2 Minute Read | Women’s Leadership Myths

Welcome to Myth #9 of our 16 blog-series highlighting women’s leadership myths.

Myth #9 – “Recruiting from the best schools will promote diversity in our organization.

There are plenty of top-notch colleges and business schools that attract talented students.  And companies have historically relied quite heavily on that talent pool.  According to research by Florida State political scientist, Thomas Dye, 54% of America’s corporate leaders are graduates of the same twelve elite institutions.  Those highly selective schools work hard to create diverse classes.  They attract students of different gender, race, and cultural backgrounds.  It is easy to believe that if you recruit graduates from these schools, your organization will develop into an equally diverse place to work.

However, the reality is that graduates from top schools – no matter their backgrounds – are only one type of worker.  Sure, they are highly educated, but to create a winning team, you need a variety of players with an assortment of abilities.

Think about football.  In the NFL, first-round draft picks are snazzy and alluring.  Fans love to hear when their team gets a highly coveted, highly publicized first-round pick.  But, when it comes to bang for their buck, second- and third-round selections are almost always less expensive and better performers overall.  The same argument can be made for hires outside of America’s most elite institutions.

The Reframe: Recruiting from diverse experiences will promote diversity in your organization

Diversity is much more than a box checked on a business school application.  A truly diverse work place brings together people with different perspectives and backgrounds to produce high-functioning, creative teams.  The best business schools often miss out on some of the most experienced workers:  military veterans, mothers (and fathers) returning after childcare sabbaticals, and motivated employees from smaller companies or other industries looking to branch out and scale up.

Try This:

Ask yourself—What are my hiring biases?  Do your “ideal” applicants tend to fit a single mold?  Who is underrepresented on your current team?  What voices are you missing?  Challenge your recruiters to expand the definition of diversity.  Remind them to look for the unorthodox candidates, the applicants with work, education, or life experiences outside of the Harvard, Wharton, and Kellogg bubble.

Thoughts/Comments? Post your ideas here.

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