Companies with a diverse workforce perform better. A 2009 study by McKinsey shows a connection between gender diversity and financial performance of a company: a company in which the management is gender diverse (more than 30% women in top management of the company), for example, had a 53 % better EBIT margin. So far so good.

So how do you get a more diverse workforce? Well, you probably already know it: it all depends on fair personnel selection. Fairness happens when people of different (social) groups are given equal opportunities where they can show their skills under identical conditions.

BUT: Traditional selection tools often fail

Successful diversity management begins with personnel selection. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen too often because companies take a lot of time to successfully implement diversity in recruiting. The problem is that they’re still using traditional methods. However, these do not enable diverse recruiting. Studies prove that CV screening and job interviews are prone to bias and lead to wrong selections decisions …

Thus, conventional decision-making patterns and habits lead to falsely rejecting potential talents (the famous “type II error” or “false negative”) and “give away” major potential, as shown by the results of different studies (Kaas & Manger 2012, Macan 2009).


Job interview pitfall: questions vary between groups of applicants

In practical terms, discrimination may look like this:

  • Male applicants: “Give us an example from the last two years, in which you could accumulate management experience.”

  • Female applicants: “Why do you think are you qualified to take over a leadership position? How would you deal with the requirements of a leadership position in the next few years? “

In order to establish a fair basis for decision, you could instead rely on the following tips:

  • Select questions from a (semi) -standardised question pool where all questions are equivalent/ have the same value
  • Take notes during the interview to ensure minimal distortion of information in retrospect
  • Conduct assessments using a standardised scale
The benefits of fair recruiting

If you manage to make your selection process as fair as possible as to enhance objective decisions, you can be sure to have the following economic advantage:

The benefits of fair recruiting

Would you like to know more about how to make your recruiting fairer and enhance diversity? Then I recommend our whitepaper on diversity!

Sources :

Desvaux, G., Devillard-Hoellinger, S. and Baumgarten, P. (2007),Women Matter: Gender Diversity, a Corporate Performance Driver, McKinsey & Co., Paris.

Kass, L., and Manger, C. (2010): Ethnic discrimination in Germany’s labour market: a field experiment. IZA Discussion Paper 4741.