PepsiCo boss fires recruiter for failing on diversity

PepsiCo boss fires recruiter for failing on diversity

Speaking at a recent conference, PepsiCo’s President Brad Jakeman explained why a hiring bias caused him to a sack a recruiter – CampaignLive reports.

The head of the global soft-drink giant recalled firing a recruiter because she brought him just one CV that belonged to a woman, after he had requested a diverse group of candidates be found for a senior hire.

Sending the recruiter away, to find a more diverse array of candidates, she brought forward only one further female candidate.

Jakeman then fired the recruiter after she claimed there was nothing else she could do. She had not met her remit.

Not being able to find a suitable candidate is a common line that recruiters may roll out if they cannot meet the client’s specifications.

However, Jakeman believes that employing a diverse workforce isn’t just a social good, its business sense – and he needs recruiters to create a varied pool of candidates to choose from.

He said: “It doesn’t make any sense not to lean into diversity, when by definition, the people we serve are incredibly diverse.

“We naturally like being around people like us, so there’s unconscious built-in bias at every level of the hiring process. Without diversity initiatives, I would get resumes from—on a good day—90% straight, white men. Certainly 98% men [sic].”

Jakeman’s unforgiving stance, against recruiters who aren’t willing to challenge the status quo, is indicative of a President who understands that his company’s diversity is a selling point.

He attributes the success of PepsiCo to the diverse employee base, believing that customers are increasingly mindful of the ethos and practises of the companies that make their consumer goods.

Indra Noovi, PepsiCo’s Indian-American female CEO, has previously spoken about the need for a good social mix amongst staff, arguing, like Jakeman, that diversity is a business imperative.

She said: “If you look at the best grades, they are being [gained] by women. So, if you really want companies to be successful, we have got to draw from the entire pool, not just try to say: 'Hey, we are going to exclude a portion of the population.”

Comments (5)

  • Neil
    Fri, 31 Mar 2017 12:59pm BST
    So he fired the recruiter as they refused to follow a discriminatory request to solely select people based on a protected characteristic?
  • MARK
    Thu, 23 Mar 2017 3:24pm GMT
    This isn't a surprise to me as a minority candidate and recruiter,,,,,,,,I can remember one recruiting to place a candidate in a specific region of India and when every candidate coming through door was a White Euro centric candidate who didn't have a clue about where the facility was, the group all seemed to agree they were the correct fit. Then the one minority candidate who knew the region, language and culture of the area with the same if not more impressive skill set, well the discussion was I'm not sure whether he had all the skills needed......The irony was he was better qualified for the position without the presumed skills needed.

    The point is that as a minority candidate all too often you bring more to the table in terms of experience(s) and experience and then you are always in the position to have that questioned as legitimate. If the recruiter was doing their job, that should have been an easy recruit going to the proper sources.....
  • Rueben Stokes
    Rueben Stokes
    Sun, 12 Mar 2017 2:42pm GMT
    Brad Jakeman was exactly right to draw a line in the sand and eliminate that inept recruiter. Leaders must set the tone and standard for diversity recruiting. The message should be clear and unequivocal that successful Diversity & Inclusion overall, and diversity recruiting specifically is a strategic business advantage and a competitive imperative. Those recruiters that don’t take diversity seriously and don’t understand the lasting negative impact of hiring bias, and who view diverse candidate slates as a “check the box” or “nice to have if it isn’t too much extra effort” are dinosaurs who need to be managed out of the process.
    In addition, large organizations committed to diversity recruiting need to make sure that hiring bias does not creep into their online recruiting efforts. Recruiting algorithms created by humans with “diversity blind spots” could inadvertently and unintentionally be perpetuating the same biases as the fired recruiter.
  • Dirk
    Mon, 6 Mar 2017 2:03pm GMT
    I would not fix this only to the question of diversity. My experience with various recruiters from different recruiting companies is that, if they feel save when they have been choosen by your company it is a kind of easy going. e.g. I had a clear description and stated in a meeting for which kind of cadidates I was looking. After receiving the first CVs, really bullshit and after my complaints, I received a similar answer. Then I was asking a different company, which I knew before, just to check what tgey could do and the result was ten times better. Getting back to our recruiter and a lot of aplogizes later they started to present the right cadidates. I know that recruiting is not an easy job but to emphasize the cutomer needs is absolutely mandatory. Listen - Think - Act. Not always easy.
  • Ruth
    Sun, 5 Mar 2017 8:12am GMT
    Diversity means more than gender, or age or race. Some recruiters prefer graduates from certain colleges, which is a form of bias. Whilst many recruiters are professional, a few of my friends tell me they had been asked inappropriate questions when attending interviews in SINGAPORE.

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