Decades of scientific research shows that hanging out in groups of people who, for example, differ in ethnicity or sexual orientation, actually makes us better as human beings. Studies also show that diversity enhances creativity and forces us to become better thinkers, problem solvers, innovators, and decision makers.
U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice recently highlighted the benefits of diversity while calling out our national security workforce for being overwhelmingly “white, male, and Yale” during her commencement speech at Florida International University.
“By now, we should all know the dangers of ‘groupthink,’ where folks who are alike often think alike,” said Rice, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants. “By contrast, groups comprised of different people tend to question one another’s assumptions, draw on divergent perspectives and experiences, and yield better outcomes.”
Black Enterprise spoke to two Chief Diversity Executives—Candice Morgan, Head of Diversity at Pinterest, and Khary Scott, Vice President of Business Development, Diversity Champion, and Executive Sponsor of the African American Network at Capital One bank—about their efforts to create inclusion as well as the characteristics they look for when hiring people.
What Do Chief Diversity Executives Look for When Hiring New Talent?
“Diversity is not optional,” says Candice Morgan, Head of Diversity at Pinterest, the popular social media platform that houses over 500 employees, with offices around the world.
When it comes to recruiting talent, Morgan says Pinterest specifically looks for “people with strong intellectual curiosity and a variety of interests—people who continually strive to know more.”
“We also look for people who are strong in a value we call ‘knitting,’ connecting divergent points of view together for holistic and innovative problem solving,” Morgan adds.
How to Get Hired
According to Morgan, applicants should highlight how they have “taken a proactive approach to solving problems or created new ways of doing things” on their résumés.
“For example, have you taken initiative on a project that is important to you and your present employer? Showcase what you’ve developed and key results. Be prepared to talk about what you learned along the way,” Morgan says.
When asked what he looks for when hiring new talent at Capital One, Khary Scott emphasized the importance of having quality communication style and skills. “I want to know how a candidate communicates, so [I can see if] their personal and professional experience is relevant and will make our company better. I want to understand what it is about the candidate that will add a necessary voice to our conversation,” Scott says.
He also says that an applicant that can demonstrate the “so what?” factor on their résumé will likely to get a call back. “What is it about this specific candidate that will positively impact our environment and contribute to our culture? A résumé needs to connect your experience to our challenge—linking those two can get me to take action and move the process forward,” he adds.
A Culture of Inclusion
But hiring talent from diverse backgrounds “is only half of the story,” says Scott. It’s equally important to reinforce “an inclusive culture where that talent wants to stay and succeed.”
“By building teams as diverse as the communities and customers we serve and providing an environment rooted in inclusion, Capital One can offer better products, services and customer experiences,” Scott says.
“A more diverse company isn’t just great for employees and the industry; it’s smart for our business. A company that’s more diverse and inclusive is a more creative and effective one,” says Morgan.