Let's say that I've attended all the talks, I've read all the research, and I've concluded that what's best for my team and my company is to increase the amount of diversity in my software engineering team. So, I already want to hire more people of color, more women, etc.
The frustration I've had—especially on small teams in the midwest—is how to actually do that? Let's say after a typical round of interviews, I've talked to 10 candidates. 8 of them are white men, 1 is a white woman, and 1 is a black woman. Let's assume they were all reasonably good in the interview.
It seems like as a member of the interview loop, I have the following choices available to me:
Tell my boss, truthfully, "we have no people of color and no women, this is the best person to hire based just on her gender and race".
Tell my boss, truthfully, "this candidate, who by happenstance is a black woman, also did the absolute best in the interview".
Tell my boss, lying, "this candidate, who by happenstance is a black woman, did the absolute best in the interview". (Clearly unethical.)
Is my dilemma a real thing, or am I just making stuff up here?
I'm not sure Option 1 is even legal, let alone good HR practice.
Option 2 is ideal, but by definition, if 90% of your candidates are white dudes, then the chances of a more diverse candidate being "the best" in the interview is ~10% (and that's before you account for the unconscious biases of the all-white all-male interview panel).
Option 3 is a path towards the goal of a more diverse team, but isn't a viable option.
EDIT: I should have mentioned that I am coming from a United States background, so I took it as simply a given that you cannot hire someone based on protected status (so, neither Option 1 nor Option 3 were intended to look like real options here).
As one of the answerers correctly identified, Option 3 is a stand-in for what I feel is a frustrating "wink wink nod" aspect to conversations about team diversity. "We're going to be focused on team diversity this year", a colleague might say - what exactly does that mean, and how will it affect your next interview?
Luckily for me, moving from the midwest to the coast has made this question a non-issue right now, but I expect I will run into it again. Hopefully some of the answers below are helpful for others with similar questions.