Robert Rodriguez, chairman of the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enrichment, often has heard hiring managers and recruiters complain that their recruiting efforts were not as effective as they could have been with Hispanic applicants. In addition to leading the nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Hispanics develop professional careers, Rodriguez is assistant dean of the graduate school of management at Kaplan University in Chicago. Acting on his perceptions about ineffective recruitment efforts, he wrote the book “Latino Talent,” newly published by John Wiley & Sons Inc. It offers recruiting, retention and leadership development strategies to companies looking to increase their ranks of Hispanic managers and executives.
Why write a recruiting book focusing on Hispanics?
Most non-Hispanics don’t know about the diversity that exists in the Latino community. Hispanics are not all the same. There are regional and cultural differences
What kind of mistakes do hiring managers make when interviewing Hispanics?
A lot of Latinos are not accustomed to highlighting their past accomplishments. In an interview, they may be asked to talk about their strengths and past accomplishments, and they may struggle with that. The interviewer will see it as they did not fight for the job. Another area is eye contact. Among Latinos, there is a tendency to respect elders and those in authority and not make eye contact. But an interviewer may see that as a lack of confidence.
Do companies also need to adjust their retention and staff development strategies for the Hispanic worker?
Latinos may feel a bit isolated as they move up in an organization and they see less and less people who look like them. Executives and senior managers need to be aware of their sense of isolation. There can also be a struggle with their sense of identity. As a newly promoted director or manager, do I want to embrace it or downplay it? I do not want people to think I was promoted because I am Hispanic, but it is still an important part of who I am. Companies need to understand that.
How can operators better prepare Hispanics for leadership roles?
Mentoring goes a long way. Another thing is to put together a leadership development program specifically for Latinos. You have to look at investing in the workforce you’re going to have in the future. As these demographics play out, the number of Latino workers is going to increase. Companies need to invest in Latino leadership and maximize their potential. Hispanic-consumer spending power is about $800 billion. If we want more Latinos to buy our products and services, it would serve us to have more Latino employees to help us tap into that Latino consumer pool.