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tv   Book Discussion on Pedigree  CSPAN  February 28, 2016 1:00pm-1:21pm EST

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reflexively become a republican. and i think that politics should be about ideas and we should have this vigorous debate about ideas, and you shouldn't -- identity politics should not define, your identity should not define your political persuasion. >> yeah. i mean, that's what liberalism does. let's let them. >> i know. and that's the sad part, is in many ways we are aping liberalism. >> right. >> there's a conservative argument that says, well, they do it too. we have to fight fire with fire. i reject that. why should we try to emulate the worst characteristics of liberalism? >> you can what this and -- watch this and other programs online at >> host: ped agree is the name of the book -- pedigree is the name of the book. lauren rivera is the author. how do you define elite? >> guest: it's an excellent question. i've been looking at elite jobs in terms of investment banking,
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management consulting firms and law mitt romney r firms, and these are in many ways, i call them the baby business elites. they are very, very prestigious position. also those that involve high levels of economic rewards in terms of salaries. they're other types of elites. i'm really looking at business elites, so the people who are in the most prestigious and rewarding segments. ..
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what kind of parent is a good parent, they'll describe someone exactly like themselves, and i think there's something going on there in terms of when you ask people who are in positions of power in society, what merit, they'll give a definition that it is strikingly similar to whatever they are. it's true in other segments of society as well. we have these similar to me -- but one thing that contributes. >> host: walk us through a case study how an elite student gets an elite job. >> guest: yes, so, in general, the types of occupations i'm studying, getting entry level job straight out of business school or law school in an elite professional service firm so top management, consulting firm, top law school, biggest key is to go to the right schools 'these
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firms have very, very strict view that the best and the brightest only go to top schools. they have a very definition -- narrow definition what a top school is sos a sociologist i might think a top 50 school its an elite school. that's not what the game is here. the game here is to be at a top five, top ten university, so the first key. the second is that you need to have the right resume to get in the door. for undergraduates this is the most fuzzy because a lot of undergraduates don't have a lot of work experience but but have internships. this players republic necessarily looking for having concrete skills in a given domain. if grew to princeton, harvard, columbia, they trust you're smart enough to do the job. they can teach you whatever you have to learn. so they look for internships, often that are unpaid. that's one of the claim mentions of this. -- dimensions of this, as well as extracurricular profiles
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filled with activities motivated by personal passion, sports, depending on the person who screens your resume, drama can be a good one, if you happen to have an athlete screening resume and you're involved in drama, you may bet out of luck. this idea that people -- the best and the brightest cultivate their skills and intellect not only in the classroom but outside of it is huge. so i you don't have extracurricular activities that are motivated by passion you're it of the game. the getting into the interview itover selected to interview, lot of the interview are open-ended, so the interviewer will sit down like we did, and in -- have an open ended conversation for the first five or so minuted. why are you here? that do you like to do in your spare sometime and a feeling of personal chemistry, often based on similarity and things in terms of things that are outside of work, outside of school, a huge source of interview success. after that, some firms will have
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some sort of skill test in consulting, you do a case interview and i can tell you're more about that but the idea is you're supposed to speak to your by good-interviewer in a way you're equals. you're supposed to foster a feeling of chemistry, and all of these things, success is dependent on having a baseline familiarity with upper class culture. >> host: you say in your book that a structured interview benefits the nonelites more than the elites. what do you mean? >> guest: for the most part. structured interviews -- let me start with unstructured interviews. the most common interviews that american hiring managers use. they love them because it allows your personal theory of success to be the guiding force you. may think that what really drives success in life and in your job is the fact that you're from a certain state or that you come from a certain family background, and with an unstruck
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tired interview it is about the conversation and whatever you personally think drives success, that is what you to measure performance, struck tired interview is when you ask the same questions to all the candidates. ideally those are informed by analysis of what types of factors actually predict on the job success. so i may think coming from iowa is a good predictor of on the job success for a given job but that may have nothing to do with it if you crunch the numbers structured interviews have structured assessments whereby the candidate is asking to do something job relevant. the reason in general those tend to reduce inequality nails put a tamper on the personal biases we have and our intellect keeps interviewers more focusing on job relevant criteria. when interviews are unstructured, physical attractiveness, race, all these things can run crazy in
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interviewer evaluations. one downdied to having a struck tired interview process, and i tack about this in the book with consulting case interviews -- itch for some reason whatever you structure you adopted, let's say in consulting that have case interview were applicants are asked to solve a business problem similar 2001 they midnight encounter on the job and have to go through -- there's a stylized script where if you don't know the rules of this particular type of interview interaction you won't do well in that setting, when a structured interview requires mastery of insider codes, knowing how to get ahead, may not level the playing field. >> host: professor rivera, you write: wes, law student from a working class family, talked about recruiting events, quote, i would generally stand over in the corner with my friends or stand on by the bar and then just get drunk.
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so i didn't really use that as a recruiting tool. maybe that would have been smart but i felt like a tool bag. i hate like schmoozing when you two goh to cocktail parties. >> guest: i think that the knowledge -- what counts and what doesn't count in the interview process depends on your connections, and your connections are influenced by your background. i also think that knowing that networking and schmoozing and even chemistry in a job interview can carry the day, is a type of cross-based culture knowledge that not everyone has. often working class students internal the classroom, enter universities, enter interviewed with the opinion that what is on their resume counts most, and in especially the elite job, that's note the case. the networking is a huge part of it and not only knowing you're supposed to do it but doing it well can make or break a candidate. >> host: what do your teach. >> guest: i teach leadership. >> host: what is the downside of
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ped dry of e -- pedigree of elite students getting elite jobs. >> guest: i think one is that we like to live in a society where at least we believe that opportunity is at least in theory open, and when there are processes in place like the ones i document in the book that systematically make it such that if you don't come from one of these backgrounds, your chance of getting a top paying job are very small. it's not impossible. it's just very, very difficult. that threatens our notion of the american dream, and our being an open society. but i think for firms, the most -- there's some evidence to suggest that students from the highest class background as well as the most elite schools really tend not to like these jobs. these jobs are really, really difficult. they require lots of hours and mundane tasks and a lot of people find them really rough but there's evidence to suggest that elite students, whether it class background or educational background, are actually worse
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fits for the job than individuals from more modest economic means or less prestigious schools. so people from elite backgrounds want to leave these jobs earlier, withins the first one to two years of entering before they've been there long enough to pay back recruiting jobs. some jobs are meant to be temporary, not meant to take your to partnership, but students with elite background like the -- less elite background like the work more and want to stay longer, and that's research that suggests that visit vid from lower class backgrounds have better coaching skills, listening skills, things are assets in client-based professions. >> host: , are schools guilty as well of perpetuating this elite system? >> guest: i think they are. i don't necessarily think it's intentional. i think that especially elite universities have some pretty strong incentive to keep this going. one is the fact that national
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rankings, especially for business and law schools, directly factor in starting salaries for recent graduates into the rankings so there's rankings have become so important for universities in ternals of their own status but in terms of alumni donations, things that can help down the line. so, sending as many students as nobody highest paying jobs benefits elite universities. the second way that universities are complicit is that the most elite universities, especially undergraduate, business school, and law school, very, very top ranked, they allow these firms almost unfettered access to their students, and what that does is it creates a climate on campus where these careers end up being a crucial marker of self-worth for a lot of students, and so people end up going into these careers probably in much greater numbers than they would otherwise because the recruiting process has been described as literally taking over campuses for several
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months per year, have made it such that these are the most visible and high status jobs available. >> host: we're seating here at northwestern university. you teach the school of management. >> guest: yep. >> host: you're top five. >> guest: we are. we are, and we found 0 lot of our students from consulting and i'm a former management consultant myself. i think that plays a big role in this. >> host: how do you fight this? sunny think that it requires two things. the first actually has to do with universities. one of the big reasons why the playing field for elite jobs is so skewed happens to be that universities, elite universities, both undergrad bat and graduate level tend to use highly class-biased admission criteria. so when you look at the student population of a very top school, whether again this is undergraduate or business and law at the graduate level, these
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programs tend to be dominated by students from the most affluent households. so, you're skewing the population. to begin with. but when you look at firms that will only recruit from those schools, i they have a class based population from which to recruit the hiring tactics are class biased. if you add class biased hiring -- school prestige and other things correlated with socioeconomic status of the applicants' parents, such as participation in unspade internship, what it means to be a well-spoken person, inside knowledge of the interview process and so forth, result in what you get is a system where there's a double filter on socioeconomic status. >> host: does this reed to racial bias. >> guest: the racial bias are part of the process. it's important to disentangle
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race from economic status because they're very different itch think this hiring process is really strongly disadvantage students from low income backgrounds regardless of their race. in addition, what happens in some of the interviews, and some of the deliberations among higher committees, is that people use stereotypes as shortcuts to judge candidates and especially with african-american men there's a racial stereotype and employers operate on that people are less polished. so when you see -- it's very, very clear, that if an applicant fall tedder just a little bit who is an african-american male on something related to interpersonal communications, triggers this stereotype. i watched how equivalent -- otherwise equivalent applicants who were white men who make the exact same air explore they were considered to be coachable. so, i think it's a subtle racial buy biases that creates racial
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biases in the process. the other thing is the schools from which these firms recruit tend not to be the most racially diverse schools to begin with you. have the pipeline issue, then you also again have the bias issue in terms of what employers are doing to reenforce inequalities we have in society today. >> guest: professor rivera, former management consultant, rivera, are you part of this elite system? have you been guilty of this yourself? not trying to put you on the spot. just curious. >> guest: yeah. i never did interview for my old firm but i've lived in this world for a long time, and i think that it is quite tempting to take shortcuts the firms take and that we take as humans in terms of if you like people more who are similar to you. if someone comes from a shared background, it's easier to relate to them. we're all guilty of that. so i don't think i'm unique in that i don't necessarily have any authority to hire anyone, so
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there's -- not yet, at least, and i hope when i am in a position i'll put in struck tired protocols that will hopefully nut a more fair process. >> host: is pedigree written for management students or the general public. >> guest: written for sociologists, actually. got my ph.d in sociology and the impact is really intended to be for scholars who are interested in issues of inequality. if it has also impacts for managers and practitioners as well as mba students i'm very very, happy about that, but the intended audience was really sociologists but with any book it's nice that anyone reads it. it gathers more public appeal, that's great, too. >> host: princeton press has put this book out. you use the word polished quite a bit in this book. >> guest: yes. >> host: what does it mean. >> guest: polished is what my interviewees would talk about as -- theyeye interchangeably with presence and communication stills, soft skills, enter act
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with a client, presentable to a team to someone who is an executive, and i think that the definition of polished varies from place to play. if you look at an advertising agency, the type of mapperrisms and behaviors valued might be different from an elite law firm. academia, we have different styles of presentation than in the corporate world in this world it means being formal without being too formal. so, having a sense of relaxed or relaxation between you and the person you're talking with. that's one of the reason is why a lot of the black candidates are thrown out they're perceived to be too formal or too informal and that's a judgment that happens through the lens of racial stereotypes. so the first thing is being formal enough to be professional but not too informal to be immature. the second, which is really important, is in the interview context taking the reins of the conversation. so a lot of people may think in an interview you're supposed to
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just passively answer the questions the interviewer asks you that's how you would do at an interview in many different types of occupations. but here it's called conversational leadership, taking the reins reins of conversation. the idea is that you're trying to treat the interviewer as an equal. so, rather than having them have the position of power and you're the person who wants the job you want to create this into a conversation of equals, and there's a socialollist at columbia who says that is a hallmark of the economic elites. the ability to make anyone feel at eats regardless how high or low they are relative to you in the economic hierarchy, that sense of ease is important and that's absolutely essential. that type of communication skill is different than if you went to interview at, say, you wanted job at a fact trip. if you try to define commonalities and create a sense of equality your interviewer would not be pleased. >> host: lauren riff remarks if you don't go to -- rivera, if
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you don't go do an elite school, community college or local campus, there are two strikes against you at that point? >> guest: if you are going to a community college and the chances are you're not going to gloat the door. if you are at a four-year university that happens to be a nonelite university, say a public university that is not a flagship or some cases some firms have a very, very narrow conception of elite and even the public flagship would not be elite enough. the keefe is to have connections, someone inside a firm who can pass on your revs may and get you a look. otherwise these firms have so many applicants from schools they consider to be good schools and those are their words, not mine -- a lot of wonderful schools in the country that are not on these firms' lists, but unless you can get someone's attention through a connection, you're out. >> host: here's the book "pedigree: how elite students get elite jobs.
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" northwestern profession lauren rev race the author. >> this is booktv on c-span 2. here's our lineup. tonight, starting at 6:30, nick adams shares his opinions on political correctness. then at 7:30, the new yorker's jane mayer reports on the influence of big money in politics. miss mayer will join us live next weekend to discuss all of her books and take your questions on "in depth" primetime continues at 9:00 p.m. wife michael hayden, the former nasa and cia director sits down we former cia director james woolsey to asks national security on booktv's" after words "program. which that's followed at 10:00 with the panel on the history of the black power movement. that all happens tonight on c-span2's booktv.


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