During yesterday’s Life Happens webinar, attendees gained some helpful hints on recruiting people of color (POCs) from two industry experts: Delvin Joyce, CLU, ChFC, RICP, Founder and President of Prosperity Wealth Group based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Kristen Eskew, a Business Development Executive at OneDigital in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Both Joyce and Eskew approached this critical topic by focusing on five questions that many POC candidates are thinking of when they are interviewing for positions in the financial services industry, but often do not ask. The questions are:
- Do I belong here? This is a fundamental question and is often the first question that many PoC candidates ask themselves, Eskew and Joyce said. They are wondering if they can show up to work as their “authentic selves” because they often look different from other employees. They know that they are not part of the “majority culture.”
How can organizations create a sense of belonging? They can work with a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion consultant or an HR specialist, be transparent about their goals for hiring, and let the candidates know that they will do all they can to create a sense of belonging.
- Will I have allies here? This concept of allyship has really taken off in recent years, both speakers said. In asking this question, candidates want to know if someone at the hiring organization will have their backs. Joyce pointed out that during his first year at Prudential, he met the president of the company’s Distribution Center, who told him that he can be a Managing Director at the company. That was encouraging, he said. So, he urged attendees not to hesitate to show candidates that they can be allies to them.
- Will I be the token? In asking this question, PoC candidates are wondering if they were hired solely because of the color of their skin and not because of their qualifications for the position.
- Will my “why” for joining the profession be supported at this organization? In many cases, when white candidates are asked the reasons for joining the profession, their response is often that a relative or a friend inspired them to do so. This is different for many PoCs, who typically respond that their family struggled financially, and their decision to join was influenced by the fact that they want to have a positive impact on someone’s life, or they want to try to close the racial wealth gap that currently exists between Whites and Blacks. As organizations recruit PoCs, they should try to put programs in place that support the “why” of this demographic.
- Can I be truly successful here? This question brings all the other questions together, according to Joyce. The industry tries to attract people to the industry, but does not often provide solutions for all agents. For example, many new agents are often asked to start prospecting for clients by turning to their “natural market,” Joyce pointed out.
This is OK, he added, but many Black candidates will tell you that they will not achieve professional success if they focus on their natural market because “they do not know people with money.”
To address this issue, during the interview, the hiring organization should try to assure these candidates that their prospecting process will not be focused solely on their natural market. Let them know that the firm has a marketing plan they can plug into, as well, he added.