Many companies are increasing their focus on recruiting for diversity this year, but are perplexed on where to start. They frequently find that their pool of applicants is lacking in diversity, or they have a hard time attracting and keeping the interest of candidates that they want to target. Tweaking your hiring strategy for more diversity needs to start farther back than a job posting. To be successful, diversity and inclusion must become a priority in company culture, branding, and marketing materials, too. This article will outline employee recruitment strategies for recruiting for diversity, as well as tips for successfully building a foundation. It will discuss how to implement initiatives for improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Recruiting for Diversity: 6 Steps to Improve Company Culture
When companies make recruiting for diversity a priority, they should begin by looking inward, versus outward at job boards and LinkedIn. Employers won’t attract candidates who are people of color or LGBTQ if they don’t revamp their image and company culture for inclusivity. This may mean significant changes internally. Employers should:
- Revamp employee policies and employee handbooks. Ensure that intolerant language, jokes, and attitudes are not allowed. Employers should consider trainings if necessary and managers must actually manage to these new policies. Words will be empty and ineffective if they aren’t followed up by action.
- Create Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) committees and initiatives if they aren’t already in place. Find a committee that is enthusiastic about creating a more diverse workplace. Workplaces can support these committees by creating programs to embrace and celebrate the diversity that’s already in the team. (One idea: a floating holiday for workers to take on whatever cultural celebrations and festivals they observe that are not on the typical holiday calendar.) Employers can also ask these committees to help and advise with plans for recruiting for diversity.
- Discuss goals, perhaps with the entire team. Employers that want to make a more inclusive workplace will need to set concrete goals to get there. They can start by surveying their current diversity ratios, then projecting where they’d like to be in the next quarter, six months, or year. It will be helpful to get everyone’s support. Employers can share goals with all employees and ask for their feedback. Staff can also help contribute towards these goals by sharing job postings in their own networks. Importantly, employers should create systems to check in and hold their hiring teams accountable for meeting these diversity goals.
- Reevaluate the company website and web presence. Employers should look through everything with fresh eyes, or perhaps even ask an outside party to evaluate for them. The evaluator should ask a few key questions: is everyone that the organization shows on the website the same? Are they all the same age, race, or gender? In addition to the website, evaluators should consider any other place that the company has a web presence. That means LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and social media. If the employer has a diverse team, they can reach out and ask everyone if they’d like to be featured on the website. Workplaces should not single out or pressure people of color, LGBTQ+, differently abled staff, etc. If a workplace doesn’t have a more diverse team, one solution is to use stock photos that reflect the diversity they’d like to eventually have.
In addition to images, evaluators should look at text, including core values, mission statements, etc. Is there any mention of diversity and inclusion? Can it be added organically? If employers have a DEI committee, they may be able to help or give input in updating images and text. The rule of thumb is that if a candidate needs to scour an employer’s website, web presence, and marketing materials for any mention of a commitment to diversity, then they will probably lose interest.
- Consider who does candidate interviews. During the hiring process, are interviews only conducted by people of the same race, gender, age, sexual orientation, etc.? It’s a bad idea to insert somebody into the process simply because they represent some diversity. However, organizations that want to hire for a more inclusive workplace should think about what their interview panel says to candidates. If it’s possible to include a more diverse group of people, this will certainly help in DEI initiatives.
- Ensure that everyone who does candidate interviews can discuss your diversity and inclusion initiatives with confidence. This cannot just be left to one interviewer. It will make a far better impression on candidates if anybody they speak to can discuss the organization’s commitment to diversity. This is usually indicative of the fact that everyone buys into and supports DEI initiatives.
Recruiting for Diversity: 5 Tips for Candidate-Facing Processes
- Make game plans with the interviewing panel, HR, and hiring managers. Employers should ensure that everyone buys into efforts for recruiting for diversity. It would be ideal to get them up to speed on how the organization nurtures a more inclusive environment. They should also be educated on topics like unconscious bias, confirmation bias, and the halo effect. Hiring teams should discuss the idea of a “culture fit” versus a “culture add.” A culture fit is likely to be somebody who is similar to everyone else on the team. That’s fine, but a culture add is better. This may be somebody who complements the team, but has new perspectives and ideas. They can bring new ideas and innovation to the workplace, rather than just getting along with everyone. Employers should consider setting up ‘interview teams’ of two to help hiring managers keep each other accountable.
- Research. Workplaces can use websites like uszip.com, zipwho.com, the OES, and DataUSA to learn about underrepresented groups in the field they’d like to hire in. For instance, in most areas of the US, nurses are predominantly white and female. A hospital can increase diversity by finding out who else comprises the nursing field. Then, they can use the next step to make extra efforts to reach out to these groups.
- Make use of colleges and universities, as well as professional organizations and conferences for underrepresented groups. Employers can create partnerships with them if possible and share open roles. For example, with a simple google search, HR departments can find professional organizations for Black professionals in nursing. Or men in nursing. It’s also possible to find these groups on LinkedIn and connect with them there. Universities and colleges are great resource, too. Employers can find universities and colleges with a wider minority population and work with their career services department to share job listings. The last option is to look for speakers at conferences. HR departments can try searching for conferences for underrepresented groups in relevant fields. They can look up their programs and check out the speakers as potential resources for sharing their open job listings or referring candidates. They can also reach out to organizers of the conference and ask for their contact list to share open positions.
- Use verbiage in job postings to encourage a more diverse candidate pool. Employers can avoid using gendered words like ninja, rock star, or guru. They should use text that affirms their commitment to diversity and inclusion. Below are some examples:
[COMPANY NAME] is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. [COMPANY NAME] encourages all qualified candidates to apply, including those of any race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.
[COMPANY NAME] has committed to promoting racial, gender, economic, and LGBTQ+ justice in the workplace.
This position is a ‘Fair Chance’ job, and we encourage candidates with a criminal record to apply.
[COMPANY NAME] encourages candidates with ‘lived experience’ to apply.
- Prepare for questions about diversity that candidates frequently ask. As noted previously, ensure that all interviewers discuss these questions and are ready to answer them. Their answers should not be exactly the same, though. This will come off as disingenuous and rehearsed. Note that some candidates will ask these questions directly, and others will ask them in a more indirect way.
- What are the company’s practices concerning diversity and inclusion?
- What is the executive/management team’s diversity makeup?
- How many diverse candidates have you hired within the last year?
- Why is diversity and inclusion a concern, or not a concern, for your company?
- What are the expectations of leadership around diversity and inclusion?
- How have diversity and inclusion impacted the bottom line?
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