Improving Diversity Recruiting for Organizations

An important part of any Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategy is finding the right talent, and as part of that goal including diversity and inclusion recruitment best practices helps you cast your net wide and attract more qualified candidates.

Studies have shown that job seekers are willing to sacrifice over $1000 in annual salary to work in a more diverse environment, so making your workplace diverse and attractive to all candidates can not only help you in your talent search but it can make your workplace more diverse, which can help you recruit more effectively overall.

What Is Diversity Recruiting & Why Does It Matter in the Workplace?

Diversity recruiting is the practice of seeking out job candidates for your organization who reflect the diversity of your community. When your workplace reflects the diverse world around you, you have the benefit of hearing from a variety of perspectives and voices and can serve customers from different backgrounds more effectively. Being aware of diversity and inclusion recruitment best practices can help you build a more resilient, innovative business.

Diversity recruitment is still about finding the best talent for your open positions, but it aims to remove barriers that could be preventing some job applicants from applying. In some cases, this type of recruitment specifically aims to hire the best candidate who also fits a specific demographic. For example, a workplace with few women may seek a woman candidate for an open leadership role, specifically.

While many people think diversity hiring strategies focus on attracting people from different genders and races, diversity recruitment can also mean hiring with an eye towards diversity of education levels, experience, religious practices, sexual orientation, physical and cognitive health conditions, neurodiversity, socio-economic levels, mental health conditions, age, values, opinions, and other factors that make us all unique.

Why Is It Important to Have a Diversity Recruiting Strategy?

To put it simply: inclusion and diversity don’t usually happen by accident. If you’re not making diversity and inclusion recruitment best practices part of your candidate search, chances are you will attract and hire the same types of candidates that you have in the past. Your current recruitment strategy is finding a specific type of talent, based on your job descriptions, recruitment strategy, interview process, and employer brand. To attract new kinds of candidates, you may have to change these elements of hiring.

What Are Some Ways You Could Be Unintentionally Discouraging Diverse Recruitment?

If you’re wondering how to attract diverse talent, you may want to first consider how you might be pushing candidates away. Even with the best intentions, it may be possible you are discouraging some job applicants if:

  • You’re not considering diversity & inclusion. Diversity alone is not enough. To make your workplace attractive to candidates, you need to make your space & your recruitment strategy inclusive & welcoming to all workers.
  • You’re not considering hidden diversity. One of the challenges of diversity recruiting is that applicants may not feel comfortable revealing some parts of their identity during the recruitment or even the hiring process. You may not be able to tell whether someone was born in another country, for example, or lives with a chronic health condition. Sexual orientation is also not visible. You will want to create an inclusive culture & hiring process so these candidates, too, feel comfortable applying.
  • You’re not taking a measured approach. Metrics matter. It’s hard to evaluate your recruitment success unless you are gathering data about the current makeup of your team & applicants so you can compare your progress over time.
  • You’re not establishing goals. You might want to set diversity goals so you have something to aim for. For example, you might want to increase the number of Black applicants by 10%. Setting goals allows you to step back & consider what you are trying to accomplish, & often that starts by examining the current gaps on your team. Are there no women on your tech team? Does your leadership consist only of white professionals? Examine where you are & why you want to create change. This can help you set authentic, specific recruiting goals.

Change begins when you examine what you are doing in your recruitment and hiring process now. Where did these strategies come from? In some organizations, recruitment is ad hoc or based on best practices developed a few decades ago, and this can mean these processes need a refresh to reflect the changing community around you as well as current workplace needs.

How Can You Improve Your Diversity Recruiting Strategy?

Once you have addressed the possible barriers to recruitment at your organization and started gathering data and setting goals, you can get proactive about creating a diversity recruiting strategy. In addition to looking at examples of what other companies have done (see how The Drake Hotel addressed hiring, for example), there are a few best practices to consider:

Build an inclusive employer brand

You’ve probably thought a lot about your business brand, but what kind of impression do you make as an employer? Examine your online presence & reviews on Glassdoor & other websites.

Show your diversity

Studies show that 32% of job seekers would not apply for a job at an organization that was not diverse. Among Black & LGBTQ+ candidates, that figure is 41%. This can create a closed loop. The less diversity in your workplace, the less attractive your positions may be for the very candidates you want to hire because your workplace looks less inclusive. If you can’t show diversity in your current workplace, you can be transparent about your efforts to change or you can seek DEI certification to show your commitment.

Include diversity & inclusion at every stage of the recruitment process.

Is your hiring & interview committee diverse? If you’re working with recruiters, are you working with diversity & inclusion recruiters rather than traditional professionals? Are you looking past your network & deliberately posting on job boards or going to networking events that cater to a range of job seekers?

Carefully consider job descriptions

Question the assumptions in your job ads. Do you really need someone with an advanced degree, or are you looking for a team member with specific skills? Are you subtly making some candidates feel unwelcome by recruiting only at Ivy League colleges or in urban centers? Make sure you are hiring for competencies & not for factors that could be excluding some talent with the very skills you need.

Whether you choose to work with diversity and inclusion recruiters rather than traditional recruiters or take care of the hiring and talent-seeking process internally, inclusive recruitment strategies requires stepping back from the way you have always done things and adopting new best practices. It can also mean trying new job boards, college job fairs, recruiters, and solutions to meet new candidates.

Be more conscious about how you shortlist candidates

Research published in Harvard Business Review reveals that when only one candidate from an underrepresented group is included, their chances of selection are minimal. To counteract this, it’s important to build a diverse talent pool.

Reduce bias through technology

Tools like AI-driven analytics can identify patterns of unconscious bias, providing data-driven insights for improvement. For instance, Diversio’s platform offers comprehensive DEI analytics and customizable surveys, which can uncover biases and suggest tailored strategies. Hiring managers and HR leaders can have real-time insights into recruitment practices, helping them create fairer, more inclusive hiring processes.

How Can Diversio Help?

If you’re wondering how to source diverse talent, you should be aware of exactly where the DEI strengths and weaknesses in your organization lie. Diversio DEI Analytics Software allows you to gather DEI metrics and compare them against industry benchmarks to give you a picture that will guide you in your recruiting decisions, and also allow you to track your organization’s progress over time.

The DEI Analytics platform allows venture capital and finance industry companies to capture and analyze metrics across all your portfolio companies.

If you’re interested in DEI training, Diversio offers self-paced, online courses that can be accessed from anywhere.

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Diversio's DEI expert shares everything about diversity that you need to know.
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Head of EDI, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research

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