Larry Olomofe shares his thoughts on inclusive hiring, candidate sourcing and education requirements.
In August 2021, we spoke with Larry Olomofe, President of the Board of Directors at the Responsible Leadership Academy—a global cooperative of experts, educators and practitioners helping organizations achieve sustainable impact. Larry shared his thoughts on inclusive hiring, namely candidate sourcing and education requirements.
Larry’s insights originally appeared alongside those of 11 other talent acquisition experts in our eBook, Reimagining Recruitment. You can download your own copy of our 50-page guide for free here.
“Obviously my surname is non-British, and I do know that because of my surname, and its connection with Nigeria, I just wouldn't get access to certain opportunities — if not for my Oxbridge education.
“There are people with MAs and doctorates and post-PhDs who are not as qualified for a role as somebody who has more experience in the industry.”
“I've been told this categorically, in different jobs I've had in the past, that they look at my profile and say, ‘Well, somebody who went to Oxford and Cambridge is somebody we need to have on our team.’
“And while being told this, I understood that if I didn't have this particular educational background, then what would have happened? I'd still be the same person, with the same qualities, but because I've gone through this education, in a sense it sanitized me and it made me more approachable or attractive to certain employers.
“There are all kinds of experiences, not just necessarily academic ones. There are people with MAs and doctorates and post-PhDs who are not as qualified for a role as somebody who has more experience in the industry. But that wouldn't be reflected on the formalities in terms of education.”
“Often when people do apply or they go through the process, they don’t get beyond the initial call, because people feel they don’t have the requisite education qualification. Their qualifications are not necessarily treated in the same light because of an unconscious bias against particular backgrounds.
“It’s one thing to open the door and get underrepresented groups into the process. But if organizations are just going to tell them they’re not qualified enough or their qualifications aren’t comparable, then we need to look at that too.”
“If an organization is looking to recruit, they tend to reach out among their own networks and advertise on standard channels. But those are only accessible to people who have access to them, so they just continue to unintentionally perpetuate these patterns of exclusion and people from underrepresented communities are not able to be part of that process.
“There has to be a more committed effort in identifying demographics where particular groups may reside — and trying different tactics like a poster campaign to raise awareness about these opportunities.”