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In this post
Why do businesses need a diversity recruiting strategy?
How to improve your diversity recruiting strategy
Final thoughts: Be authentic and realistic about your diversity recruiting strategy
It is not surprising that companies all over the world are focused on developing diversity recruitment strategies. Diversification of talent pools is a noble goal for businesses and a rewarding one for individuals. Building teams with skilled candidates, regardless of gender, heritage, race, religion, or sexual orientation, is long overdue, and it is one step toward real equality in the workplace.
In this article, we will explore how you can move the dial on your own diversity recruiting strategy and potential tools to enable your strategy. First, let's discuss why diversity recruitment is important and the positive impact it has on organizations of all sizes.
A diversity recruiting strategy adds intention and processes to your overall diversity goals. Without a plan, you may find your organization frequently talking about increasing diversity, without taking any actual steps forward. In speaking with leadership, be sure to relay the tangible and long-term advantages of putting a diversity recruiting plan in place.
A thoughtful diversity recruiting strategy leads to:
Deeper and wider talent pools. By encouraging more people from underrepresented groups to apply, you’ll have more qualified candidates to start with and more options later in the hiring process.
More interest from candidates who align with your values. 86% of job seekers believe that a company’s approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is an important factor when considering an employer.
Inclusivity builds trust. When individuals – even before they join your team – feel comfortable being their authentic selves, they are more likely to feel valued and less likely to leave.
Teams that are better at problem-solving and innovating in ways that drive revenue. Individuals from different backgrounds bring new ideas and more opportunities for collaboration.
A better understanding of your customers. When your workforce represents the real experiences and concerns of your audiences, you can create processes and products to match.
Job descriptions, job postings, and your career page are often the first things a prospect sees about your company. First impressions matter; if you want to let them know DE&I is essential to your organization, it starts by having inclusive job descriptions.
Review your JDs, job listings, and career page for gendered words and language that could discourage certain groups from applying. Use straightforward language that isn’t open to interpretation (like go-getter or rockstar) and doesn’t make assumptions about the reader (for instance, using he/him pronouns). You want to ensure that every qualified candidate understands the requirements and responsibilities of the role without having to read between the lines.
Sourcing for diversity is a nuanced process, and can be a challenging one: 38% of recruiters say finding diverse candidates to interview is the biggest barrier to improving diversity. To do it at scale, you need to be able to set search parameters that allow for a wide range of qualifications and experiences. Think about the criteria you have – is there anything that is would lead to a homogenous pipeline?
A few examples:
Only sourcing talent with degrees from certain universities excludes all prospects without a formal degree. Additionally, you’re dependent on the demographic makeup of those universities – if they aren’t diverse, your results won’t be either.
Including a maximum number of years of experience may inadvertently filter out older professionals.
Searching for candidates without gaps in their employment history will seriously restrict your pipeline. Consider that you’re leaving out anyone who has had to take time off to care for their family, for physical or mental health reasons, or to continue their education.
Tools to consider: In Fetcher, you can create nuanced searches that reflect your DE&I initiatives, and then let our platform deliver top diverse talent to your inbox.
Reaching diverse candidates at scale can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Build email templates and sequences that use inclusive language and encourage underrepresented prospects to learn more. Rather than the generic “[Company] is an equal opportunity employer,” boilerplate statement, include a strong message that’s unique to your organization.
For instance, “[Company] encourages candidates from different backgrounds and identities to apply. Even if you think you don’t think you have all the qualifications listed, we’d love for you to apply.” Check out more inspiration for your diversity statements.
Communicate your DE&I commitment by showcasing your diversity initiatives and your company culture. This could include individual or group achievements, fundraisers or mission-driven projects, or links to videos of current team members sharing their experiences. Asking for referrals in emails is another way to expand your talent pool of diverse candidates.
Minimizing bias starts with recognizing where unconscious bias exists. Have interviewers take an implicit bias test to get a baseline and understand their blind spots. Then, provide interview training and conduct feedback sessions regularly to ensure your team stays fresh and focused.
Interviewing gives you another chance to highlight your diversity by involving multiple team members from different teams and backgrounds. Make sure questions are standardized across candidates and that each member of your hiring process understands what the criteria are for a successful candidate.
When used effectively, candidate assessments (like skill tests or work samples) help to minimize human bias by taking subjectivity out of the equation. When decisions are made purely on feelings, bias can creep in.
For example, certain candidates may come across as very confident in an interview and “win over” your team. Others may be more reserved or less comfortable talking about themselves – but assessments level the playing field to help you determine who truly has the skills and traits necessary for the role. Learn more about the different types of assessments to determine which are right for your open roles.
For some, diversity remains an abstract concept, rather than a practical part of everyday business. By offering diversity training, your team will learn about the different forms of diversity, the types of bias to look out for, and ways they can take a more inclusive approach to their work.
Diversity training is not just for members of the hiring team; make it part of your onboarding processes and regularly offer opportunities for continued learning for DE&I. Be sure to mention this to candidates during the recruiting process too - 37% of employers say that candidates expect to hear about a company DE&I initiatives!
No one (and no company) is perfect; so be honest with prospects about where your organization still has work to do on the DE&I front. Talk about the steps you are taking to address those weaker areas. Being action-oriented will also signal to candidates that you are dedicated to walking the walk in terms of diversity, as opposed to making empty gestures. In the end, you’ll build more trust through transparency and open dialogue.
A holistic approach to diversity recruiting means involving everyone, at each step during the hiring process. That also includes asking for feedback from candidates and current employees, to understand their experiences and look for ways to better them. Reducing hiring bias and increasing diversity won’t happen overnight, but by tracking your progress with meaningful metrics, you can make progress toward creating a recruiting framework that is welcoming and fair for all candidates.
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