2 Red Flags for Recruiters Using the
The Rooney Rule is a well-meant attempt to address racial inequality in the
National Football League (NFL) that is now a part of diversity and inclusion
efforts for many recruiters. However, the Rooney Rule has flaws.
The Rooney Rule requires teams to interview at
least one ethnic-minority candidate when hiring a
new head coach.
It also (now) requires teams to interview minorities for
general manager positions as well as women for some
front-office positions. It continues to evolve.
The Rooney Rule is well-
intentioned, but it’s incomplete.
Only one team (the Detroit Lions) has
ever received a fine for violating the
rule, and questions linger about its
fairness in real-world application.
The rule overlooks the fact that a single underrepresented minority
candidate isn’t enough. It also attempts to manufacture diversity rather
than acquiring it organically.
One red flag for recruiters is that the
Rooney Rule doesn’t address the
negligible impact that a single diverse
candidate has on the hiring process.
A second red flag for recruiters is that the
Rooney Rule requires them to tinker with their
candidate pool, which isn’t something they need
to do if they’ve got a large enough pool.
Detractors of the rule question whether hiring teams are sacrificing quality to
‘manufacture’ diverse candidate pools. Supporters and detractors alike struggle with
asking hiring teams to purposefully source minority candidates.
Datapeople’s own research has
found that large numbers of
applicants will naturally yield more
diversity in your candidate pool.
In other words, more candidates from
underrepresented groups at the top of
the funnel net more qualified candidates
from underrepresented groups at the
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