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Workshop Recap: Hiring Diverse Future Leaders With Early Talent

Workshop Recap: Hiring Diverse Future Leaders With Early Talent

‘A brick can be anything it wants to be..’

At the inaugural Inclusive Hiring conference on 30th January 2020, Tom Price-Daniel led an eager group of 30 early talent experts through a one-hour session to identify obstacles in hiring for early talent diversity… and some potential solutions to evolve industry thinking, methods, and approaches.

Opening address from Headstart’s Chief Revenue Officer, Tom Price-Daniel

“Despite the large sums of money invested in diversity each year – has anything changed?

A study on accepted candidates from “red brick” universities in the UK over the past 30 years found that if you’re a black African, Asian accent or, in particular, a Pakistani applicant applying for a role today, you are still as likely to be excluded from that process as you were in 1976. We have to question – how can this be? What are we doing – or not doing – to make space for change?

The fact is, the way many organisation’s approach diversity isn’t generating the impact we think it should. Perhaps it’s time we changed our methods – but how?”

Tom Price-Daniel opening address Inclusive Hiring - Early Talent workshop

Workshop Task 1: The ‘Brick’ exercise

Subtly disguised as an icebreaker, the goal of the first task was to acknowledge and celebrate diverse thinking and uncover patterns of homogenous thoughts. By sharing ideas, we are comparing the vast array of different approaches and thought processes across the room. No idea is a bad idea, and seemingly-bad ideas can ultimately lead to good ideas.

Each group spent a few minutes thinking about different ways to use a regular red building brick; suggestions ranged from the ordinary, ‘to build with!’ to the wild including, ‘a hat’ (uncomfortable!), ‘tiny shoes’ (for a statue?), ‘a showerhead’, ‘exercise equipment’, ‘a musical instrument’, and our favorite, ‘a brick can be anything it wants to be’.


Through this process, and in just a few minutes, we found that strange ideas generated more unusual ideas. As thinking in each group diversified and riffed we noticed the evolution of our outcomes, from outlandish to acceptable.

Workshop task 2: Early talent challenges and solutions

In order to address the current challenges in the early talent funnel, we need to think differently and try new approaches.

Each group tackled a part of the hiring funnel: sourcing, screening, selection, or hiring. The task at hand was to first discuss and explore the challenges within the category, then visualize the scenario. After presenting the challenges, each group spent a few minutes expanding on potential solutions to remove blockers, obstacles, and prevent bias in early talent hiring.

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Next steps

How do the challenges and problems identified above affect your ability to hire diverse early talent? Explore the potential solutions offered at each stage, and create action plans to roll-out the much-needed diversity and inclusive tactics in early talent recruitment.

Our recommendations:

  • Explore apprenticeships programmes to develop the diverse talent you need
  • Use an applicant tracking system that does all the heavy-lifting and counter-acts bias in each stage of the recruiting process
  • Ask for – and share – feedback from the candidate to hiring managers to drive better self-awareness on interview styles and highlight areas of potential unconscious bias
  • Instigate team-wide unconscious bias training
  • Assess your hiring process from the perspective of diverse candidates to improve accessibility

Get in touch

If you’re looking to improve diversity within your early talent-hiring program, get in touch.

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