The Rooney Rule requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for general manager and head coach positions. First implemented in 2003, the rule has since expanded to other businesses, including some tech companies, such as Facebook and Pinterest.
The Holder report recommended that Uber interview at least one woman and one member of an underrepresented minority group in the pool of candidates for key positions. It’s unclear how senior or junior those roles will be. The policy would ensure underrepresented groups at Uber would be considered with “appropriate consistency,” the report stated.
"If you're sourcing candidates who are underrepresented, and outside your networks, they may by definition be harder to find,” said Joelle Emerson, chief executive of Paradigm, a diversity consultancy. “But the idea is that by putting in the effort to do that, you'll ultimately end up with a stronger candidate pool, and make a better hiring decision.” Emerson added that, more broadly, companies that take the time to build a structured a hiring process will actually hire faster in the long run.
According to Uber's most recent diversity report, which included internal data through March, 22 percent of the company's leadership positions were held by women, compared with 78 percent held by men. That disparity is even larger when Uber counted leadership positions only in technology: Women claim 11.3 percent of those roles, compared with 88.7 percent claimed by men.
While the Rooney Rule has seen some success in the NFL, experts have criticized the policy for its limited scope in steering who gets interviewed, and not who wins the job. Another issue, discussed in a recent ESPN report, focused on the seemingly problematic hiring of NFL coaching positions below executive roles. Without minority professionals in these middle-tier positions, fewer people from underrepresented groups will acquire the skills and experience necessary to claim the job of head coach, experts said.
The report also called for Uber to include at least one woman or a member of an underrepresented group in the panels running the job interviews. This recommendation, the report stated, will “ensure diverse perspectives in the feedback and evaluation of candidates” and will “reduce the potential impact of unconscious bias.”
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