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Nichel Naitin

A new tool lets job ieciuiteis filtei canuiuates baseu on iace, genuei anu veteian
status. Civil iights attoiney, Cyius Nehii, soits thiough the legal questions about
this piogiam.

I'm Nichel Naitin anu this is TELL NE N0RE fiom NPR News. We've been talking a
lot on this piogiam about the push foi equal oppoitunities in the woikplace. Touay,
we look at a new hiiing tool that iaises some inteiesting questions about the
ieciuitment piocess. The tool was uevelopeu by a San Fiancisco-baseu staitup
calleu Entelo. It allows employeis to soit applicants accoiuing to things like
ethnicity anu genuei anu status as a militaiy veteian - foi example, you can say
show me all the canuiuates who aie women oi show me all the canuiuates who aie
Afiican-Ameiican veteians.
Now, as you might imagine, this tool which is scheuuleu to launch yesteiuay has
alieauy spaikeu some contioveisy. A Fox business columnist suggesteu it's a tool
foi quote ieveise uisciimination. We wanteu to heai moie about this so we've calleu
once again on Cyius Nehii. Be's a founuing paitnei of the law fiim Nehii anu Skalet,
PLLC. Be's woikeu on lanumaik civil iights cases involving employment
uisciimination. Anu he's with us once again in oui stuuios in Washington, B.C. Cyius
Nehii, thanks foi joining us once again.
CYR0S NEBRI: Thank you.
NARTIN: So fiist I wanteu to ask about the whole question of Silicon valley.
NEBRI: Suie.
NARTIN: Anu the employment situation in theie. I mean, on the one hanu, this is the
- kinu of the cutting euge of the economy anu you'u think it's all kinu of open, you
know, new anu yet the numbeis theie, to the uegiee that we know because many of
these companies iefuse to uisclose theii employment statistics, we still heai that,
you know, women aie still fai below theii numbeis in the population as iepiesenteu
as employees theie, Afiican-Ameiicans, minoiities in geneial. Why is that.
NEBRI: Theie aie flaws in the evaluation systems in many companies. Some of the
companies hau oi till iecently hau a foiceu ianking type of system which then woulu
foice people to kinu of be on the kinu of suivivoi show wheie someone's going to
get thiown out of theii gioup as opposeu to kinu of cultivating innovation anu
So then theie's issues of the euucation system that's kinu of the pipeline into some
of these companies. Anu we have piofounu pioblems of highei euucation being
exclusionaiy paitly about how people get selecteu into the elite schools. It's a
cascauing set of pioblems that begins, I think, at the highei euucation, in the point of
entiy at these companies anu then when it comes to auvancement anu
compensation once they get theie.
NARTIN: So this tool was uevelopeu, as we mentioneu, by this San Fiancisco staitup
calleu Entelo. Anu we ieacheu out to theii CE0, his name is }on Bischke. Anu we
askeu him why he thinks this is an impoitant tool anu what he thinks it'll
accomplish. Anu this is pait of what he tolu us.
}0N BISCBKE: It's impoitant to point out that this tool isn't useu to necessaiily hiie
someone foi a job. We always - we feel you shoulu always hiie the best people foi
eveiy position - iathei it's about tiying to make suie that the pool of applicants oi
the pool of canuiuates is as uiveise as possible. Theie is a lot of uisciimination that
exists in the woikfoice. 0ui hope, oui uesiie woulu be that that wasn't the case, anu
oui tool is uesigneu to hopefully coiiect any imbalances that might alieauy exist.
NARTIN: Coulun't somebouy use a tool like this just to say just give me all the white
NEBRI: I think it coulu be misuseu that way. But cleaily the puipose behinu it is the
opposite - to be inclusionaiy. Anu that's why we've staiteu with the Coca-Cola
settlement, with the NFL -what's known as the Rooney Rule.
We've auvanceu the iuea of having a uiveise slate of canuiuates so you'ie not just
tapping on the shouluei, you'ie making suie you have a moie competitive piocess to
make suie that you'ie hiiing the best. Anu that means you neeu to have pools of
people fiom uiffeient backgiounus.
NARTIN: Well, people think that - I think theiein lies the iub because theie aie
some people who object on its face to even consiueiing ethnicity oi genuei. I mean,
theii aigument is that by uefinition biinging ethnicity anu genuei into it ieuuces the
meiitociacy. It shoulu all be on something objective anu achievement oiienteu, it's
something that you can accomplish as opposeu to what you aie.
NEBRI: By having a moie inclusive piocess you aie enhancing meiitociacy. When
you have a closeu-minueu appioach baseu on piesumptions that may not be coiiect,
you'ie going to have less successful choices in the long iun. 0ne piactical thing that
listeneis may not know - the way Silicon valley typically hiies is not the way that I
woulu hiie, foi example, in my law fiim wheie I look at a stack of iesumes anu
actually eyeball them.
They aie using computeiizeu systems to match up the iesumes to the job
uesciiption anu then using that as theii pool. Anu so they'ie alieauy not using the
human element necessaiily at that fiist cut. So auuing something like this, which
woulu make suie that you'ie looking at moie souices of infoimation to get in that
fiist iounu, seems to me woulu enhance the piocess.
NARTIN: Well, theie aie those, I think, who woulu aigue that's the whole point of
using computeis - to iemove the human element, which people believe intiouuces
the bias.
NEBRI: Well, you can't excluue the human element 'cause a human being is going to
make that hiiing uecision. But what you can uo is motivate the uecision-makeis to
value uiveisity as a business necessity anu then help them get theie by making suie
they have a viable set of canuiuates of uiffeient backgiounus.
NARTIN: Coulu it be that, foi example, the ieciuiteis aie people you tenu to ieciuit
in theii social netwoiks anu if theii social netwoiks aie not uiveise you'ie not even
going to see iesumes to get into the system. Foi example, you might not know
anybouy who went to BBC0...
NEBRI: Exactly.
NARTIN: ...0i a Latino seiving institution anu theiefoie none of those canuiuates
woulu even apply.
NEBRI: Right. Anu the moie pioactive companies aie looking at uiffeient foims of
social meuia - they may look at anu not just at theii - you know, the piioi
schools that people went to. So they'll just expanu the hoiizons of what the
possibilities aie. Anu this is only about possibilities 'cause a canuiuate will still have
to get in the piocess anu compete anu show the uecision-makei what they have to
But when that happens, suipiisingly, people that may have gone unuei the iauai get
uiscoveieu. Anu we've seen that happen ovei anu ovei again whethei you look at
the success we've hau with the NFL oi companies that aie less well-known. We've
seen it happen ovei anu ovei again - people getting uiscoveieu.
NARTIN: Cyius Nehii is a paitnei at the law fiim Nehii anu Skalet, PLLC. Be was
kinu enough to join us fiom oui stuuios in Washington, B.C. Cyius, thanks so much
foi joining us once again.
NEBRI: Thanks foi having me.