Tribalism and Racism Corrupt The Hiring Process

Tribalism or Racism. A man holding a question mark

By fiifi DZANSI

Tribalism or racism may prevent us from seeing people for who they really are .

And there I was, sitting across from the interviewer in an insurance company. I was a bit hopeful yet jittery. 

I needed a job to take care of the bills that were piling up. The interview began. After discussing my resume briefly, the question I dreaded most arrived, “So from your name, ugh…am wondering, where do you come from?”

Apparently, the interviewer and I hailed from the same region in Ghana. He knew my hometown so well, like the back of his hand. We spent more than half of the interview talking about my village – the new developments and the last time I travelled there.

On a bus heading back home, I had a call that I got the job. Fascinating. Did I get the job because the interviewer and I came from the same region? Or I got the job because I presented an impressive résumé and performed well at the interview? I’m sure it was because of the former.

I’ve had similar experiences like this where people either became friendly or stone-cold after knowing where I came from.

With a heart drenched in racism or tribalism, we can rarely look beyond the skin or a name. 

When looking for talent to work with, focus on skill and competence.

What matters most is the person’s portfolio – their history of problems solved.