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Finding Diverse Talent: Myths

“No diverse candidates were interested in the position.” 

Relying on established networks of people and word-of-mouth recommendations create legacies of non-diverse hiring. Many sources of diverse talent exist. Combined with proactive networking and recruiting, employing such resources has enabled us to build an internal repository for current and future search requests. 

“It’s a pipeline issue. Not enough candidates exist because too few people of color/women/other underrepresented groups choose STEM professions.” 

Many people believe that given time and a fuller pipeline, more people of color/women/other individuals from underrepresented groups will attain faculty and leadership positions in science. This is not backed up by facts. Currently, half of all doctorates are women, and doctorates earned by individuals from underrepresented groups grew 9-fold over the past 20 years. In fact, if two-thirds of U.S. medical schools hired and retained just one faculty member from an underrepresented group per year for 6 years, there would be racial/ethnic parity within the assistant professor pool within one tenure cycle (5-6 years). 

“The position requires a unique set of skills and expertise.” 

A search is more than collecting CVs and checking in with colleagues for recommendations. Using such traditional methods for credentialing top talent can prevent great candidates from being considered. Various analytical tools can both quantify and qualify unfamiliar candidates for scientific positions. These tools enable state-of-the-art bibliometric analyses and assessment of leadership qualifications that help predict a candidate’s career trajectory. 

“There’s never enough time to conduct a specialized search for diverse candidates; I need names now.” 

Establishing and curating a secured repository of search-related information and search outcomes means that recruiting resources are readily available when new positions become available or when temporary positions need to be filled. 

“A colleague at another university asked me to share my list of diverse candidates.” 

Sharing personally identifiable information (PII) is illegal and an ongoing data-theft issue in many industries, and science is not immune. It is extremely important to establish and maintain secure methods for transmitting and storing sensitive PII that is collected in talent searches. Such information should not be shared outside of your institution. 

 

 

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