Diversity and inclusion

Research indicates that a diverse search committee is more likely to yield a strong candidate pool. To this aim, all search committee members must demonstrate a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity.  

While committee members may perceive candidates differently based on certain demographic characteristics (ie. geographic location, language, religious beliefs), each search committee member must be able to overcome stereotypic preconceptions and implicit assumptions to reduce the impact of bias and inequity in the candidate selection process. To learn more about the ways in which people hold unconscious biases, search committee members are encouraged to independently take one or more of the Implicit Association Tests provided by Harvard University’s Project Implicit.

Increased diversity among the hiring committee may be achieved by including other types of VCU employees such as graduate students, research staff, and faculty members from external, but related departments. This approach may help to balance the available perspectives of many different types of individuals, helping to ensure a more inclusive interview panel. However, it can be helpful for each committee member to have experience that aligns to the purpose and/or qualifications of the advertised position.

The Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit provides guidance and suggestions for conducting fair and equitable searches. It presents ideas that lay the foundation for successfully attracting and recruiting diverse candidates.