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The Complete Guide to Diversity Recruiting

Workplace diversity has become a hot topic and a top priority for businesses across every industry. But to achieve a diverse workforce, you may need to rethink your recruiting process. This expansive guide will teach you everything you need to know about diversity recruiting. 

Why Diversity Recruiting Is So Important

Diversity recruiting is more than just a moral and compliance-related obligation. Most hiring managers and recruiting teams agree that diverse teams are more creative, innovative and ultimately drive better results. 

Upon further inspection, it’s fairly obvious that people with different backgrounds and perspectives help bring new ideas to the table for solving problems. 

This is just one of the many reasons why organizations across the globe are prioritizing diversity recruiting strategies. 

Another benefit of diversity recruiting is making your team members feel more comfortable in the workplace. Employees of different races, genders, religions, cultural views, or ethnic backgrounds won’t feel like they don’t belong, allowing everyone to perform at higher levels.

Diversity recruiting ultimately brings a wide range of skill sets and experience to your workforce. It improves cultural awareness on your teams and allows you to reach a broader candidate pool in your recruitment process. 

Furthermore, diversity recruiting can help you attract and retain top-level talent. According to a recent study by Glassdoor, 76% of job seekers say that workplace diversity is an important factor to consider when evaluating job offers. 

The same study found that 32% of job seekers wouldn’t apply to jobs at businesses lacking diversity in the workplace. 

Twilio is an excellent example of a company that knows the importance of diversity recruiting. The company is committed to diversity, equality, and inclusion in its hiring practices. It even puts out an annual report on its diversity statistics, including hiring rates by group, pay rates, leadership categories, and global representation of its workforce. 

Due to the diverse communities within the organization, Twilio created employee resource groups to give people from different backgrounds a greater sense of community and support within the business. It gives the employees a voice and helps Twilio grow a diverse talent pool. 

This is one of the many reasons why you’ll see Twilio’s name on lists associated with the world’s most innovative companies. 

Quick Tips to Improve Diversity Recruiting Today

While diversity recruiting might seem like a tall task, there are several quick steps you can take right now to get started. These quick wins will help you build momentum as you implement long-term diversity recruiting strategies. 

Tip #1 — Audit Your Existing Job Postings

Take a look at your current job openings. Read through the ads, descriptions, titles, and try your best to assess everything from an unbiased perspective. 

You might notice that some of the wording used is targeting certain demographics while alienating others. For example, some businesses inadvertently use gender-specific phrasing in job openings. This seemingly harmless mistake could prevent you from recruiting diverse candidates. 

In some cases, though, it can actually be beneficial to create job descriptions geared towards people of different backgrounds. 

Let’s say you’re planning to expand your offerings to new markets in Central America. In this case, go ahead and emphasize the fact that you’re seeking more than just a Spanish-speaking candidate, for instance. You want to hire someone who has the cultural understanding of a certain region as well—things that can’t be learned in a high school Spanish class or from Rosetta Stone.

Make sure these target candidates know that you’re trying to recruit them, and explain why your organization would be a great fit for their skills.

Tip #2 — Use AI Technology For Recruiting

One barrier to effective diversity recruiting is human nature. 

Whether people realize it or not, they might be biased when they’re scanning through resumes and narrowing down potential candidates. This can cause lots of setbacks in your efforts to recruit a diverse workforce.

But lots of the best recruiting software on the market today offers advanced features to remove the human element from your recruiting process. 

Workable is a perfect example. The tool uses AI technology to help recruit and sort potential candidates. 

Screenshot of information from Workable's website about how to "Build inclusive hiring practices".

Every time you post a new job opening through Workable, the software will automatically send you a list of the best candidates. This AI-powered feature comes standard with every Workable recruiting plan, with plans starting at $149 per month.

Fortunately for you, AI doesn’t have any preconceptions about race, religion, ethnicity, political views, or sexual orientation. The software will simply find the best possible candidates for the job. 

Tip #3 — Expand Your Search To More Platforms

One of the best ways to ensure your job openings and recruiting tactics are reaching people from diverse backgrounds is recruiting from as many platforms as possible. 

If you’re only using one or two job boards and wondering why you’re getting the same type of applicants, then it’s fair to assume those boards aren’t appealing to a diverse talent pool.

Workable checks this box off as well, as you can post open positions to over 200+ job boards with a single click. 

Your recruitment team can also take this one step further by sourcing candidates from unique groups where diverse job seekers hang out.

For example, there are plenty of online groups geared towards empowering women in the workplace. There are forums, seminars, monthly meetings, and more. You can get involved with these types of groups and use them as a way to increase cultural awareness while simultaneously recruiting diverse candidates. 

Tip #4 — Use Anonymized Candidate Screening 

Beyond using AI for the initial recruiting process, a real person will eventually have to look over applications and resumes to screen applicants. 

Unconscious bias could play a role here as hiring managers will now see names, ages, genders, and demographic information about the candidate.

But Workable has a really cool feature for anonymized screening. 

This simple feature helps preserve anonymity in the recurring process. First names, last names, social profiles, photos, emails, phone numbers, and addresses will all be hidden until the candidate moves through the pipeline. 

It’s one of the easiest ways to remove unconscious bias from your recruiting process and promote diversity. 

To use this feature, you just need to enable a simple slider in your settings. 

This process is also known as blind resume screening or blind interviewing. 

Tip #5 — Fill Talent Pipelines With Diverse Candidates

Many organizations take steps to improve diversity in the recruiting process. But those efforts are lacking when it comes to actually hiring diverse candidates.

Here’s the problem. 

Some of those companies are just taking one person from a minority category and putting them onto a shortlist of candidates. But if there’s just one minority person in that group, they’re still a minority. 

A popular diversity recruiting strategy to address this problem is known as the “two in the pool effect.”

The concept is simple—if there are at least two people from the same group in the final candidate pool, the odds of hiring one of them increases.

Research shows that if there are two female candidates on the shortlist, the odds of hiring a female to fill the position are 79 times higher. If there are two or more minority candidates on the shortlist, the odds of hiring a minority increases by 194 times.

Tip #6 — Use Data to Drive Hiring Decisions

To help remove bias from your hiring process, you can send cognitive and personality assessments directly to candidates while you’re recruiting them. 

Workable has this feature built into the platform.

This tool essentially gives you a scorecard for different candidates, allowing hiring managers to make decisions based on performance instead of demographics. 

Tip #7 — Empower Employees to Make Referrals

This tip works really well as you start to bring more diverse employees into your workforce. 

Each time you post a new job, you can give your staff a chance to refer potential candidates for the position–and people are often likely to refer prospects like themselves. 

Women might be more likely to refer another woman. Asian employees might refer another Asian friend or former colleague. Black employees could refer one of their black relatives or industry colleagues. And minority employees in general will be more conscious of both the benefits of diversity and any lack of it your company may have, so you can often rely on them to refer both qualified AND diverse prospects.  

Not only does this tip help give you greater access to diverse candidates, but the candidates being referred (and your employees) will know that you prioritize diversity recruiting based on the referral itself. So it’s a win-win scenario for everyone involved. 

Long-Term Strategies For Diversity Recruiting

For those of you who really want to take your diversity recruiting to the next level, there are some long-term strategies that you need to start working on. These strategies require a bit more effort, but the ultimate payoff is well worth the extra work. 

Strategy #1 — Offer Internships Programs to Targeted Groups

Many organizations have started internal diversity programs geared towards specific groups. We discussed an example of this earlier with Twilio. 

But some companies are taking this even further by offering internships to people from specific backgrounds. Working with colleges and universities with cultural groups is a great place to start. It gives those students an opportunity to get some real working experience while also adding diversity to your workforce.

Ideally, interns will eventually become full-time employees after they complete the required education or pre-requisites for the job. But for the time being, you can nurture these relationships and help develop workplace diversity plans for the future. 

These types of programs are a great way to give back to different communities as well, especially if the internships are paid. 

The schools you’re working with will really appreciate you taking care of their students and potentially offer you more opportunities to work with student groups for internships. 

It’s a win for them, a win for the students, and a win for your business as you’re adding new and diverse talent to your team. 

Strategy #2 — Create a Company Culture That Supports and Highlights Your Diversity

Creating a company culture doesn’t happen overnight. Changing a company culture lacking diversity takes even longer. While diversity recruiting is a great start, there are other steps you need to take that will ultimately help your diversity recruiting strategies down the road.

Start by connecting with people from different backgrounds in your organization. Get their opinions on what your business is doing well and how it can improve its diversity. 

Try to create a management structure that’s diverse as well. If all of your decision-makers are from the same background, it will be tough for you to grow.

Another way to change your company culture is by highlighting stories of your team’s diversity. You can share these through internal newsletters, company announcements, or even directly on your website. 

Consider adjusting your company policies to accommodate diverse employees. For example, you could recognize more religious holidays or give your staff additional PTO days to celebrate their beliefs. Offer flexible working hours so your employees can get involved with diverse community groups without it impacting their work schedule. 

By actively promoting your company policies, candidates who prioritize working for diverse companies will seek out employment from your organization. 

Strategy #3 — Monitor Your Recruiting Analytics

Over time, you can look at recruiting reports to see which sources are generating the most diverse pool of applicants. This is much easier to do if you’re using recruiting software. 

You can also send surveys to candidates that anonymously gather information about their demographics. 

Make it clear that these survey questions aren’t required, won’t be linked to an application, and are simply used to promote inclusion in the company. Workable is EEO/OFCCP compliant, including its reports and voluntary surveys. 

Based on the results of this data, you can tell what’s working and what needs improvements. 

For example, you could use these analytics to see if there is bias involved with moving candidates through your pipeline based on their background. 

It takes lots of data for this strategy to be effective. So the exact amount of time required to generate enough reports will vary based on your hiring volume.

For some businesses, you can start analyzing trends after a month or two. Other companies will need to wait six months or a year before the data is enough to provide real insights. 

Next Steps

Now that you understand the core concepts of diversity recruiting, it’s time to put these strategies into action. You can put lots of these tips on autopilot and manage your candidate pipeline with recruiting software

After the hiring process ends, you’ll need to make sure that your diversity efforts are shown within your company policies. HR software makes it easy for you to quickly edit and distribute those policies to both new and existing employees. 

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