3 Ideas to Recruit & Hire Diverse Talent Successfully

Inclusive Hiring & Recruiting Best Practices

There has never been more demand for the diverse talent.  Organizations that understand the business case for diversity – better innovation, higher revenues and profits just to name a few – are motivated now more than ever to hire inclusively.  It is becoming obvious that Corporate America has a woeful leadership gap of people of color, women, those with disabilities, those in the LGBTQ+ community, and it is raising some big red flags from customers, boards, and employees. 

Diversify Where You Recruit Talent

“You can’t go to the same pond expecting to catch different fish” 

If your team is not diverse today, by default you need to bring in diverse talent.  That starts with having an inclusive employee experience.   The employee experience begins with recruiting.   One of the biggest mistakes that organizations make is they go to the same places to find diverse talent.  If diverse talent is not applying to the positions you have available, you are not posting the open positions in the right places.   

Similar to gardening, you would never blame a flower for not growing in the soil of which you planted it, same goes for diverse talent. You’re not going to the right places if you’re not first talent.  In the U.S., people of color make up about 40% of our workforce and women are close to 50% of our workforce. 25% of people have a disability.  The numbers are there.  The representation is there.  The problem is, your organization is not where diverse talent is.

If you’re struggling to diversify your talent pool, make a mandate that you have to have at least two or three diverse candidates before interviewing and the interviewers also need to be diverse in representation to signal to diverse talent this is a place where you can belong and be represented.  Consider diversifying your recruiting websites to places that actively support people of color and other diverse groups in the workforce.  Lean on your diverse employees to share and refer others, stressing the importance of diversity. 

Avoid Job Description No-Nos

Review the list of words and see if you can catch the non-inclusive vs. inclusive ones? 

  • Ninja
  • Collaborative
  • Expert
  • Rock Star
  • Guru
  • Aggressive
  • Empathize
  • Strong English Skills
  • Ability To
  • Required 

Trick question, they all are not very inclusive.  It may seem obvious when you’re purposefully reviewing for inclusive language, but oftentimes when writing job descriptions we don’t think about things run through an inclusive lens.  The next time you’re writing a job description, or perhaps revising existing job descriptions, make sure to scrub any references to sports, American language idioms, or gendered language.  Diverse talent simply won’t apply if they don’t see themselves reflected in the role.

Manage Interviewing Bias

Everyone is biased, but it’s not an excuse for bad behavior.   If we are fortunate enough to find diverse talent and they apply to the position, we really don’t want to screw it up in the interview process.   reviews have been notoriously riddled with by us.  

Assuming someone is a good candidate because they went to the same college as you, or grew up in a similar part of the country, or has the same skin color or gender identity.   Affinity bias is real.  We like people like us. The problem with that bias is that prevents us from hiring inclusively.

To manage bias, consider asking more questions like these in the interview process:

  • What do you see as the fundamental characteristics of organizations that create an inclusive environment?
  • Please share an example that demonstrates your respect for people and their differences; and how you’ve worked to understand the perspectives of others?
  • What would you do if someone said or did something non-inclusive that was hurtful to others?

There has never been as much demand for diverse talent.  If you’re not going to new places to recruit, managing bias in the interview process, and revising job descriptions, you’re likely to have an uphill battle.  Make it easier on your organization.  Be willing to change processes to diversify your talent and hire inclusively 

If you liked this post, check out our Next Pivot Point Diversity Training.  We meet leaders where they are on their diversity journeys.  Schedule a demo to learn more.