6 Tips to Improve Your Diversity Recruiting Strategy

Many recruiters and hiring managers understand that diversifying their talent pipeline is nothing but crucial. This notion is based on a variety of benefits. In the short term, a diversified talent pipeline brings new and innovative talent to the table. In the long-term, a diverse hiring pipeline can completely reshape your company culture for the better, and alludes to your organizations’ commitment to diversity that also reflects well on your employer brand. This leads to increased retention, lower time-to-hire, and reduced recruitment costs.

Additionally, the manifestation of workforce DE&I are important to job seekers and employees alike. The majority of today’s job seekers seriously examine a company’s commitment to diversity when evaluating a job offer, while employees view DE&I efforts towards recruiting underrepresented talent as an act of corporate responsibility, and would be more inclined to refer colleagues to a job internally when requested. 

At the same time, many recruiting teams struggle to source, attract and recruit diverse talent due to common mistakes made during the recruiting process, such as exclusionary job descriptions and unconscious biases. Underrepresented talent is indeed out there, you just have to learn to expand your recruitment practices to reach the right audience. Here are some tips for creating a strong diversity recruitment strategy. 

Check Your Unconscious Biases 

Did you know that it takes only 27 seconds for the human brain to form an opinion on a new person? While our brains are programmed to make split-second decisions and judgments, it doesn’t work well when it comes to recruiting and hiring. Biases, conscious and unconscious, can have a huge impact on hiring decisions and lead to a severe lack of diversity. 

This is why you need to check your organizational bias. First, make sure everyone on your team, from leadership to hiring managers at all levels, undergoes unconscious bias training. Bring in a third party or conduct it in-house, and guide your recruiting team to recognize bias for what it is. Companies must ensure that their hiring practices aren’t counterproductive to their extensive diversity recruiting efforts. 

Keep in mind that unconscious bias training is not a catch-all solution for all your DE&I concerns. However, it’s important to keep in mind that training is only effective when there are strong company policies and an inclusive culture supporting them. 

‍Write Inclusive Job Descriptions

Research shows that men and women interpret the language in job descriptions differently. When Buffer, a social media management suite, discovered that only 2 percent of their developer applicants were women, they wanted to know why. The answer? 

Because of one single word in the job description: hackers. 

Female candidates did not identify with the moniker in the way that male candidates did, and it deterred them from applying for the position. Even something as minor as a single word can turn candidates away from your job post. In order to strengthen your diversity recruitment efforts, you’ll need to rewrite your job descriptions so that they appeal to the broadest possible audience.

Words like “rock star” “ninja” and “outspoken” are typically associated with men and will turn away women. This further exacerbates the current inequalities in the workforce. Additionally, LGBTQIA+ candidates and women are often turned off by gender-specific terms such as “he/she.” Some research indicates that more people are willing to respond to job posts that are written in second person; Phrases such as “you are” or “you will” help candidates envision themselves in the role. 

Design an Equitable Hiring Process

Remember that candidates are people whose time and effort deserves to be respected. Come prepared for the initial screening. Review their resume ahead of time so you have an idea of their skills, experience, and previous accomplishments. Candidates use their interview and hiring experience to determine if they would enjoy working with your organization. Be sure to make their experience a positive one whether or not they get the position. 

When moving forward into the interview process, consider implementing structured interviews. These help reduce bias by giving each candidate the same set of questions. This ensures equitable treatment and gives everyone the same chance to shine. In the world of diversity recruiting, consistency is key. It is vital to give every applicant the same consideration, attention, and opportunities. 

By demonstrating equal respect and consideration for all applicants, you show them that your business strives to create an equitable environment for all their employees. Put your best foot forward and design a hiring process that gives each candidate a fair shake. 

Enhance Your Employer Brand

You’d be surprised, but job seekers talk to each other more than ever. Assessment tools and websites such as Glassdoor enable job hunters to rate your company and provide insights into the recruiting process. If you want to improve your diversity recruiting strategy, you must evaluate and enhance your employer brand.

Think about this: what message are you sending to candidates? Is your branding inclusive? Do candidates see themselves represented within your organization? Your reputation matters, especially to candidates. In fact, 86 percent of women and 67 percent of men said they would turn down an offer from an organization with a negative reputation. This can be costly: a company with a bad reputation as an employer spends 10 percent more per hire. 

Underrepresented candidates are especially sensitive to a company’s reputation. If your organization garners notoriety for being a bad workplace place for women, PoC, or LGBTQ+ employees to work in, you’ll have a much harder time finding candidates who are willing to join the organization. Look at your reviews on job sites and get a feel for the current state of your employer brand.

By making your branding more inclusive, you can signal to potential employees that your organization is a safe environment and a workplace where they will be valued. Consider adjusting your language, visuals, and website accessibility in order to demonstrate your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. You might need to join forces with your employer brand manager, and it is worth the effort!

Tap into Diverse Sources 

Research by a professor at the University of Colorado has shown that when half a candidate pool is nonwhite or female, the hiring committee has a 50-50 chance of choosing one of those applicants. 

When only one person in the finalist pool is nonwhite or female, that person is never chosen. ‍

The most important and crucial diversity recruiting tip anyone can offer is to seek diverse sources of talent. The makeup of your candidate pool has a direct impact on the potential for increasing representation of underrepresented groups. There are a number of ways companies can diversify their sourcing methods. For example, professional associations and Greek organizations can be excellent sources of talent. Some examples include:  

  • Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM)
  • National Association of African-American in Human Resources (NAAAHR)
  • National Association for Female Executives (NAFE)
  • Asian American Business Development Center (AABDC) 

These groups are typically industry-focused and highly specialized, allowing you to tap into the skills you need while also expanding your network of potential candidates.

Companies can also diversify where they search for candidates. Diversity recruiting solutions provide easy access to applicants from underrepresented groups.

Set and Track Key Metrics 

A good diversity recruiting strategy relies on an organization’s ability to track and measure their progress. Decide how your company wants to approach diversity recruitment. First, take a look at your current employee demographics and decide where you want to improve. Define key performance indicators, divvy up responsibilities, and decide how your business will measure success. 

Whatever your goals, be sure to establish a timeline and clear expectations. If your organization isn’t hitting the benchmarks you set, it’s time to review and find out what went wrong: Is your retention low? Are candidates uninterested in your company? Has management’s composition remained largely unchanged? Digging deeper into the problem using measurable metrics could reveal trends that at first glance went unnoticed. 

Consistency and transparency are key. By tracking and reporting your diversity recruiting KPIs, you show your staff and candidates that you have a real and actionable commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 

The Most Important Diversity Recruiting Tip: Don’t Give Up!

Great talent is everywhere and comes from all walks of life. You just have to connect with them. Don’t get frustrated if your current strategy isn’t working. Step back, readjust, and consider a new approach. If you keep these tips in mind, your organization will build a solid foundation for a strong diversity recruiting strategy. 

Ilit Raz is the co-founder and CEO of Joonko, a tech company that helps companies meet their DE&I targets.