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Timing of Self-ID Usually Emerges As Ugly Issue as Companies Mature...

A question from a savvy reader related to formal and informal mandates that minority candidates be interviewed for any under-utilized area or position:

So, Kris, how does Facebook (or any company with similar goals related to interviewing minorities) determine that a candidate is a minority before the interview?  If the candidate comes from outside the company, it is likely that the manager has not seen him/her before, unless they did some research on LinkedIn.  Also, what do they classify as "minority?"  At a place like FB, it could be a liberal arts grad.

--CB in Seattle

Well CB, you hit on a common issues for freewheeling companies that start to grow up and have real world problems related to diversity, or even to the simple notion that companies become more risk adverse as the stakes get higher.

That issue is the timing of the Self-ID request as part of their staffing/recruiting process.  

The bigger the company gets, the more power the legal department gets.  The more power the legal department gets, the more things are done to reduce risk, even at the expense of common sense.

Consider the Self-ID request.  The Self-ID request is a form that's sent to candidates asking them to disclose their identity in variety of ways related to Title 7 and Affirmative Action.  Sounds reasonable, right?

Well, the deployment of the Self-ID form is ripe with issues, including the following:

--The OFCCP generally links "definition of an applicant" to when you ask for Self ID.  Do it too early in the process and you'll be including a bunch of people in your Affirmative Action metrics who were never candidates.

--The OFCCP doesn't like you waiting to do Self-ID until late in your process.  That's why most legal department cave and mandate you do it early.

--There's just this one little problem.... If you're a hunter as a recruiter and add a passive candidate to your ATS, a lot of early self-IDs will go ahead and send that request to a candidate.  Nothing kills momentum with a candidate who's not sure he wants to work for you as asking for his self-ID regarding race.  Ugh.

To answer your question, Facebook would know someone's a minority just like you and I - by guessing based on name and social photos.  But if they want to make it official and do self-ID early, there's going to be some pain.

Timing of Self-ID in your staffing process - one of the fun HR issues to consider...ha...



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