False positives and diversity

The more I’ve thought about the debate about no-false-positives in hiring, the more sure I’ve become about the following claim:

Companies that pride themselves on never making a hiring mistake will not have a diverse workforce..

By “diverse”, I don’t mean just the EEOC sense of diversity (race, religion, age, sex), but also less tangible senses like skillsets, culture, occupational history, educational backgrounds, approaches to problem-solving, etc.

I make this claim mainly because one of the principal ways to reduce false-positive risk in hiring is to hire people who resemble either the founders or the present set of employees — this reduces risk in both a first-order way (he’s like me so he must be OK), and a second-order way (he’s like me, so I feel confident in my own evaluation of him and his background (whereas with that strange not-like-me person last week, well, who knows?)).

For previous posts on this see:

So how about it, Joe? Is your company diverse? (I’ll understand it if you refrain from commenting about the EEOC-style diversity question, because it’s a legal quagmire, but I’m interested in hearing about the rest of it.) (I can imagine a couple of legitimate responses to this from a startup: 1) Hell yeah we’re diverse, and 2) Hell no we’re not diverse, and why should we be? because startups are all about getting a small group of like-minded people together to kick some like-minded ass….)

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