How to Develop a Diverse Recruiting Strategy
This article is part of a larger series on Hiring.
A diverse recruiting strategy is built around the active recruiting of a wide variety of candidates from different backgrounds and experiences. Businesses ultimately hire from that pool of candidates to create a diverse workforce, which translates to a business that allows for more innovation, creativity, and a better understanding of customer needs.
We’ve outlined steps to help you craft a diverse recruiting strategy that touches every aspect of your hiring process, from your employer brand to interviewing to new hire onboarding.
Step 1 – Ensure Your Company Brand Mirrors Diversity
It is important that your company and employer brand reflects diversity. A statement on how diversity in the workforce is important to your business and makes your team successful should be accessible on your website.
When creating a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) statement, be sure to focus on how your company is inclusive and promotes workplace diversity. This may include statements about how your company promotes the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical and mental abilities, cultural aspects, national heritage, religious beliefs, political beliefs, and other ideologies and associations. We recommend, however, to keep this statement generic so as not to include bias.
Meanwhile, diversity in your company mission statement and core values should represent everyone that works for the company, not just those in a diverse category. This is important because it shows that the company values all and wants to include them in its success. Do, however, include diversity in your mission statement and core values as it can help increase the number of people who apply to work for your company, which will make it more likely that you will find the best employees.
Did You Know?
Half (50%) of employees want their company to focus more on promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Step 2 – Use Inclusive Language in Hiring Communications
Employers can show they are open to hiring a diverse range of applicants and creating a more inclusive workplace through inclusive language. This means using words and phrases that avoid bias, local colloquialisms (such as slang), and expressive language that discriminates against certain groups of people.
It’s more than just stating that your company prevents discrimination in the workplace—when communications are written in a way that is inclusive of all, it sends a message that the company respects the individual experiences of existing and potential employees. Your recruitment, hiring, and initial onboarding practices set the tone for the entire hiring team—making a strong defense against discrimination and highlighting inclusivity as essential for collective, organizational success.
Diverse language in a job description allows more opportunities for people from all walks of life. To make your job descriptions more diverse, you can use specific phrases such as:
- Diverse backgrounds
Through non-stereotypical language, you can create more accessible and appealing job descriptions that are more likely to attract individuals from underrepresented groups.
Mentioning diversity within your job ads, in a way that is meaningful to your organization, is essential to telling the story of your workplace, what it values, and how it operates.
When preparing your job postings, be sure to include language that encourages people from all backgrounds to apply. Not only does it reflect well on the company, but it also attracts qualified candidates that can bring a variety of perspectives to the table.
For example, TechnologyAdvice uses the following language on all job ads:
We believe that our differences make us stronger, and thus foster a diverse and inclusive culture where people feel safe being themselves. TechnologyAdvice is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected under federal, state, or local law.
Step 3 – Post to Diverse Job Boards
Part of advertising your job openings involves where you post your recruitment ads. Traditional job boards, like Indeed, LinkedIn, and ZipRecruiter are all really good recruitment vehicles to use. However, if you are focused on building a diverse workplace, you have to include culture-, gender-, and at times race-specific resources to put your opportunities in front of the audience that you are attempting to court. Consider posting on boards like those listed below, which can be found in our guide to diversity job boards.
- HotJobs.vet: Caters directly to military veterans in transition
- RecruitDisability: Will help you find talented workers among people with disabilities
- DiversityJobs: Has a talent pool of minorities, females, veterans, and people with disabilities
- HBCU Connect: Specializes in job ads for students and alumni of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU)
Did You Know?
According to an HR Research Institute survey, only 55% of respondents felt their company culture had become more inclusive over the past two years.
Step 4 – Practice Blind Resume Reviewing
Biases are not always explicit or intentional—many are subconscious. Therefore, we recommend the practice of blind resume screening. This involves limiting identifying factors about the candidate (including their name, college or university name, graduating year, or photos).
This practice can be easily accomplished by blacking out any identity-specific information on the resume, CV, and cover letter. If the interviewing process moves through HR to your hiring supervisor, then this stage can be managed by the HR team. Once blinded, the resume would pass to the supervisor who views only skills, experience, and overall fit for the job.
Artificial intelligence (AI) technology used in applicant tracking systems (ATS) can help you sort through resumes, providing potential candidates based on skills, experience, and education only.
Step 5 – Standardize Your Interview Questions
Standardizing interview questions for diversity is important to avoid potential discrimination. By having a set of questions that are common across different interviews, companies can ensure that they are asking all candidates the same questions while avoiding potentially discriminating topics.
When interviewing candidates, it is important to ask questions related only to the job seeker’s skills and experience. Additionally, there are questions that you should avoid asking, especially illegal interview questions—those that are related to age, race, and gender.
If you are performing pre-employment assessments for candidates during the interview process, be sure you utilize the same testing for all candidates that apply to a particular position. All candidates for a job class should be tested utilizing an appropriate tool for the job that they are being considered for (e.g., a math or basic accounting principles test for finance-related positions or a Microsoft Office test such as Excel for administrative positions).
For more on using diverse hiring strategies, visit our article on diversity hiring.
Step 6 – Inject Diversity Into Your Onboarding Program
Once you have hired your new team member, your onboarding process needs to start with the full welcome of your organization, which should include the mission or core beliefs of the organization. Remind your new hires immediately that your company comprises diverse and dynamic team members, which is the key to the organization’s success.
One way to successfully make this important impression is for HR and senior leadership to spend time with new employees. They should address how diversity within teams, departments, leadership, and locations (if your company has multiple sites) is cultivated to balance the workforce and bring the best, most creative diversity recruiting ideas and concepts to the table for consideration.
However, be sure that your diversity is genuine. If your attempt at creating a diverse work team and brand are only for surface or disingenuous reasons, don’t bother. Once employees and customers realize you are not sincere they are likely to leave the company.
Did You Know?
Businesses are 2.6x more likely to retain their workforce if they employ strong diversity measures.
Why Diverse Recruitment Strategies Are Important
Businesses that employ a diverse workforce are more likely to be successful in the future. By implementing diversity recruiting best practices, companies can benefit from the following:
- Attracting and hiring individuals with unique perspectives and experiences
- Being better equipped to address varied customer needs and challenges
- Being able to tap into new markets and grow their customer base
- Reducing workplace incidents and lawsuits
- Encouraging collaboration and productivity
- Fostering an inclusive environment for employees
Studies have shown that a diverse workforce can lead to better decision making, increased innovation, and improved customer service.
Consider these diversity statistics as you determine how to promote employee diversity in your recruiting process.
A diverse recruiting strategy is important for an organization’s success because it can lead to innovation and a more accurate reflection of the customer base. Businesses can find the best talent for their specific needs by targeting a wider range of candidates. Additionally, a diverse workforce can help to create a more inclusive environment for employees.