Discrimination – everybody’s doing it!

We all know that it is the others who are discriminating, we are obviously making rational decisions. However, after reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink – The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” on holiday, I am less convinced that it is only the others.

So as someone who is in business to make money and not to choose “friends” – “Great new guy on board, someone I can have a drink and a good time with down the pub” honest, that has been said to me by clients as the criteria for employing someone! – there is an easy way to avoid falling into the trap.

Have a checklist of all the qualifications, experience, qualities that are needed for the role. Interview the candidate to get proof that they do have what you need.

Don’t take them at face value.

Ask questions and get them to do tests/exercises to prove they can – do a PowerPoint presentation, do cold calling, balance the books.

And then you will end up with staff who help your business grow rather than are “good fun down the pub”.

Here are some excerpts from the Conclusion of “Blink” that made me start thinking about this subject and support the reasons for anonymous CVs:

Women, it was believed, simply could not play like men. They didn’t have the strength, the attitude, or the resilience for certain kinds of pieces.

Their lips were different.

Their lungs were less powerful.

Their hands were smaller.

That did not seem like a prejudice. It seemed like a fact, because when conductors and music directors and maestros held auditions, the men always seemed to sound better than the women….

But over the past few decades…orchestra musicians began to organise themselves politically…they thought that conductors were abusing their power and playing favourites…an official audition committee was put in place…

Musicians were identified by not name but by number. Screens were erected between the committee and the auditioner, and if the person auditioning cleared his or her throat or made any kind of identifiable sound – if they were wearing heels, for example, and stepped on a part of the floor that wasn’t carpeted – they were ushered out and give a new number.

And as these new rules were put in place around the country an extraordinary thing happened: orchestras began to hire women…and the number of women employed in …orchestras has increased fivefold.

You can influence your objectivity – if you want to, without huge expense – for the sake of your business.

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