At this point we’d like to think that the value of diversity is a given. Not only is creating a diverse workforce in your company the right thing to do, it’s also a proven benefit to business overall. Making diverse hires is both socially valuable and profitable - a more diverse workforce means a more adaptable company, a more diverse marketing department means you can get your message into a vast array of communities much easier, and employing folks of all colors, creeds, genders, sexual orientations and walks of life makes for a more robust marketplace overall. Iram Jamil, a University Relations and Diversity Recruiter for Ericsson said recently on Rakuna’s vidcast, “When managed properly in the workplace, diversity can leverage the strengths and complement the weaknesses of each worker to make the impact of the workforce greater than the sum of its parts.”
We can all get behind healthy markets, and more nimble corporations, but diversity needs to be a consideration for recruiters from Day One. Yes, you guessed it, campus recruiting. Campus recruiting is one of the few times that recruiters are filling positions with, for lack of a better term: new blood. That is, folks who aren’t already in the workforce. We know that most people get their jobs either by networking or referrals. A 2016 survey found that up to 85% of people found their current role through networking. There’s no issue with networking (networking is awesome), but the fact is that people tend to network with people like themselves, and be friends with similar people, so when a position is filled by a referral, the candidate is likely to be similar to the person who referred him or her. We solve for this by having strong diversity initiatives early on in the campus recruiting phase, because a more diverse group of employees will network with a more diverse group of people, and lead to more diverse referrals, and the beautiful cycle of diversity should continue perpetuating itself from there.
It’s sounds easy, but it’s not. Even companies that often seem capable of doing no wrong, like Google, have trouble with this issue. But there is a lot recruiters can do. Some suggest getting a certification like the AIRS (certified diversity recruiter), and while that’s good for the individual recruiter, creating a more diverse workforce needs to be a challenge taken on by every level of a company. Everything from your brand image, to the photographs on your website, to the kind of on-campus organizations you’re engaging needs to be considered when you’re trying to bring in as many diverse perspectives as possible to your company.
Engaging with diversity organizations when you hold an on-campus event is important, but it’s equally important to express the diversity of the company itself when you arrive and hold the event. Iram Jamil, in the same Rakuna podcast says:
“Working with student organizations is an obvious choice. [. . .] Also, partnering with students who have a pulse on the campus and talking to them to see where there are diversity gaps and then trying to figure out ways to fill that void when we go on campuses. That means when you’re holding recruiting events on campus you must exhibit that diversity from your recruiting team. So during campus events, I like to get a mix of executives, technical, non-technical, men, women, people from diverse ethnicities, different age groups, and even those that work in different work locations so that they can bring in a new dimension to our messaging on campus.”
Jamil, and folks like her obviously work very hard to make sure the companies they’re recruiting for receive high-quality candidates from a wide array of backgrounds. It might not be to change the way you recruit, but nothing worth having ever is, and diversity is certainly worth having. A company won’t survive without a diverse range of perspectives and experiences, and any firm that wants to thrive in this marketplace, and help shape the market of the future should put an extremely high premium on diversity in campus recruiting if they aren’t already.