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How To Hire A Diverse Workforce - Easy Steps For Hiring Diverse Candidates

Diversity in the workplace has become a priority in the global market and it’s no wonder many companies are currently seeking to improve their hiring processes. This is not only about

complying with certain metrics or “checking the box” on diversity hiring. It is

not hard to imagine all the benefits that a diverse workforce can bring to an organization as this means there will be a wider range of skills, experiences, and perspectives among employees, which will definitely increase productivity, cultural awareness, and marketing opportunities. 

If you are looking to increase your company’s potential and reach a higher revenue you have to start

by learning how to hire a diverse workforce. In this article we will list some of the most important issues to address in order to make diversity hiring a reality. But first, it is important to have a better understanding of what diversity is.

How To Hire A Diverse Workforce

Diversity refers to the existence of different characteristics in a group of people. It is most often used to refer to legally protected characteristics like gender, age, race or sexual orientation. But when talking about diversity in the workplace we must also consider things like skills, professional background, personality traits, socioeconomic background and education. An effective way to achieve a higher level of inclusion in your hiring process is to consider two kinds of diversity: Inherent and acquired. Inherent diversity refers to traits you were born with while acquired diversity involves those traits that come with experience. For example, working in another country can provide with different cultural experiences or it could also refer to language skills. 

Keeping these diversity types in mind, let’s talk about what you can do to integrate them into your hiring practices and adopt a more inclusive company culture.

Optimize job postings to attract diverse candidates

Did you know that on average, men will apply for a job when meeting just 60 percent of the criteria? But women will apply only if they meet 100 percent of the qualifications. This can be for many reasons including self-confidence, and we can assume the same for other groups of qualified job seekers that just won’t apply for a job because they think they might not be good enough for it.

The wording in job postings has a lot to do with this and it can be a great practice for your company to start paying more attention to exclusive language or unconscious bias that may be present in your job descriptions.

Here are a few things to look out for in order to attract diverse talent:

Avoid gender-coded language: Research data has shown that language used in job descriptions is often unconsciously biased toward one gender, keeping members of the opposite gender from applying to these jobs. For example, when advertising in male-dominated fields we tend to use masculine-coded words like “decisive” or “assertive” which may make those listings less likely to attract women. On the other hand, ads that include adjectives like “compassionate” or “kind” may keep men from applying for the job. This in no way means that one or the other lacks those character traits, but it is a reality that society as a whole has acquired stereotypes that will make these words automatically associate to a certain gender. There are many online tools for text analysis that will help you find and replace gendered or biased words that may frustrate your diversity recruiting efforts, but overall, try to use more neutral pronouns like “they” or “them” instead of “he” or “she”, use neutral titles like “businessperson” or “salesperson” and avoid superlatives like “greatest” or “fastest” as they create a superiority that can be perceived as male-coded. 

Only list essential requirements: Some job listings can be long and complicated, and manage to repel a qualified candidate before they are even done reading the requirements. As we mentioned before, this is often the case when it comes to women, minorities or underrepresented groups seeking a job which is why you should only include the bare minimum as this has to be only a list of must-have qualities. It is also recommended to review your requirements thoroughly as there may be certain areas where you can be more flexible in order to attract and hire more diverse candidates.

Highlight inclusive benefits: Candidates need to understand your company’s values and feel like they align with their own in order to be comfortable about applying for the job and being part of the team. Benefits like health insurance, parental leave, flexible schedules or transportation can make you a much more attractive option for women or minority groups as they show you are an employer who makes inclusivity and diversity part of your culture.

Use diversity job boards 

Once you have made the necessary changes in your job post to appeal to more diverse candidates, you want to make sure you are posting in the right board. Diversity job boards are sites that provide job posting services for hiring diverse minority professionals like black, indigenous, Hispanic, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, and many other underrepresented groups. In addition to posting your job ads on the most common job boards, look through some of the best job boards for diverse talent and consider using as many as you can. This will definitely expand your talent pool and help add value to your company as you will be proactively reaching out to underrepresented groups and minorities to enter your pipeline. It is important to highlight that focusing only on one form of diversity is not enough. You must consider social diversity (race, age, etc…) as well as professional diversity in your recruiting process. 

Remove bias from candidate screening and selection process for diversity hiring

In the hiring process, recruiters may form an opinion about candidates even in the early stages. A candidate’s name, hometown or resume’s picture can influence someone’s opinion and ultimately affect the selection process by using criteria that is irrelevant to the job. While most of us would like to think that these biased opinions are unconscious, we cannot safely assume that is the case, which is why you should consider bringing a set of strategies to your company and move forward toward diversity hiring.

Here are a couple of things you can try:

Blind hiring

This is a process used to reduce bias in the early stages of hiring by blocking out the candidates’ personal information like name, college, address, hobbies or graduation year. Details that can bring up applicants’ socioeconomic background, religion or race which can potentially create biased opinions and keep them from moving on to the next stage. You want recruiters and hiring managers to focus on candidate’s skills and previous work experience and remove as much unconscious (or conscious) bias as possible before moving on to the actual interview process.

Work sample test

A work sample test is a method used to assess a candidate’s ability to perform a job successfully. It is based on the idea that the best way to predict future behavior as an employee is to observe behavior under similar circumstances.  If the job you are hiring for involves tasks and duties that can be completed in a short period of time, this is a great addition to your hiring process, always keeping in mind that standardized administration and scoring processes are key to its success. It will allow recruiters to evaluate applicants and gather data in a more inclusive way, regardless of age, previous work experience or other criteria that may not affect their performance.

Conduct unconscious bias training and assessments

Regularly assessing your recruiters and hiring managers during candidate screening and the interview process is a great way to identify biased practices so you can effectively run a series of courses and workshops to bring focus to the issue and create awareness. Whether these are conscious or unconscious behaviors, making your recruiting team aware of them and providing the right tools to work on them will make hiring a diverse workforce a lot easier for them as well.

Showcase genuine diversity in your company

Diversity attracts diversity. All these job postings and recruitment efforts will do nothing for you if your company´s social media, visual aids, and overall reputation do not reflect diversity and inclusion. 67% of job seekers consider diversity as an important factor when looking for companies and job offers.

From pictures and videos on your website to personal opinions and experiences from applicants and employees, you must be making all possible efforts to show that you appreciate diverse employees and you have an inclusive company culture.

Of course, the easiest way to do this is to actually put it into practice. The retention of diverse employees is very important once you have managed to attract them to your company as you don’t want your diversity hiring programs to seem as if you just have a “quota” of minorities to hire. Actually, make visible inclusion efforts to keep employees engaged by having workplace flexibility. Things like work-from-home options, flexible hours, referral programs, recognition of top-performing employees, and equal and fair promotions create a feeling of appreciation within your workers. This will decrease turnovers from minority groups, and by default will make it easier for you to showcase genuine workplace diversity.

Offer internships for minorities and underrepresented groups

Internships give college graduates a foot in the door at the company they seek to work for, however, many internships offer very low pay or are even unpaid they usually go to privileged groups with a socioeconomic background where families can support them financially. By implementing a diversity-focused internship program you will be opening doors to many talented young people who otherwise would not be able to access. The main thing to consider is, your entry-level job or internship should pay a living wage, which will be a great way to recruit diverse candidates and highly increase the amount of minority or underrepresented groups entering your organization. Also, you can reach out to local universities and community groups that may be willing to partner you on a program or maybe even have an existing program that you can be a part of in order to expand your talent pool.  

A diverse workforce is an undeniable competitive advantage. As you can see, workplace diversity and inclusion doesn’t just happen, it must be cultivated intentionally and carefully by investing time, energy, and effort, as well as financial resources. The good news is, once you remove biases and create that diversity and inclusion culture within your organization, you will gain an unbelievable competitive advantage that all employers and employees can benefit from. 

It's Time To Hire For Diversity and Inclusion

Here are the main takeaways: 
  • Re-write your job postings to avoid unconscious biases and reduce the number of irrelevant requirements on your ads.
  • Seek to reach underrepresented groups and minorities by posting ads on diverse job boards.
  • Provide tools for diversity hiring to recruitment workers and managers.
  • Consistently assess and provide training to avoid conscious and unconscious bias.
  • Make sure your company’s diversity and inclusion efforts are showcased on your website and social media.