Show Notes: Wahab Owolabi is the founder of URx, a community-driven organization that provides events and advisory services for recruiters, talent acquisition professionals, universities, and partners. He is particularly passionate about serving the recruiting teams, or “gatekeepers” in the hiring process.
Why Gatekeepers Matter
The recruiting team determines who gets interviewed so that the hiring manager, in turn, can make the final offer and determine who gets hired. If the recruiting team doesn’t have a lens of diversity and inclusion in their outreach efforts, then ideal candidates for a particular role won’t even make it onto the radar of hiring managers. This nuanced system of checks and balances between the recruiting team and hiring manager is crucial to the success of the hiring process.
Barriers to Diversity & Inclusion in the Hiring Process
What can complicate the relationship between recruiting teams and hiring managers is the pressure on everyone to make a hire expediently, as team performance is often based on cost to hire and time to hire. On top of that, there may be a dynamic of “Hire who I want, not hire the best person,” says Owolabi. That’s why strong relationships between recruiting teams and hiring managers are essential. Trust between the two empowers recruiters to push back if a hiring manager questions why a certain candidate has been presented to them.
Building Confidence through Measurement
Recruiting teams can also build their confidence by measuring their impact. Owolabi shares an example when he ran university recruiting at a unicorn start up, in which he presented a strong candidate who was initially not going to get an offer. Undeterred, Owolabi brought compelling evidence to the table of the prospective hire’s exceptional track record through multiple interactions at conferences and events. Moreover, he showed the impact of this hire on opening doors for future hires that ultimately changed the mind of his hiring manager. That hire has now been with the company for over 2.5 years and is considered a top performer. By giving a face to their work, recruiting teams can show their impact on the business over time.
What’s Next in Recruiting
“What’s next will be driven by the community,” says Owolabi. He stresses the importance of listening to the people in your organization and soliciting input from partners in order to develop innovative solutions to the right problems, a lesson he learned in his previous life in venture capital that he carries forward into his own company. It’s through this feedback loop and constant evolution that he can help build winning organizations.
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