{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Help! I’m hiring, and it’s down to 2 candidates. One is not as qualified, would require a lot of training, a great fit culturally and brings diversity to the agency. The other is more qualified, still a great fit culturally and wouldn’t require as much training, they were more prepared and I could put them in front of the client tomorrow, but they are non-BIPOC. Both are in the same range salary wise, and my team is SUPER small. Both are great fits, and I am torn. Advice? Please?", "post_id": "602f3a8c25af5e00284d6960", "reply_count": 63, "vote_count": 4, "bowl_id": "5976222cab932800101a9ca4", "bowl_name": "Women in Advertising", "feed_type": "bowl" }
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Help! I’m hiring, and it’s down to 2 candidates. One is not as qualified, would require a lot of training, a great fit culturally and brings diversity to the agency. The other is more qualified, still a great fit culturally and wouldn’t require as much training, they were more prepared and I could put them in front of the client tomorrow, but they are non-BIPOC. Both are in the same range salary wise, and my team is SUPER small. Both are great fits, and I am torn. Advice? Please?

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You are hiring a person, not a resume. A candidate who you considered as “not as qualified” is often a) more proactive in conducting their own research to get up to speed, b) enthusiastic and driven to perform well, and c) their capacity to learn and gain proficiency in new software is generally higher. As you know, professionals spend more time with their colleagues than their family and friends - the cultural fit is paramount to the successful on boarding of a new team member. Finally, the hiring of one person is not adequate to bring diversity to a company - one or two token people of color does not make your company an inclusive workplace; this line of thinking is problematic at its core.

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Hey! Sorry for a delayed response. I’ve read your comments throughout the post and just want to say, thank you. I genuinely appreciate your insight, and calling me (and others) out. I’m actually the only POC at my agency right now. It’s really hard. I had a chance with this new role to change the way our agency has previously hired, and I did.

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Race or gender aside, hiring someone who you feel has potential and needs training is a time to calibrate your own processes, especially if you allow them to ask questions. This is an opportunity to show each other trust, openness in communication and the ability to make some of the processes and procedures their own, instead of fitting the exact mold that is set in front of them. Younger generations like to feel like they are a part of something greater than themselves and the more you charge your team with training this new person, with you as an example, the faster the candidate will learn.

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If your agency is overall pretty white, training the BIPOC candidate is a worthy investment of your time, in my opinion. Adding diverse perspectives to your agency is incredibly valuable to your clients, not to mention it makes your agency a more welcoming and more appealing place.

likesmartupliftinghelpful

This is a tough call. As a POC don’t hire that person if they are not qualified. Everyone needs training to some degree. If you Feel the person can be up and running within a month then go for it, because it will be a step in the right direction. If you’re only considering them because they are BIPOC then you’re making the decision for the wrong reason. And if they can’t perform the job, they will feel resentment from other team members and next thing you know they will feel like they are being targeted as the only non white person.

likehelpful

Why does the BIPOC candidate need more training? Is it because they haven’t been given the opportunity or position of responsibility before? Or they didn’t get the right education? If so then they may already be be the product / victim of systemic racism. If you want to help break the cycle then choose them.

Things will never change if we hire the person who already looks like the one we thought we needed. If you give them an opportunity you’ll be positively altering the trajectory of their career. Think like a human and not just a business.

likesmarthelpful

😂 No. I said who *looks like* the one we thought we needed. Meaning keep an open mind. Cast against type. You might be pleasantly surprised.

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I hate to say this (i’m a poc), but I would go with the immediately qualified candidate - because your qualifier for the other one was “needs a lot of training” rather than something like “needs a little boost” 😬

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No. Interview more people

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Which candidate do you think has more potential in the long run if both were given training and opportunities?

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This is the question.

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My agency started ignoring “cultural fit” since it could be based off unconscious biases. I’d be more inclined to go with the person who requires less training since you’re hiring for qualification ... maybe you can pass over the other candidate to another team who is looking for someone in a similar role?

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Yeah! That’s a good point. Thanks.

Sometimes the skills of POC aren’t immediately noticeable but they are there. I imagine you interviewed this person for more reason than they are POC. Does the candidate you think would require more training coming from a different background? Would look at how their skills transfer. Does their resume show deeper skills than they were able to articulate in the interview? Just ask yourself a few questions on how you got this far with a candidate who “requires a lot of training” . Makes me wonder if them requiring a lot of training is bias coming through unconsciously

likesmart

This post sheds light on the inherent bias (unconscious or not) that continues to be applied negatively against candidates of color. While it’s great that she put this question out there for feedback, a significant internal review of fair hiring practices is clearly needed here. In 2021 the fact that this is still a topic of discussion is beyond disappointing.

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POC here: For the mental health of that BIPOC candidate, go with the non BIPOC candidate. You have mentally already set up the BIPOC candidate for failure with your mentality and narrative that will only lead to a team of whites being highly/overly critical on this person. If that person doesn’t “learn” at the pace you deem they should, you will always have the regret in your mind. This person is not going to get a fair shot to learn, grow, and make mistakes from you or the team. Please don’t hire them. It will be a blessing.

likesmart

I assumed you were white. My response would have been different. But now My question to you is, why are you non BIPOC employees not moving up into leadership positions as well?

How much cultural insight training would the non-BIPOC candidate need to get to the level of lived experience the BIPOC candidate already has under their arm when they walk in the door? You may have to do skills training in other areas, but it sounds like they’re ahead of the other candidate when it comes to the kind of diversity knowledge clients want in the current marketplace.

likesmart

I suggest reframing your qualifications to consider culture "add" and not "fit". If you have 2 candidates, which candidate would bring personality/life experiences/skills/etc. to your team that are not already there? Diversity breeds great creative work, but we often balk at hiring people who will challenge and inspire us to be better/grow bigger and instead default to hiring the people we feel are most like us.

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I would agree^ You won’t truly know if someone is a great fit culturally until you begin working with them. I would go with the candidate who is qualified for the role. I understand this is a tough decision to make but I think you have your answer, its hidden in your word choice ;)

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Hahaha! It seems that way.

So do we get an update ?! Haha

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I hired the not as experienced candidate :)

likefunny

Update: First, thanks y’all for the comments. I’m a POC, and still trying to learn... especially when it comes to hiring. I had never been faced with two superb candidates before. I always had 1-2 positions open, or one really stand out candidate. Grateful we have a community where I can lean on others for perspective. Second, I hired the less qualified candidate :)

likeupliftingsmart

Just went through this.
Lots of training for bipoc hire, but hopefully it’s worth it.
Plus for the other candidate we didn’t really think about - agency experience.
Didn’t realize how much that would make a difference.

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I would hire the best candidate not just for diversity. Hiring someone who isn’t the correct fit isn’t diversity it is a recipe for disaster.

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Based on the descriptors sounds like you already know which candidate you’re going to hire

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What do you mean by not as qualified?

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Simply put, very little media experience vs 2 years of media experience.

If the first candidate is a better cultural fit and brings diversity to the table, why would you not take the chance on them? The individual could be more malleable when it comes to learning and opens doors for future candidates like them. There are a number of obvious reasons why they are less qualified on paper, but their own lived experiences, knowledge, etc — those all are great factors that make them just as qualified. This is why I don’t believe when agencies say they just can’t find diverse talent.

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BIPOC is not a qualification. You should hire the person that is qualified, full stop. Affirmative action is about choose the person of color between 2 equally qualified candidates. It is not about hiring unqualified people who only got their job because of the color of their skin - that is discrimination and it is illegal.

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At no point did she say that the BIPOC candidate was unqualified or that this had anything to do with “affirmative action.” The actual statement was that they had “less” experience in specific areas of the job. Less and unqualified are two different things.

Prioritize diversity. It brings a lot of value to the team, helps them grow, they learn to see things in a different way and, you can give someone the opportunity to train/help develop a jr team member.

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