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Diversity Recruiting Strategies: 8 Diversity Recruitment Best Practices for 2021

April 29th, 2021 10 minute read
Jess Stanier
Jess Stanier
People & Culture Specialist
I rarely speak to a talent acquisition team that doesn’t want to contribute to improving diversity equity and inclusion.

This article will help you understand the steps you can take to improve diversity through recruitment. We cover the 20% of diversity recruitment strategies that can yield 80% of the results including:

  • Setting the right goals
  • Collecting and understanding equality monitoring data
  • Reaching a diverse talent pool
  • Reducing bias in your selection process

Set the right goals

Every month we speak to dozens of talent teams looking to improve diversity through a fairer, more inclusive recruitment strategy.

The biggest mistake we see is organizations setting themselves up to fail with unrealistic diversity goals.

For example, let’s pretend you’re hiring senior accountants that are specialists in a certain type of tax law, who hold a specific qualification, and live within 50 miles of your office. If 80% of the people who meet the criteria are straight white men between the age of 35 and 55 you can expect around 80% of the applicants to be straight white men between the age of 35 and 55.

There’s a structural problem that needs fixing here that no diversity recruitment strategy can fix immediately.

What can you do?

  1. Have a long-term impact on the diversity of the whole market by ensuring the junior roles you hire today, training opportunities you provide, and routes to promotion are all handled in the right way.
  2. Support initiatives to improve the diversity of the talent pool outside of your organization. For example, our CEO was frustrated by the lack of diversity in the local pool of software developers and founded a free coding course for junior developers. A key part of the process was ensuring that anyone who applied, regardless of background, had an equal opportunity to get onto the course.
  3. Ensure that you don’t ONLY attract straight white men between the ages of 35 and 55 in the current round of recruiting through a robust recruitment process with diverse recruitment strategies at its core.

Takeaway: Make sure the goals you’re setting on diversity make sense in the context of your organization, and the demographics of the talent pool you’re recruiting from.

Get the data you need

The right data will help you identify your biggest challenges when it comes to fair an inclusive recruiting.

Equality Monitoring Questionnaire

Including an equality monitoring questionnaire on your application form enables you to collect demographic data about candidates. In most countries we recommend you make this optional for candidates to complete.

Equality Monitoring Questionnaire

Equality Performance Reporting

Using data from the equality monitoring questionnaire, your applicant tracking system will give you detailed reporting on the performance of your DE&I initiatives.

You’ll be able to report on the overall diversity of your candidate pool, and how the diversity changes as candidates are progressed or rejected at each stage of the recruitment process.

By comparing this data between different teams and locations you’ll quickly identify which areas of the business to focus on first, and which part of the recruitment process is causing the biggest issues.

For example:

Does the diversity of your applicant pool reflect the diversity of the market you’re recruiting in?

If not, consider which advertising channels you could be using to reach diverse talent, and review your job ads to make sure things like photography and language aren’t putting some groups off applying.

Does the diversity of candidates getting to the interview stage reflect the diversity of applicants?

If not, consider using blind screening to reduce the risk of bias during the selection process.

Does the diversity of candidates getting hired reflect the diversity of candidates that get to the interview stage?

If not, consider using interview scorecards to make your interview process fairer and more objective.

Equality Monitoring Report

Attract a diverse talent pool

Consider where you’re advertising

If the majority of candidates you attract are white males, it’s likely you’re mostly advertising roles in places where mostly white males hang out.

People can only apply for your positions if they know about them.

If you’re struggling to attract specific demographics, consider specialist diversity job boards. If you want to make sure your advertising is reaching a broad demographic, consider channels like social media.

Increasingly, applicant tracking systems are including recruitment marketing automation tools that make this easy. In a couple of clicks, you can create and post a branded job advert across a range of channels from diversity job boards to social media.

Diversity Job Board Distribution

Make sure the content on your careers website represents your team’s diversity

Assuming you have diversity within your existing team, use photos and videos of your own team, and make sure that those photos represent that diversity.

If you don’t have much diversity in your team right now, be open and transparent about what you’re doing to improve that. Help Scout did a great job of this here by highlighting the work they’re doing to improve diversity—specifically in the variety of race of their workforce.

Web Page about Diversity

Use inclusive language

Buffer’s HR team found they were getting less than 2% of applications from female candidates for their engineering roles. The reason? They were describing developers as ‘hackers’ in their job ads.

Using gender-coded words like ‘ninja’, ‘rockstar’ or ‘hacker’ can have a serious impact on the gender imbalance of a workplace and sustains inequality.

Pop one of your job adverts in here to see what gender-coded language you’re using. You’ll be surprised.

If you’re happy to hire people whose speak different first languages, offer your candidate experience (careers website, communications, etc) in those languages.

Reduce the risk of bias

Implement Blind Recruiting

By redacting personal information like names, addresses, age, race, photos, and gender pronouns from CVs and applications, blind recruitment software enables you to reduce the risk of conscious and unconscious bias in the selection process. Recruiters and hiring managers assess candidates based only on answers to questions on the application form, and their employment/education history.

Blind hiring tools are built into modern applicant tracking software, which makes it easy to start using blind hiring as part of your existing process, without having to manually redact information from CVs and application forms.

Learn more about blind hiring in this article: How blind recruiting is helping Pivot Energy to improve diversity through their recruitment process.

Use Interview Scorecards

Once candidates have scheduled an interview, the information that was redacted during the selection stage using blind screening will be revealed—there’s no point hiding it as you’re going to meet the candidate.

This is where scorecards come in. By defining the most important assessment criteria up front, and asking the interview panel to score candidates on these criteria, the process becomes fairer, more objective, and the risk of bias is significantly reduced.

Once all the scores are in, it’s easy to compare candidates side by side. Feedback meetings stay more focussed on the criteria that will make the candidate successful in the role, and you’ll make better, fairer hiring decisions.

Understand that recruitment’s just the start

Focussing on recruitment isn’t enough on its own—people need to know that they belong as part of the community at work.

That’s a topic for another article but, if you want to start digging in, this is a great place to start:

Pat Wadors, previously of LinkedIn and now Chief Talent Officer of ServiceNow, has coined DIBs as the new D&I. If you need to hear a little more about the concept of DIBs, this video is a great watch.

Writing for Harvard Business Review, Pat recommends six simple ways to instil a culture of belonging in the workplace:

  • Introducing someone as a whole person, beyond their roles and responsibilities
  • Asking people how they feel—and genuinely listening
  • Soliciting input from all in meetings—and not speaking over them
  • Delegating tasks in a way that demonstrates trust
  • Paying attention during meetings and avoiding distractions
  • Sharing stories and encouraging others to share their own

What next?

If you’re looking for a tool to help you implement some of these diverse recruitment strategies, we’d love to see if Pinpoint’s a fit. Our applicant tracking software is designed with diversity and inclusion and its core.

In this video, we walk you through how Pinpoint can help you build a more diverse and inclusive team.

About the author
Jess Stanier
Jess Stanier
Jess loves working with great people and growing businesses. She's excited by being able to make a real difference for the companies she works for. Communications is the common thread that runs through every role she's had, and is what she's really passionate about.

Improving diversity starts with recruitment

We’ll help you attract a diverse talent pool and reduce the risk of bias at every stage of the process.

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