Recruiting, Talent

Are You Avoiding These Isms When Recruiting and Hiring?

Talent acquisition professionals know that racism, sexism, and ageism must be avoided when recruiting and hiring. But what about other isms that have negative connotations in the workplace?


Is your company taking steps to ensure these isms are also avoided?

Preference for Select Peeps

Elitism, defined as “the belief that certain persons or members of certain groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their superiority, as in intelligence, social standing or wealth,” and “behavior arising from or indicative of such a belief” rears its head in the recruiting and hiring process more often than you might realize.
It can take various forms. Rejecting a job candidate because the person didn’t graduate from a top college is one example. Passing on a job candidate because the address on his or her resume is considered an “undesirable” neighborhood is another example.
In a similar vein, hiring someone just because he or she graduated from an Ivy League university or interviewing someone merely because they live in a wealthy neighbor suggests an elitist mindset.

Americans Only

Nationalism, defined as “devotion, especially excessive or undiscriminating devotion, to the interests or culture of a particular nation-state,” has the potential to create bias when recruiting and hiring.
It too can take many forms. Rejecting a job candidate because the person has an accent is one example. Turning away an otherwise qualified individual because of his or her last name is another.
Nativism, defined as “the policy of protecting the interests of native-born or established inhabitants against those of immigrants” has similar implications. It can also include rejecting legal immigrants, with stellar qualifications, and favoring native-born candidates, with lesser qualifications.

Business and Borders

Nationalism, at its extreme, and nativism are often connected to another ism: isolationism.
Isolationism, defined as “a policy of remaining apart from the affairs or interests of other groups, especially the political affairs of other countries,” has the potential to limit business growth.
In a global economy, opportunities abound for interaction with other countries, from promoting goods and services to purchasing the same. And today, thanks to technology, the small retailer in rural Nebraska has the same reach as a firm based in New York City.

Bottom Line

Bias against or preference for one group over another significantly limits a company. Conversely, engaging with people from various backgrounds and welcoming their perspectives leads to new insight and new opportunity.
The company that opens itself to the world becomes larger, in more ways than one.

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.