Friday, January 14, 2011

I Had a Dream

I know - very original title on the Friday before MLK day, but at least I’m current! Usually I try to write about something that touches me or inspires me that is related to recruiting. This week, ESPN did a story on Dr. King and how “whites and blacks” agree and disagree on various race issues in sports. I tried to find it on youtube to post it here for you and was unsuccessful. I get the feeling, knowing ESPN, that they’ll show it again so hopefully you get an opportunity to see the story.

I can’t remember all of the different topics that were covered on a survey, though among them were the “Rooney Rule” and the most admired man in sports. These two things stood out to me initially because they were the two questions that generated the most discussion. Secondly, the “Rooney Rule” could easily be parlayed into diversity recruiting.

First, the most admired man in sports was the thing both races agreed upon most. The person is Michael Jordan. Second, the biggest difference in the survey came regarding whether or not the NFL still needed the “Rooney Rule.” The Rooney Rule, as per Wikipedia, requires National Football League teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operations opportunities. The rule is named directly for Dan Rooney, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the chairman of the league's diversity committee, and indirectly for the Rooney family in general. This is due to the Steelers' long history of giving African Americans opportunities to serve in team leadership roles.

There are two ways I could think of that we could adopt the Rooney Rule in recruiting. The first is to commit to presenting at least one diverse candidate for each opening your firm attempts to fill. The second is to ask your clients how important diversity is to them. Then again, if you know they are football fans, ask how they feel about the Rooney Rule.

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