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Introducing the Colorful Connections Hiring Model

Updated: Sep 19

Over the last few years, diversity hiring has gone from trendy to controversial. Due to the most recent rejection of race-conscious admissions in higher education by the Supreme Court, it also could be something that companies completely shy away from. While we are a company that was formed to help ensure underestimated and underrepresented professionals have exposure and access to job opportunities, we recognize there are legal and other limitations of focusing your diversity search to race, gender, or other protected characteristics. We still have a long way to go in this country until we see equity everywhere. This is why we cannot abandon our focus on diversity. We should, however, approach diversity hiring in an ethical, legal, and strategic way.

Here at Colorful Connections, we emphasize the dimensions of diversity which goes far beyond skin color, gender, sexual orientation, or any other protected characteristic. Too often, conversations about diversity hiring shift to talking about HBCUs, affinity groups, diversity job boards, and networking organizations for people of color. While these are great places to find prospective candidates, the conversation really needs to begin with what and why? What criteria and experiences are needed to create success at your organization? Why would diversifying your team help you? And what do we even mean by diversity in the first place?

It is also important for us to be compliant with employment laws – now, and however they may change in the future. That is where our Hiring Model comes in. It was created with employment laws in mind while also being a meaningful way to broaden talent pools and give candidates from historically marginalized groups a legitimate reason why we are approaching them. It challenges assumptions about who will be successful in a role. It expands opportunities to a broader set of qualified candidates with diverse backgrounds, experiences, skills, and traits.

We want our clients to start thinking about how to get the results they want instead of relying on what has worked in the past or on assumptions about who might be best. Having an opening on your team is a great time to assess the role. What qualities and attributes will set someone up for success in this role? Once you have explored that, then you know what you are truly looking for. Instead, we too often see hiring managers trying to replace someone who has left. You cannot attract diverse candidates when you are trying to match a prototype. We also see companies looking for a person that can check off a certain box just because the current team members cannot. This leads to creating assumptions and biases about people with certain characteristics. Those biases immediately influence your sourcing strategy, recruitment, marketing approach, and so much more.

Our Hiring Model helps hiring managers think more inclusively and focus on attributes which identifies new sourcing pools and opportunities. It also produces a more racially and culturally diverse group of candidates. However, this is a byproduct of the process versus a targeted intent. With our Hiring Model, you will have better candidates suited for open positions. In turn, this will likely lead to long-term results and improved retention rates.

To make this Model widely accessible, we have designed a virtual training course to teach recruiters and hiring managers how to use the tool during the hiring process, understand dimensions of diversity, and uncover bias commonly displayed during the hiring process. (Learn more about the training here.)

Diversity hiring should not be something companies are afraid of but instead should foster meaningful discussion about what success really looks like. Which, in turn, will broaden the pool of qualified professionals and improve talent retention by applying a thoughtful hiring approach for candidate and employer alignment.

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