While diversity and inclusivity in hiring has been a priority for the majority of human resource professionals and recruiters, today’s climate has strengthened focus and commitment to ensuring these practices are ingrained into their corporate DNA. 

A diverse staff is more than part of an employer brand, but has been proven to create a competitive advantage for businesses. In fact, diverse companies are nearly two times more likely to be innovative leaders in the marketplace, have a 19% higher revenue and are 70% more likely to capture a new market. 

Assess your inclusive hiring process
An important first step in creating a targeted approach to inclusive hiring is to conduct a thorough audit of your current processes strengths and weaknesses. The goal of diversity hiring is to identify and remove any potential biases in recruiting, screening and shortlisting job seekers that results in discriminating against qualified, diverse candidates. When conducting your assessment, ask the following questions: 

  • Who does your organization typically hire and who do they typically turn away? 
  • What time and effort does your organization invest in diversity recruitment efforts?
  • How diverse are your clients and vendors? 

Pick a metric
Once you’ve properly assessed your current environment, the next step is to select a metric you’d like to improve upon. 

For example, maybe it’s increasing the percentage of qualified female employees in tech-related roles by 10% within 6 months, or increasing the percentage of qualified visible minorities on your sales team by 15% within 12 months. Outline goals and objectives that are tangible and realistic. The important thing is to begin making progress, and if you select too large of a goal you might end up falling flat. 

Once your goals are clearly outlined, there are steps you can put into place to start working toward your new objectives. It is also important to ensure that everyone on your recruitment team is aware of these goals, and on board when it comes to their hiring responsibilities. 

Reevaluate your job description wording
If your diversity hiring audit reveals that you’re failing to find and attract diverse candidates in the first place, take a look at your initial touchpoint with potential employees – your job description.

Every word in a job description can impact how a potential applicant views the position and your company. Studies show that the language used in job descriptions can make or break the decision for diverse candidates to apply to open roles. Avoid using gender-stereotypical pronouns and words such as “dominate” and “compete.” Consider using tools like The Conscious Style Guide for tips and insight on language that may include bias. Additionally, using positive language, even if it is just a sentence, encouraging diverse candidates to apply can provide additional motivation.

Showcase diverse employees
Although hiring to fit workplace culture is something companies often tout as a positive, this can lead to a homogeneous work environment that diminishes diversity. Adjust your frame of thinking to include the idea that applicants that vary from the status quo will add a unique factor to your organization that it didn’t have before. Before posting a job, review your website and social media accounts to make sure they incorporate photos and videos of employees to show your inclusivity. You may also use a technique called blind hiring to anonymize a candidate’s personal information from the recruiter or hiring manager that can lead to unconscious or conscious bias.

Additionally, reflect on your current interviewing panel and include those who can provide insight and opinions different than your own. When Intel included at least two women and/or members of underrepresented minorities to their interview panel, they increased diversity in their company by 41%. This also allows candidates to experience your existing diverse workforce during the interview process. 

Reach out to diverse-specific groups
In addition to posting on the usual job boards, make a conscious effort to post jobs on diverse niche boards. Posting on these niche group platforms will help attract diverse talent and demonstrate that your company is dedicated to creating a diversified candidate pool. Consider using:

Building a diverse workforce can take time, but a concentrated effort and strategic improvements can go a long way in both attracting and hiring inclusively.