Diversity of Thought

Are you drawn to job candidates who remind you … of yourself? While people often seek like-minded individuals as friends, the workplace should not reflect this kind of preference.

Source: PeopleImages / Digital Vision / Getty

Too much uniformity can be detrimental to success.

Points of View

In his 2007 book, Where Have All the Leaders Gone?, American automobile executive Lee Iacocca writes, “One of the most important lessons I learned in business was that if all you’re getting from your team is a single point of view – usually your point of view – you’ve got to worry. You can get your own point of view for free.”
For a company to thrive, various points of view should be welcomed and encouraged.
Similarly, when recruiting and hiring, you should seek diversity of thought.

Identifying It

What you’re really looking for are individuals who bring new perspectives and different ways of solving problems to the workplace.
The word “disrupt” gets used a lot in business these days. It suggests blowing up the old and rebuilding anew. While at times this may be a good strategy, it’s not what most companies are seeking in a new hire.
Instead, companies generally want candidates who will help expand the business using an existing foundation. Nevertheless, when looking for talent, companies sometimes don’t expand their horizons.

Finding It

A common practice that leads to a narrow group of candidates is recruiting within the industry. The idea is that people who work in the industry, whatever it may be, know the business and can therefore perform the job better than candidates from outside the industry.
While there are jobs exclusive to certain industries, the experience and skills associated with most positions are transferable. What’s more, an employee from outside the industry brings a different frame of reference, which could prove beneficial.
Similarly, you may think that a candidate who has worked for large companies may not be a fit for a small firm – or vice versa. Here again, don’t ignore the perspective he or she may have to contribute as a result of experience in a different environment.
Likewise, people from different parts of the United States, as well as other countries, bring regional and cultural perspectives that can add value to your organization.
A number of companies recruit with attention to educational background; for example, they may only hire graduates of the CEO’s alma mater. By staying within the lines, these employers also risk building a box.
Diversity of thought sparks discussion, creativity, and innovation. Why not look for candidates who can bring it – all of it – to your company?

Paula Paula Santonocito, Contributing Editor for Recruiting Daily Advisor, is a business journalist specializing in employment issues. She is the author of more than 1,000 articles on a wide range of human resource and career topics, with an emphasis on recruiting and hiring. Her articles have been featured in many global and domestic publications and information outlets, referenced in academic and legal publications as well as books, and translated into several languages.