It was a Saturday night in June 2013, and the news was about to begin for the entire University of Iowa’s human resources department.
A few weeks earlier, a new hiring manager for the university had left, and there was a huge vacancy at the top of the department.
The university’s Human Resources Director, Mary Kost, had been asked to help fill the vacancy with a new hire.
Her decision had been met with skepticism by the human resources team, which had never had a new employee in the department before.
A new hire, the team thought, might just be too expensive.
But the human resource director had other ideas.
“I thought, Oh, I can probably hire a bunch of people,” she said.
She brought the team to her office and ordered a cup of coffee.
The next day, she called and asked if they had any candidates.
The team immediately started brainstorming their first round of hires.
It would be an all-female team, she explained, and she would hire the best women candidates.
As the team brainstormed, Kost started to panic.
“We were going to hire people who were going out and finding work,” she remembered.
“It was like, ‘Are we just going to be hiring the worst, or are we going to go after the best?'”
Kost quickly decided that hiring more women would be more beneficial for the department, and so she and her team began the process of recruiting.
After a couple of months, Kust was surprised to find that the hires she had hoped to hire had already been hired.
“There were so many women, we were hiring people who had never been hired before,” she recalled.
After another couple of weeks, the university hired four women in the same position.
The hiring team, including Kost herself, were ecstatic.
After all, the hiring of women had helped the university to better attract and retain top talent, and by hiring more female hires, they had also been able to improve the diversity of the university’s ranks.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign hired a woman as a research assistant in 2015, after hiring six women in their human resources division in the previous year.
The department’s human resource team, however, was not so pleased.
The new hire had no experience at all.
“She came in and she was totally unprofessional,” one senior manager told the Champaign News-Gazette.
“You don’t hire a guy who doesn’t have a real job experience,” the manager said.
The newly hired employee, Erin Miller, quickly started getting into fights with the team.
She was not only rude, but also seemed to be very upset with the hiring process.
She became so angry that one of the team’s members, a former human resources officer, suggested that she call a public relations representative and have them call the hiring manager.
The manager, in turn, contacted the university president.
“He said, ‘We need to do something about this,'” the manager told The Next Big Thing.
After the manager’s email went out to the hiring managers, they realized that Miller was a bad fit.
Miller was so abrasive and angry that the hiring team felt that it needed to hire her immediately.
“The whole thing was very emotional,” one of Miller’s former colleagues told The Future.
“At one point she went and grabbed a microphone and started yelling at the hiring director.”
The hiring director was so upset, he immediately called the university human resources manager and apologized for Miller.
“That’s all I can say,” the hiring administrator told The New York Times.
“But he did apologize, and that was that.”
At the time, the only women in human resources had been the women who had served in senior positions within the department for decades.
The Human Resources Department has since instituted several hiring and hiring-related reforms.
In 2016, the department hired two women, and two more women were hired as assistant directors within the same year.
In 2018, the new hire was welcomed into the department with open arms.
“One of the reasons we’ve been able the change so quickly was that our hiring and retention practices were very progressive,” the university chancellor, Robert W. Johnson, told The Nation in 2016.
“In our department, we have a diversity of experience, we had diversity of backgrounds, we’ve had diversity in leadership positions, and we’ve tried to get a little more women in senior roles in some of our departments.”
The university has since expanded the diversity hiring process by offering more than 50 percent of its hires the chance to be hired through an online application process.
In 2019, the first woman in the entire human resources program was hired.
Now, more than 20 percent of the employees at the human relations department are women.
Women make up just under 13 percent of university faculty and administrators, but they make up a staggering 67 percent of employees who are hired by the university.
As of this writing,