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Creating a Diversity Recruiting Strategy

Diversity Hiring BlogNow, more than ever, it’s crucial for companies to implement a diversity recruiting strategy when hiring new employees. In addition to being the right thing to do, diverse teams are proven to increase performance, innovation, and productivity for businesses.  

The results speak for themselves: 

  • Highly inclusive companies see 1.4 times more revenue
  • Inclusive companies are 1.7 times more innovative
  • Inclusive company cultures result in millennials being more engaged with their work

But with so many companies across the country focusing on similar initiatives, creating an effective diversity recruiting strategy isn’t exactly an easy task. There is a lot you could be doing, but the key is to identify the low hanging fruit you can start to pick-off now to improve your processes and begin to instill change in your organization. 

With that said, here are some suggestions on how to create or improve your diversity recruiting strategy throughout the hiring cycle: 


Create an Inclusive Environment 

If you’re working to build a more diverse workforce, it’s important that your company is willing to embrace it. Discuss the benefits of diversity with your team, get their buy-in and instill those values into your company culture.  Consider committees such as D&I champions, employee resource groups or communities of practice to bring people together and give your employees a voice within the organization.  Diverse candidates will seek out companies who truly value their ideals.


Write Inclusive Job Descriptions 

This is easy to execute, yet often overlooked, because many companies simply rehash old job postings. The language in your job descriptions may contain subtle biases which can cause some candidates to not apply. If this is the case, you need to find ways to be more inclusive to appeal to candidates from different backgrounds. 

Here are six ways to create inclusive job descriptions from Hire Vue: 

  • Use gender neutral language (they will, they should)
  • Begin points with an action verb (distribute, produce, manage, develop)
  • Separate minimum prerequisites from preferred prerequisites
  • Use clear and simple language, such as “deliver project reports to managers”
  • Consider broad demographic appeal when writing benefits
  • Assess a posting for inclusive language  

Target More Diverse Sources 

 Again, sounds easy enough, yet recruiters often fall into the trap of relying on the same sources day after day. While the major job boards make it easy to search for candidates based on education, experience and skillset, the results may still yield a very homogenous group of candidates. 

It’s important to get out of your comfort zone now and again. While it may be harder to source through associations, online groups and networking events, you’re guaranteed to build a more diverse pipeline of candidates. 

Leverage your Current Employees 

If you are looking to add diversity to your organization, try reaching out to employees already on your team. It’s very likely that they will have connections to people with similar backgrounds. Encourage them to share your jobs with their networks and give them the tools they need to help promote the company. In turn, they will take pride that the organization values their presence and contributions, which is fantastic for team morale and culture.


Utilize AI to Review Resumes 

One way to remove bias from your resume screening process is to leverage artificial intelligence technology through your ATS. Program your platform to flag and filter for specific skills and experience and let the AI technology identify the best results. This will provide you with a completely impartial shortlist, free from any manual bias. 

If you don’t have access to such technology, consider blacking out the applicant’s name and any relatable pronouns from their resume before you circulate it for review. Likewise, removing addresses can ward off discrimination based on socioeconomic background. 


Attempt Blind Interviews 

Many organizations have begun to experiment with blind interviews, which use the same principle as blacking out resumes to reduce unconscious bias. Rather than an initial phone call or face-to-face meeting, this method involves sending your candidates a list of questions to answer through email or your preferred ATS platform.  When it’s time to review, you simply develop a system to remove/ ignore the candidate’s personal information and focus solely on their answers—giving each applicant an equal opportunity to state their case for the job.

Ask the Same Questions 

This is obviously a big part of the success of blind interviews—it allows each candidate to be judged against one another based on their answers to a standard set of questions.  But it’s also important to ask the same set of questions during in-person interviews to ensure you have a common information from each candidate to evaluate.   

Too often, the person conducting the interview can get side-tracked by something they have in common with the candidate (We went to the same school, We grew up in the same town). Without even realizing it, they chat for an hour and recommend the candidate be moved to the next stage of the process without collecting any solid information about their capabilities.   


Seed your Shortlist 

It’s been proven that diverse candidates are far less likely to be hired when they are the only ones from their demographic represented on the final shortlist. To combat this decision bias, you can use a diversity recruitment strategy called the “two in the pool effect.” 

The premise maintains that having multiple people from the same minority demographic in your hiring pool drastically increases the likelihood that one of them will be chosen. Seeding your shortlist with a proportionate number of diverse candidates, therefore, will result in a more even playing field when it comes to choosing which one to hire. 

Of course, you’ll only want to seed your shortlist with candidates who are truly qualified. After all, diversity recruiting is still about hiring the best person, regardless of their background. 


Establish Tracking Metrics  

At some point, you’re going to stop and say “Is all this really making a difference?”  Well here are some metrics from Rakuna to help you measure success: 

  • Percentage of diverse candidates at each recruiting stage 
  • Percentage of minorities at different levels in your firm 
  • Employee satisfaction score in terms of D&I 
  • Retention rate among minority employee groups 
  • Awards/ recognitions from special interest and advocacy groups for your D&I efforts


Align with a Recruitment Partner 

If you’ve read all the above and thought “How are we ever going to accomplish all of this, we already have so much to do,” then maybe you can use our help. 

Onward Search has a decade of experience finding candidates of all backgrounds for positions with the best companies in the country. But we must point out, while we utilize many of the techniques above during the recruiting process to find you a diverse mix of amazing talent, we are an equal opportunity employer and will always present you with the best candidate for your position regardless of race, sex or ethnicity.  



Please contact our team today to help find more talented people for your organization. 

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