How to Improve Diversity Recruiting

At Recruiting Toolbox, we’ve worked with executives and top HR leaders at hundreds of companies in 20+ countries. If you’re like most organizations, diversity is front and center as a priority for your recruiting teams, and you’re looking for actionable things you can do to improve diversity recruiting from the pre-funnel planning stage to sourcing, interviewing, and selecting. If so, you’ve come to the right place. There’s obviously a ton of diversity content out there, and we’re not trying to capture all of it, but on this page, we’re providing some curated content that’s designed to help you win in your job as a recruiting professional.

Diversity Goals

The goals you set for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging at your organization need to be specific to your opportunity areas, of course. But if you’re looking for inspiration, here’s a great list of 25 example publicly-shared diversity goals from companies like Amazon, McDonalds, Hilton, and Adidas. Learn how they’re thinking about their goals by level of talent, diverse slates, training, and investments in under-represented communities.

And if you want to see the progress companies are making, you should check out their public reports. Many companies now share their reports right on their websites. For example, here are Google’s and Deloitte’s and Uber’s. Most major US-based companies now link to their reports right from their corporate websites.

Strategy & Culture / Pre-Funnel Strategy for Diversity Recruiting

Sourcing and interviewing strategies are essential for increasing diverse hires, but diversity recruiting starts by addressing internal barriers and having challenging conversations. Here are some resources that outline important pre-sourcing steps:

Want to improve diversity ROI? We need to start pre-funnel.

Watch the 30-minute video below of John Vlastelica and Carmen Hudson presenting the early work – pre-sourcing – that recruiters need to do to improved diversity ROI (click here for more details and to download slides).

Strategic Diversity Recruiter Training

“I gained tremendous insight and understanding of diversity in recruitment. The workshop provided me a well-equipped toolbox to move forward for myself, my team, and my hiring managers. One of the best workshops I’ve ever participated in. 5/5!”

Director, HR, Louis Vuitton / LVMH

Attraction and Sourcing Strategy for Diversity Recruiting

Good sourcing starts with a deep understanding of must-have requirements, multiple candidate success profiles, and programs and strategies that widen the aperture and diversify your talent pools.

  • Why It’s Time to End the ‘Ideal Target Candidate Profile’: John Vlastelica wrote this popular post on LinkedIn’s Talent Blog to address a root issue that’s preventing us from getting more talent from under-represented groups.  John admits he was part of the problem earlier in his recruiting career, as he enabled a lot of “ideal, single target candidate profile” sourcing work with hiring managers.  Now he wants to fix that by widening the aperture.
  • Reframe the way you talk about talent from under-represented groups to focus more on #FOMO and untapped talent: LinkedIn’s Talent Blog featured John’s suggestions on how to influence hiring managers to think about diversity differently.  Traditionally, Influencing hiring teams to focus more on hiring from under-represented groups is framed up around social justice, innovation, legal issues/compliance, equal opportunity/fairness, etc. – all important and powerful reasons. But why don’t we talk more about missing out on great talent (#FOMO) or use terms like “untapped” or “under-employed” versus under-represented or diverse?
  • Widen your aperture by considering adjacent jobs with similar skill sets.  This data visualization tool – designed by a UK innovation firm – was built to help identify jobs most at risk for automation, but it serves another purpose.  It can help you identify jobs that have workers that may be similarly-skilled to the job you’re working on, so that you can broaden your search and consider people who may be able to make an easy transition into a new job.

Risks With Employee Referral Programs

Employee referral programs, when promoted, can be a predictable source of fresh candidates. And data suggests that referrals get hired faster, stay longer, and are more engaged than candidates from other sources. However, you will want to keep a close watch on the numbers and measure results to avoid unintended consequences. This 2017 Payscale study exposed some harsh truths about pay equity and referral candidates.

Internal Mobility

Tools and Guides for Sourcing Diverse Candidates

  • Unbias: A Chrome extension that removes names and photos from LinkedIn profiles.
  • To Hire More Women — Make This One Simple Change: LinkedIn article by Bruce Anderson. “This change can start with you, recruiters. You shape the candidate pipeline and control who the hiring manager sees. So our all-important tip is this . . . open more profiles of women when you’re sourcing.”

“Talent is equally distributed, opportunity is not.”

– Leila Janah, founder and CEO of Sama and LXMI

Interviewing and Selection Strategy for Diversity Recruiting

If you talk to a typical hiring manager, they’ll argue that 80%+ of their challenge in hiring more people from under-represented groups is all about sourcing. “Just find me more!” But, in our work with hundreds of companies, the majority of the challenges are actually mid-funnel, in the interviewing and selection process.

It doesn’t work to base hiring decisions on intuition and “culture fit” – turns out, we’ve all got assumptions and cognitive biases that shape our decisions. To make the best, diverse hires, you need to make sure your interview process uses valid selection methods and hires for culture add.

Diverse Slates

Research featured in the Harvard Business Review found that when the final candidate pool has one under-represented candidate, they have virtually zero chance of getting hired. However, if there are at least two under-represented candidates in the pool of finalists, the odds of hiring one of them go up significantly.

Since 2005, we’ve trained 10,000 hiring managers and interviewers from 30 countries.  Creating a fair, objective hiring process that gets teams speed, quality, and diversity is our goal.

Custom built, credibly delivered to build alignment, skills, and confidence in your interviewing teams.

Some important realities about interviewing for diversity:

  • Past experience doesn’t predict a new hire’s success. Hiring managers typically have strong preferences for candidates with exact-match past experience, from similar industries and companies, and resumes/profiles loaded with keyword matches, right?  But what if past experience – industry, function, years of experience – is actually not a good predictor of success?  Alison Beard of Harvard Business Review explores this and shares research where they found no significant correlation between past experience and future success.  (P.S. Uh, oh – what does that mean for behavioral interviewing?  Our team at Recruiting Toolbox teaches interviewing methodology that addresses this.  Learn more…)
  • Being “colorblind” hurts diversity recruiting efforts. Interesting Medium article by Mitch and Freada Kapor that explores issues when someone says they’re “colorblind” and explains one of our favorite ways of thinking about different experiences, “Distance Traveled”: “We take into account where a job candidate came from and how many obstacles they had to overcome to get to our door. We believe, and it’s borne out in practice, that this can be an important measure of work ethic and resilience.”
  • Want to promote pay equity? Don’t ask about previous salaries. LinkedIn article by Bruce Anderson, who explores research from Boston University’s School of Law that found that in states where salary history bans have been enacted, pay for those who switched jobs increased, on average, 5% to 6% more than for those who changed jobs in other states. But the boost was even larger for African Americans, who received increases that were 13% to 16% higher, and for women, who received bumps that were 8% to 9% higher.

Tech and Tools for Diversity Recruiting

Using Technology to Improve Diversity in the Hiring Process

Looking for ways that your company can use technology to improve diversity in your hiring process? This is the resource for you! The report is a piece of paid research from the Talent Tech Labs research library, typically available for members only, that they’ve shared with Recruiting Toolbox’s talent community to help promote diversity in the hiring process. TTL has outlined the areas in the hiring process that technology can improve, providing vendor examples, best practices, and considerations to ensure success.

Other Tech Tools

  • RecruiterHunt: An excellent resource for sourcing tools, apps, and websites, curated by our own Carmen Hudson.

Promoting Diversity Beyond Talent Acquisition

Savvy talent acquisition leaders recognize that to really improve diversity, inclusion, and equity at their company, they need to do more than just bring the right talent into the organization. They’re thinking more holistically about diversity, which means they think about onboarding, employee engagement, development, performance reviews, promotions, and retention – the full employee lifecycle.

While this is not a comprehensive list, we’ve pulled together a few of our favorite articles that address more holistic approaches that address thinking about diversity and inclusion, because diversity won’t stick unless you promote an inclusive workplace. Here are a few articles to help you think about it that way.

  • Fixing the flawed approach to diversity: Boston Consulting Group shares research study results on the most effective diversity and inclusion measures. The best practice solutions fall into three categories: Back-to-basics measures that all groups, regardless of age, gender, race or ethnicity, or LGBTQ status, agree are necessary and effective, Proven measures that employees of each diverse group—along with management—agree are effective, and “Hidden gems” for each group—initiatives that members of that group cite as effective yet are undervalued by company leaders.
  • Here’s a great overview of inclusive communication in day-to-day conversations with your team – it’s a very tactical, how-to guide for leaders.
  • Want to communicate your company’s inclusive culture to candidates? Include real employees’ stories in your recruitment marketing content. Check out these promotional videos that use employee stories to demonstrate inclusion.
Cartoon Diversity People

38 Ways to Make Real Progress on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

LinkedIn’s editor pulled together best practices from across many organizations for this great list of best practices. Our CEO John Vlastelica wrote an article that’s referenced in #2 of the 38 great ideas shared. If you’re looking for a pretty comprehensive list of actionable to-dos, check this out.

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Want training to improve your diversity recruiting? If you’re looking for ways to build up the skills and confidence of your recruiters, so that they can effectively influence hiring managers to widen their aperture, leverage diverse slates, interview effectively, and make quality, fair decisions, then check out our Strategic Diversity Recruiting Training. Companies like Nubank, Hulu, Louis Vuitton, and Vistaprint have engaged us to build custom diversity training for their TA teams.

And if you’re looking to improve your hiring manager and interviewer capabilities so that your teams attract, interview, select, and sell top talent from under-represented groups, check out our custom Interview Training. Not looking to hire a firm to help you build great training? No worries. Check out our suggestions for making your existing hiring manager/interview training better.