diversity and inclusion recruitment strategies

7 Recruitment Strategies to Improve Workplace Diversity

Diversity-centered recruiting is the practice of actively seeking a wide and unique range of candidates using a process that eliminates biases, which may create an advantage or disadvantage for candidates. This recruitment system is merit-based, meaning that candidates are chosen based upon their qualifications, but it is structured to give all applicants an equal opportunity regardless of their gender, background, race, religion, sexual orientation, education, and more.

Building diverse teams from qualified candidates is not only expected, but also has numerous benefits, such as increased innovation, creativity, achievement, and revenue, and can make companies more attractive to applicants who value diversity and inclusion (D&I).

Here are 7 strategies to improve your company’s recruitment process and foster greater diversity:

Company Image and Policies

1. Showcase your commitment to diversity through your company brand

A great way to boost diversity during your candidate sourcing is to organically create an employer brand that values all people and their differences. Showcase the benefits and importance of diversity within the company culture on your website and in job postings to promote your company’s commitment. Diverse candidates will seek out companies who truly value this. However, don’t falsely advertise– all D&I branding must be genuine and in alignment with your organizations vision and mission.

2. Ensure there are company policies that specifically focus on diversity & inclusion

While branding your company as a D&I champion might attract diverse recruits, your branding must be truthful. Otherwise, interviewees may withdraw or employee retainment might be low. It’s important to proactively implement company policies that appeal to diverse candidates, such as accepting and honoring multiple religious and cultural practices, granting time off for diverse religious holidays, strengthening anti-discriminatory policies, and more, and to ingrain these values into your company culture.

Candidate Sourcing

3. Diversify your candidate sourcing methods

Hiring often occurs through candidate referrals, however, these candidate pipelines can create a bottleneck for diversity. People’s networks are generally comprised of demographically- similar people. If your company is lacking in diversity, you may be unlikely to find diverse candidates through referrals. So, to increase the number of diverse candidates in your pipeline, take advantage of third-party websites to post your open roles.

4. Target job boards where diverse candidates congregate

Similar to the previous step, a great way to ensure a diverse talent pool is to source your candidates from various places. While the standard job boards that you use might be convenient, it’s best not to rely on the same sources every time when seeking new candidates, which may result in a talent pool of similar candidates and a lack of diversity.

Instead, seek out opportunities to source diverse candidates. There are many websites that can connect you with certain underrepresented groups where you can source and connect with diverse candidates directly instead of waiting for them to find you through your standard platforms. Further, be sure to use inclusive language in job postings (i.e. instead of saying ‘he/she,’ refer to the candidate as ‘they,’ or simply, ‘the candidate’).

Here’s a brief list of diversity-focused job boards to help get you started:

5. Offer internships to targeted groups

Encourage candidates to gain experience in your industry through internship positions focusing on candidates from specific backgrounds. Reach out to schools and community groups in your area to make connections with students and build up new and diverse talent.

Screening and Interviewing

6. Implement blind resumes

The most common blind hiring method is to remove the candidate’s name from their resume. In theory, removing their name helps recruiters make decisions without interfering unconscious biases, like race and gender, that their name may reveal. Other identifying personal information that is often removed from resumes includes college names, graduation year, and even addresses. This helps you identify high-quality candidates by objectively evaluating a candidate’s skills, knowledge, and potential to succeed without your unconscious biases influencing your decision. During your search to find new employees, don’t forget to identify these ways to recognize high-performing candidates.

7. Strategically seed your talent pipelines with diverse candidates

Diverse candidates are far less likely to be hired when they are the only ones from their demographic represented on a shortlist. To combat this decision bias and level the playing field, use a diversity recruitment strategy called “the two in the pool effect.” You can learn more about the science and data around this phenomena in this article from the Harvard Business Review.

This strategy’s premise is that having multiple people from the same minority demographic drastically increases the likelihood that one of them will be hired. Therefore, intentionally adding a proportionate number of diverse candidates to your shortlist is a simple strategy that can lead to more diverse hires.

This list of recruitment strategies includes many diversity and inclusion best practices your company can put into place to show that it is making a long-term commitment to D&I. If your company is looking to expand its impact, continue reading about how a diversity and inclusion task force may be a good option to supplement your D&I efforts.


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