How To Improve Your Diversity Recruiting: 9 Tips

Most companies would agree that having a diverse workforce helps them achieve better results and craft more innovative strategies. There are a myriad of stats out there that show that diversity recruiting enhances performance, but you don’t even have to look at them to figure this out.

It’s a no-brainer that having a range of backgrounds and perspectives within a team will foster more diverse ideas to drive innovation and solve problems. Therefore, it makes sense that organisations across the globe are looking to develop their diversity recruiting strategy.

Here we’ll be looking at ways you can boost your own diversity hiring strategy, but first let’s see why it’s important for your business.

Diversity recruiting: what is it?

Diversity in the workforce boils down to the notion that your teams should be a reflection of the society around you. Your team should be made up of a range of people that boast different experiences and background. Diversity can come from a variety of areas such as socio-economic levels, sexual orientation, race, gender, etc.

There are two categories of diversity: inherent and acquired diversity. Acquired diversity is related to factors such as skills, knowledge, education, values and experience, which can develop and evolve over time as they are more fluid. While inherent diversity is tied to age, gender, race, and other characteristics that are natural to who a person is.

Hiring candidates using a process that is free from biases against individuals or groups of candidates is what diversity recruiting is all about. It isn’t anything but merit-based recruitment, as it still aims to find the best talent, however it is configured in such a way that it gives all candidates an equal opportunity regardless of their background.

Why is it important?

In the business world, talent diversity is a trend that’s growing fast, and for good reason too. It provides many tangible benefits, aside from just being a good choice morally, in areas such as productivity, performance, and innovation. Some of the documented benefits are:

  • Larger and varied candidate pools
  • Broader range of skills & experience
  • Increased cultural and language awareness

Due to these perks it’s been proved that a diverse workforce avoids echo chambers or confirmation bias mentalities. Better results and decisions rise overall due to this. Because there are various perspectives, team members will debate merits of various methods and end up coming to the best conclusion by using a wide range of information.

Statistics show that:

  • Diverse companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their segments
  • 85% of CEOs state that bottom lines have been improved by having a diverse talent pool
  • Diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues
  • 67% of candidates state that diversity is a very important factor when deciding whether to apply/work for a company

We’ve explored the benefits, now let’s have a look at how to go about structuring a diversity recruitment strategy.

9 ways to recruit for a diverse workforce

To make sure you’re hiring people from different backgrounds you need to ensure there’s diversity in who is actually applying to your roles. To do that you’ll need some of the following techniques:

1.     Encourage employees to refer connections

Your employees will have networks of people with similar background to them, so encourage your diverse talent to refer. By creating a candidate referral program for diverse talent you’ll be able to enhance your strategy and show that your business values different ideas and backgrounds.

Encourage your employees to share your job ads with your networks and give them the tools to promote your business for you. By doing so your employees and candidates will both have the feeling that you as a business value their presence and opinions. This is also fantastic for overall engagement and team morale.

2.     Revise your jobs ads

Audit your past recruitment ads and make changes to reach and speak to a wider range of talent. If you notice that some of the language you use is more geared toward a specific experience level or demographic find ways to be more inclusive in the language you use. By doing so you’ll be able to appeal to candidates from different backgrounds.

You also shouldn’t be afraid to write ads with specific target demographics in mind. You can let potential talent that you’re looking for them and make sure you explain why your company would be such a great fit.

3.     Internships for certain targeted groups

A range of organisations have started internal diversity programs that focus on offering internships and co-op positions to talent from particular backgrounds. It’s a sure fire way to encourage up-and-coming talent to your business and get experience.

In order to succeed in this strategy, you should reach out to specific community groups and schools to determine opportunities to make connections with students. Communities will often will have their own programs to encourage growth and working in partnership with those initiatives is a good way to benefit from diverse and new talent, while also giving back.

4.     Seek out sources where diverse talent meets

In order to make sure that your talent pool is full of diverse candidates is to draw them from a range of different places. You shouldn’t always rely on the same sources time and time again, even if they are the ones that have given you the best results so far. Focusing solely on the same places means you’ll always get similar candidates.

You should try to find opportunities to seek diverse candidates in places they usually congregate. You could for example find them in both offline and online groups dedicated to women in tech. This would be a good source to connect with and meet higher calibre female candidates directly instead of putting a job ad out and hoping they’ll come to you. Your talent pools will likely be more diverse the more you take initiative.

5. Company policies that would appeal to candidates from diverse background

Simply claiming that you value diverse recruiting strategies isn’t enough. You’ll have to implement these values in your day-to-day operations proactively to attract diverse candidates.

To do so you could consider scheduling policies to include more religious holidays, community events, etc. If you encourage more flexible working arrangements and hours you’ll give candidates the opportunity to continue to be involved with their communities as well as not expecting them to conform to a cookie-cutter schedule constantly.

If people believe certain policies may stand in the way of diversity, it’s important that they feel they can speak up. The way people perceive and navigate the workplace will also come from a place of individual biases, so encouraging your staff to have open and honest dialogue will make sure that everyone feels welcome.

6. Crafting an employer brand that highlights your diversity

You have an opportunity to diversify your candidate source by organically creating an employer brand. You employer brand should show that it values opinions and people from all backgrounds. You can use this chance to talk about the benefits of diversity with your own team, ingrain these values into your culture, and get your employees’ buy-in.

Once you start doing this your employer brand will start developing into one that is known for valuing diversity. Make sure you encourage your employees to talk about this. You can record their stories and use them to weave into your company’s personality. Companies that value these ideals are being sought out by diverse candidates.

7. Blind CV’s

One popular technique employed by recruiters that helps remove bias from screening candidates are blind resumes. This means that all personal information on a CV is blacked out. Recruiters won’t be able to see a person’s name, date of birth, schools, etc. as that information may contribute to some degree to unconscious bias when assessing a candidate.

8. Blind Interviewing

Using the same principle as blind CVs, blind interviewing should be used when in the early stages of a conversation with a candidate. To do this you could send candidates text-based questions via your recruitment platforms of choice, or text. They can then be asked to keep from providing personal information while answering these anonymously.

9.     Use AI to review resumes

To ensure bias is completely removed from the resume screening process, you should try and leverage AI technology. You can program your platform to filter and flag certain experience and skills. Then allow the AI to analyse your candidate CVs for those parameters. You’ll be able to then have an impartial shortlist that is free of any type of bias.

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