbian with the relevant skills needed for the job, then they will be the person hired. That also rings true if the best person in front of me is a straight, white, Christian, male with the relevant skills.
I applaud the efforts of those that are trying to get minority groups into jobs in the UK. More should be done to ensure fair employment for all; however, that should not be at the detriment of any other individual in my opinion. I find it frustrating when a candidate doesn’t get hired because they don’t tick a diversity box, even though they would be a great fit for the role. Just as much as it frustrates me when a candidate isn’t hired because they do fall into a minority category - even though they would have been great for the role, and aren’t being hired because of discriminatory practices.
As an employer, Square One has a few ways in which we try to bridge the gap to ensure a fair recruitment process for all, but is it enough?

  • Unconscious bias training - all staff go through this training to make sure we don’t take pre-conceptions into our recruitment process or judge people before getting to know them
  • Pay - there is no gender pay gap (or any other type of pay gap for that matter) – all sales staff on the same level are paid the same salary which makes our pay structure completely transparent
  • Meritocratic promotions - We have pre-defined promotion targets which are the same for all sales staff. It doesn’t matter if your male or female, black or white if you hit the target you get the promotion.
  • Inclusive - we have created an inclusive work culture where our staff make everyone feel welcome no matter what your background
  • Women in Recruitment - we are involved in the initiative of women in recruitment to help us become a more attractive environment for female employees
  • Flexible working - if the situation dictates it we offer flexible working, e.g. returning parents, long term illness etc. to help accommodate their return to work
  • Diversity questionnaire (at interview stage) - We are monitoring our stats more closely to give us better insight on if our initiatives are working or if we have to keep refining them

Typically, as it stands today, the majority of the applications I receive to come and work for my team are white males. Could more be done to encourage a more diverse set of people applying for the roles I have on offer? Potentially, yes (this is where I need your help); however, I will not reject candidates that possess the right skills while waiting in hope for a more diverse CV.

In this industry, if you don’t move quickly to hire talent, you lose it. We can’t afford to pass up hiring good people because we are concerned it might not look inclusive nor can we hire unsuitable candidates that aren’t right for the roles available simply because it would look good on paper for diversity. Any ideas people have to help me attract a wider talent pool will be gratefully received!
I firmly believe that if I only ever hire the best person for the job I will always get a natural mix of diversity as the best people will always come from different backgrounds and bring with them new ideas of how to drive the team and business on. If I only ever hire the same type of person, I will get stuck with the same set of results, thinking and culture, which could hold the business back or slow its progression.
I would love to hear from anyone that has been successful in pro-actively creating a diverse work culture while focussing on hiring the best talent that has led to the success of their business so we can share ideas on how to improve this further at Square One and beyond.
I am always looking to add talent to my team, ideally experienced IT recruiters. However, I will look at individuals looking to get into the industry if they demonstrate all of the right character traits to be successful.  I implore people from all walks of life to apply, and the best person for the job will always be the one that gets hired.