15 Ways To Attract And Hire Diverse Job Candidates

2018 was a year when I saw most of my clients focus extensively on their diversity & inclusion programmes. It has been proven that a team comprising of different genders, ethnicities, cultural backgrounds and sexual orientations tends to produce more creative, innovative, and effective results.

Obviously a diverse workplace cannot be built overnight and neither does it happen using traditional recruiting methods. Companies need to actively seek, engage, and recruit candidates from a variety of backgrounds to ensure they are creating a heterogenous workforce.

With this in mind, I am keen to share 15 tips published by members of Forbes Coaches Council (along with some personal insights) that will help recruitment teams in attracting a more diverse pool of candidates. Backlinks to the advisors are provided in case you would like to research their thinking a bit more.


If you are a recruiter looking to improve your diversity & inclusion efforts, I hope you try impress.ai, an AI chatbot software for recruiters that removes bias and engages candidates. Want to learn more? Please email me at contact@impress.ai today.    __________________________________________________________________

1.    Know Yourself And Your Candidates

Diverse candidates are risking taking a leap into a new culture, and they want to understand what challenges may lie ahead. Allow time to introduce current employees and provide diverse representation reports and development strategies for high potential employees. Listen for concerns and build your recruiting strategy from the inside. - Meredith Moore CrosbyLeverette Weekes 

Notes: Provide candidates ways to find out more information about your company and employees. One of the best ways to do this is by creating a unique, media-rich page of your company showcasing your culture, leadership, and employees. Taking this a step further, investing in curated and branded employee videos (either generic or specific to the role) would provide a deeper insight into the team’s culture and working styles.

2.    Meet Them Where They Are

Diversify your candidate search by meeting candidates where they are. Leverage professional associations that cater to diverse candidates. Reach out to networking groups, alumni associations and other networks that already function as a hub. Consider advertising in publications and attending conferences or networking events sponsored by those organizations that cater to diverse populations. - Amanda Miller LittlejohnPackage Your Genius Academy 

Notes: If you realise that a specific skillset is missing an association or a networking group, then HR teams should be pro-active in creating this group themselves and inviting relevant participants to talks, networking sessions. One of the success stories over the past few years that I had noticed was the formation of WIMAR – Women in Mining And Resources; a group aimed at celebrating diversity at the workplace and also upskilling capabilities through mentoring, training, etc.

3.    Don't Look At Names

Ask your recruiting company to black out the candidate's name on resumes. First impressions, even just a name on a resume, can sway the best diversity recruiting efforts. - Bijal ChoksiBC Consulting Inc. 

Notes: A majority of hiring managers and HR practitioners are of the opinion that a photograph on a candidate’s CV may lead to unconscious bias but there is a growing school of thought that a candidate’s name can also contribute significantly to this bias. In the event it is not possible to manually remove names from a cv, a plethora of AI-bots exist which can do the same as well.

4.    Collect Referrals From Your Existing Employees

Start with the diversity that already exists in your organization. Ask your team for referrals. Diverse employees are connected with the diverse job candidates you're seeking. Get them involved. Ask them to share the job posting on their social media. Employees are eager to help; they're just waiting for the invitation to do so. - Kelah RaymondSPARC Solutions Group

Notes: This channel of sourcing is a double edged sword – people’s networks, in general, are comprised of people who are similar to them demographically. Hence to make this strategy successful from a diversity perspective, it is important for the resourcing team to carefully select a diverse set of starting nodes and kick off the referral program from there on.

5.    Let Candidates Know You Value Diversity

Honesty is always the best policy. If you want more diverse job candidates, say that! It's the quickest and easiest way to get the word out. Job seekers may wonder, "Does this company value diversity?" Just saying it takes the guess work out for candidates. They will instantly know that you value different cultures, genders, races, etc. - Frances McIntoshIntentional Coaching LLC 

6.    Try Unique Candidate-Scanning Techniques

Invite job candidates to write a one-page solution to a problem that involves a diversity challenge at work. You will get different perspectives, ideas, answers and you can see someone trying help solve a problem. Encourage people to solve problems with others in writing. It will give you an unusual idea into their ability to work with diverse backgrounds. - John O'ConnorCareer Pro Inc. 

Notes: To build a diverse talent pool pro-actively, the same approach could be gamified and marketed as a competition. In this way, HR teams can identify highly qualified talent, understand their approach to solving problems and network with talent – all without the burden of a hiring process.

7.    Segment Diversity Prospects And Target Appropriately

It's important for companies to identify their overall goals for diversity according to the different segments that comprise it. Once determined, use a targeted approach that positively impacts candidates and the company's intention. If there is a lack of certain diverse talent, then the company can build a pipeline using creative development programs and community initiatives to sustain it. - LaKisha GreenwadeLucki Fit LLC 

8.    Partner With Schools

Establish internships and partner with schools to build interest and skills from targeted groups and communities. If you build the opportunity for educational paths, you can establish a long term pipeline of job candidates where a pipeline did not exist before. - Amy DouglasSpark Coaching, LLC 

9.    Avoid The 'Quick Hire'

Leaders should make diversity a higher priority by ensuring that there are many diverse candidates in the candidate pool for all open positions. Most companies go for the "quick hire," choosing candidates that are former colleagues and referrals from employees and friends. Although they may fill positions quickly, these hires most often lack diversity. - Elva Bankins BaxterBankins Consulting, Inc. 

Notes: Research featured in the Harvard Business Review found that when the final candidate pool has one minority candidate, he or she has virtually zero chances of getting hired. However, a “two in the pool effect” represents a promising method for overcoming unconscious biases and increasing diversity in the workplace.

If there are at least two female candidates in the final candidate pool: the odds of hiring a female candidate are 79X greater

If there are least two minority candidates in the final candidate pool: the odds of hiring a minority candidate are 194X greater

10. Create A Company Culture That Supports Diversity

If you want to have more diversity, you must create your company culture in such a way that it is attractive to a diverse group of candidates. Things like LGBTQ-friendly policies, celebration and time off for important holidays for diverse religions, and paid parental leave are a good place to begin. A company can look for where anti-diversity exists within the company and correct that. - Janet ZaretskyThe Zenith Business 

11. Make Your Search Intentional

Companies need to be intentional to make sure that each and every search has a diverse candidate pool. If they do not see a diverse pool responding to a posting, it is their responsibility to reach out one-by-one to diverse candidates and ask them for participation. Chief diversity officers in any company or college might be a good source for local candidates. - Barbara OMalleyExec Advance LLC 

Notes: This is where the role of recruitment agency partners becomes important. It is generally accepted that traditional (or) generic hiring methods do not yield a diverse talent pool. Specialised or targeted approaches are needed to strategically seed your pipelines with more diverse candidates.

12. Look Beyond Your Usual Places

To seek out diverse job candidates, a company must be open to someone whose background does not fit into a cookie-cutter mold. For example, consider hiring someone who comes from a different industry, or who has slightly different skills. Look for candidates beyond the universities you are the most familiar with. Review resumes from more than one job website. - Angela CopelandCopelandCoaching 

13. Build A Diverse Management Team First

Seeking out diverse candidates isn't hard. Recruiting those candidates and placing them in an environment where different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences are appreciated is more difficult. If companies have done this correctly it should be reflected in the makeup of the management team. Once a company has this kind of environment, diverse candidates will come and stay. - Donald HatterDonald Hatter Inc. 

14. Send The Right Message In Your Employer Marketing

It's important to send a clear message in terms of marketing the company as a diverse workforce and inviting people in. Demonstrate how the company is doing this in line with its mission and values, to attract the right candidates. Enlist employees to assist in creating this environment and recruitment, and make it easy and fun. Be proactive in meeting the needs of potential candidates. - Sharissa SebastianSharissa Sebastian - Life & Leadership Coaching

Notes: Job descriptions are one of the best recruitment marketing tools ever built. The language used in a job description can make a huge difference in being able to attract a more diverse candidate pool. Masculine-type words like “ambitious” and “dominate” could be less appealing to female applicants.

15. Advertise In Diverse Media

Instead of advertising in the usual places, seek out media whose readers/viewers are of diverse backgrounds. Find different religious, cultural and ethnic publications, T.V. stations, websites, etc., and place career ads there. - Dawn AliHappy Rich Great Body 

Notes: One of the classic examples that I’d come across was at Standard Chartered Bank in India. The HR teams advertised roles significantly using radio & magazines as primary media to attract home-maker’s into part-time operational / transaction processing roles for the bank’s BPO center. This was hugely successful, resulting in a diverse workforce and provided opportunities to home-maker’s and semi-retired people, who would normally not have been offered roles in other organizations.

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