Today, most leading organizations recognize that there are enormous disparities in gender, ethnic and racial diversity among workers at all levels. And although the corporate world has come a long way in making progress on correcting these inequities, research shows that many businesses still struggle to implement diversity recruitment practices that actually work.
Instead of looking for a quick fix or temporary solution, companies with successful diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives typically revisit their recruitment practices periodically to ensure that all processes are evolving with the changing needs of the business. While it’s true that recruitment is only one small part of a greater DEI strategy, it serves a critical function and should be prioritized.
To help get you started, we’ve outlined several high-impact strategies to take into consideration when evaluating your current diversity recruitment plan.
What is diversity recruiting?
Diversity recruiting is the process of intentionally seeking out job candidates who represent many different sociocultural backgrounds and identities. This also means taking steps to make the recruiting, hiring and promoting processes more equitable and fair by removing or mitigating the effects of unconscious bias or other systemic barriers.
Diversity recruiting also means sourcing and hiring employees of differing intellectual and physical abilities, genders, sexual orientations, religions, class backgrounds, nationalities and social standings.
Explore more DEI resources: Taking action on workplace diversity starts at the top. Download this free diversity presentation template to arm your executive team with all the information necessary to move the needle on DEI.
Diversity recruiting strategies
As previously mentioned, diversity recruiting actions and policies should constantly be evolving as new information is gathered. Once you have finalized a strategy for how you’re going to address diversity as part of your greater recruitment plan, it’s important that you continue to monitor the progress of your initiatives and make adjustments where necessary. The strategies highlighted below should be expected to grow and change to meet the needs of the business as well as your employee base. Let’s get started.
Maximize talent searches in your recruiting program
When it comes to sourcing candidates, top talent representing diverse identities and backgrounds can be found on any major recruiting website. However, other employers competing for these candidates are likely searching on all the same job boards as you are. To get ahead of the curve, you have to get more creative.
To maximize your search on job boards, look for users who belong to specific diversity-oriented groups or are a part of diverse organizations. For example, you could look for alumni of historically black colleges or universities (HBCUs) or diverse fraternities or sororities.
Nurture your pipeline of diverse candidates
An effective hiring practice that promotes diversity is through an ongoing nurture program. Your database of job candidates is an often untapped pool of potential that you can continuously re-engage and push through your recruiting funnel. Try up-leveling your recruitment nurture by:
- Segmenting high potential candidates and targeting them with communications that highlight growth and advancement opportunities
- Reaching out to candidates that previously made it to the late stages of interviews with new positions
- Leveraging recruitment marketing channels to promote your employer brand to stay top-of-mind with candidates
Leverage specialized job boards
Although your primary method of sourcing candidates may rely on the most popular recruitment boards, there are a number of smaller job boards that have popped up over the years that are specifically designed to connect employers with diverse candidates.
Here are a few noteworthy examples:
- AbilityLinks: This is a job board that connects employers to a wide pool of highly skilled candidates with disabilities. Using the site, you can post jobs, search resumes and schedule interviews.
- 70 Million Jobs: This job board allows you to find job candidates with criminal records who are ready to re-enter the workforce.
- Inroads: This organization works to develop underserved youth by connecting them to leadership development opportunities and internships at top companies in the United States.
- Female Executive Search: Only 6 percent of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs. Female Executive Search is working to change that statistic by allowing employers to search specifically for C-suite level candidates who are exclusively women.
- Out & Equal: This job board allows employers to build a company profile and recruit highly-skilled candidates who identify as LGBTQ+.
Re-evaluate current interviewing practices
Interviewing is a critical part of the recruiting process, but it can also be extremely biased. You may already have a robust, formalized interview process in place but similar to other practices mentioned in this article, it’s critical to revisit this periodically to ensure it’s still effective.
Here are some questions to consider when evaluating your current interview practices:
- Do the interviewers represent a variety of diverse backgrounds?
- If you expect to recruit diverse candidates, you should also ensure that your interview panels include team members from diverse backgrounds.
- Are the interviewers aware of the types of biases that exist?
- Host a workshop to educate your hiring team on possible biases that may come up in the interviewing process.
- Are the interview questions structured in a way that eliminates or mitigates bias?
- Standardize the interview process so that every candidate gets asked the same questions. This ensures that there are no inconsistencies and each candidate is evaluated based on the same set of criteria.
Attract talent with these diversity hiring best practices
Recruiting for diversity is important, but recruiting alone won’t be enough to beat out competing employers for top diverse talent. Here are a few ways to go beyond recruiting and attract diverse candidates to your organization.
- Highlight diversity in your job descriptions
Take it a step further than the generic “equal opportunity employer” statement. Job descriptions should include a statement on what your company is all about, and you can take a paragraph or two to describe your current DEI initiatives.
- Offer equitable benefits and perks
Standard benefits should be available to all of your employees. Consider offering equal parental leave for both mothers and fathers and include same-sex couples in your spousal benefits policies.
- Offer accessible learning and education programs
Provide underserved employees life-changing access to quality education by implementing a comprehensive workforce education program within your organization. With this approach, all employees — regardless of background or level of education — are able to take advantage of the program to earn degrees, credentials or certifications from academic institutions that may have been previously out of reach. Better yet, they can partake on their own terms, while continuing to grow with your organization.
- Create an employer brand that is rooted in diversity, equity and inclusion
Be an employer of choice by making DEI one of the top priorities at your organization. When you implement a high-impact DEI initiative, such as an accessible workforce education program, you’re making it known to prospective and current employees that advancing diversity in the workplace is central to your company values.
It’s never too late to re-evaluate how you’re thinking about diversity, equity and inclusion as part of your greater talent acquisition strategy. With this resource, you’re armed with all the information you need to re-strategize and solidify what processes will work best to serve your greater DEI goals.
Read more: Recruiting diverse talent is only one piece of a much larger puzzle. Discover how to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace to ensure your work environment is suitable for both current and prospective employees.