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Whether organisations are using a recruitment consultancy or an internal HR department to recruit, the role of the recruiter is critical when hiring the most applicable and capable candidates.
Yet, recruiters are overlooking an indispensable element, diversity, in favour of the X-factor.
 
When recruiters and HR professionals identify the top performing profiles in an organisation, they earmark certain traits as the X-factor they are after. This creates a biased cycle of only employing individuals that exhibit these particular traits, stopping diversity dead in its tracks.
 
An X-Factor is a “noteworthy special talent, quality or qualities” that a candidate possesses. It will, of course, vary depending on the role, company and other factors. Organisations generally refer to X-factors as something that they cannot identify, articulate or describe. This is highly problematic because instead of recruiting based on the key predicators of performance and the key skills that ensure the candidate will be successful, hiring practices become less accurate and difficult to measure. Often hiring based on X-factors is hiring based on something that is undefined and therefore subjective.
 
We know that diversity in the workforce is fundamental to success and innovation in an organisation. 

Why is diversity being destroyed at the recruitment level?

Recruiters may hire based on personal preference or seek out commonality using their own perception of what the X-factor is for a particular position. This happens because X-factor traits are not properly defined, which allows an element of personal bias to enter the recruitment process.
 
During the screening process, diverse candidates may be screened out due to cultural misunderstandings, prejudice, or a lack of interviewing skills on the part of the interviewer or the candidate. It is essential to educate recruiters to screen for key predicators of performance and key competency skills and to ignore personal preferences.
 
Another area where diversity is being reduced, is when organisations continuously recruit from the same stables. This will ultimately provide profiles that match previous hiring trends, but it will prevent diverse skills and competencies from entering the workforce.
 
To attract a diverse range of candidates, priority also needs to be shifted from minimum requirements, like degrees and work experience, to assessing the core skills, performance criteria and proficiencies of the individual against the job tasks pertaining to the role.
 
The only viable path to success is to use a scientific approach to match candidates to positions based on the actual predictors of performance. By using an unbiased and accurate means of identifying candidates that is holistically appropriate for each specific role within the organisation, diversity is encouraged without compromising on performance.

Juan Swartz is the CEO of Pivotal Talent.

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