There’s a not-so-secret strategy to leading a successful organization: hire a diverse workforce. McKinsey found that diverse companies are more likely to financially outperform their peers, with gender diversity giving you a 25% advantage and ethnicity a 36% advantage. Diverse teams are more knowledgeable, perform better and achieve more.
But it’s not something that just happens. A concerted effort to increase diversity in recruitment must be made, which starts with taking a close look at every step of the recruitment process. From how you find candidates to how you market your company to that initial screening call all the way to how you present an offer. To help set your team up for success, here are a few tips on how to recruit diverse candidates.
1. Examine Your Company Culture
Before you begin a diversity recruitment strategy, it’s important to evaluate your current company culture. You don’t want all your hard work creating an inclusive recruitment process to be for nothing if you don’t have an inclusive work environment. Candidates pay attention to company reputations, and you’ll have a difficult time attracting diverse talent if you aren’t known to be an inclusive organization.
There are many aspects to consider but start by conducting a PULSE survey to get a read on employee sentiment and discover potential areas of improvement. Also address any negative reviews left on Glassdoor or similar sites, especially reviews that talk about a toxic work environment. Look at hiring and attrition data—who historically is leaving most often? Do you have any Employee Resource Groups? Do you celebrate diverse holidays? Do you showcase diversity on your website or in advertisements?
Part of managing your company brand is making sure potential candidates know about your inclusive culture. Incorporate diversity priorities into a mission statement and develop an employer brand that showcases you value diversity.
2. Who Are Considered Diversity Candidates?
Diversity recruitment means more than just considering race and gender. To be a truly inclusive organization, you need to try and think about all categories of diversity and those that bring a unique perspective to work. This isn’t an all-encompassing list, but some types of diversity in the workplace include:
- Neurodiverse individuals
- Family and upbringing
- Cognitive disabilities
- Cultural background
- National origin
- Education status
3. Review Job Requirements
Take a good look at what requirements you list for a job. Are they necessary to complete the work or are they “just what we’ve always said” about the role? It’s easy for stereotypes to creep in and a job description can be fraught with unconscious bias. For instance, using language such as “always on” or “devoted” can dissuade those who are skilled enough to do the job but aren’t able to commit to a 24/7 environment.
Don’t assign gender to any role. Instead of using “salesman” use “sales representative.” Data also shows women respond less to job postings written in the third person (it’s not very personal). So instead of saying “the ideal candidate will…” try using “we” and “you” throughout the description. (We grow together and your colleagues support…)
Also consider if the job needs to be fulltime or would part-time work just as well? If it needs to be a fulltime position, would you allow job sharing? And eliminate GPA requirements. Studies show that and individuals grade point average is rarely correlated to performance.
4. Improve Your Candidate Pipeline
We’re creatures of habit, so utilizing the same resources to recruit candidates is understandable. But to reach a different audience, you need to implement different tactics. Don’t assume they’ll see the job opening on your normal go-to sites. Post on less traditional job boards and colleges for underrepresented students. Promote your company and highlight its’ inclusive culture by attending conferences or host events for underrepresented groups.
Another thing to consider is offering paid internships. Most people can’t afford to work for free. Historically, interns help feed the pipeline of a company’s recruitment requirements, but if you only offer non-paid opportunities, that limits the pool from which you can hire.
5. Evaluate Your Interview Process
People gravitate toward others who look like them, so you must be intentional and have a plan to give candidates a level playing field. Start by building a structured interview process to ensure hiring isn’t based on anyone’s gut feeling. Make sure there’s well-defined questions so every candidate can be assessed on the same criteria.
Also consider expanding the hours you’re willing to interview candidates to include evenings and weekends. Some potential hires are working or in school (or both!) and can’t meet with you during traditional business hours.
6. An Offer They Can’t Refuse
When extending an offer for employment, it’s important to make sure your compensation is competitive—which can be about more than just money. Outline the vacation/paid time off policy and career advancement potential. Highlight all your benefits (tuition reimbursement, onsite daycare, retirement portfolio, etc.) because you never know what might appeal to someone. Be enthusiastic when describing how your candidate will be a great culture add and help contribute to company goals.
Try to help overcome common obstacles a new hire might encounter when considering your organization. For instance, offer relocation, car or wardrobe stipends. They level the playing field for people of all socioeconomic statuses.
If you can be comfortable with the uncomfortable, it probably means you’re on the right track. Rethink the way you think about diversity and your organization will be the better for it.
For more free resources and tools that promote DE&I best practices in the workplace, visit Perspectives+. It’s Paycor’s online knowledge library designed to help our partner network drive change, empower colleagues, and foster new leaders.