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.
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:
- Diversity Recruiting Efforts Won’t Significantly Improve Until We Address These Two Barriers: John Vlastelica wrote an article for the LinkedIn Talent Blog outlining two significant internal cultural barriers to diversity recruiting success. A hyper-focus on speed/time to fill and the perceived safeness of only hiring candidates from hiring manager preferred backgrounds.
- 12 Conversations to Help Recruiters Build More Inclusive Hiring Teams: Matt Grove outlined some lessons learned from our work with world-class companies, including a list of 12 topics for critical conversations recruiters should be having with hiring managers to improve diversity recruiting ROI.
- What Recruiters Can Do to Ensure Every Candidate Has a Fair Shot at the Interview: John Vlastelica writes this LinkedIn Talent Blog post about the things we can and should do to improve access to opportunities for all candidates. How are you – as a recruiting team – ensuring the people you want to hire are set up for success?
- VIDEO: Why Talent Acquisition Is Pivotal in Building Culture – And How to Do It:
In this 60 minute LinkedIn Live recorded interview with Dr Tana M. Session, John discusses how TA can influence and build culture, how to hire for culture add, and how to influence the business to better engage around diversity and inclusion.
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).
“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?
Degree Inflation: Relax your degree requirements to expand your pool of potential candidates. “The capacity to create economic inclusion is affected by degree requirements. When you say ‘college required,’ you’re excluding 80 percent-plus of African Americans and 85 percent-plus of the Latinx population.” Check out the research and company examples here.
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.
- Five Big Ideas to Improve Diversity Sourcing Success: Carmen Hudson presents ideas to improve diversity recruiting ROI from her SourceCon presentation. You can download the PDF of her slides here.
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.
- Learn how Salesforce built its internal mobility program with a focus on coaching people from under-represented groups, and how it’s impacting their D&I work.
Tools and Guides for Sourcing Diverse Candidates
- Unbias: A Chrome extension that removes names and photos from LinkedIn profiles.
- Justice Map – Find Racial Diversity by Geography: Visualize race and income across the USA.
- 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.
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.
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.
- We need to prepare our hiring managers to answer questions from candidates about our company diversity goals, practices, and progress.
- Read the case study on how Electronic Arts improved diversity outcomes by aligning hiring teams on what good looks like, hiring manager expectations, interview team composition, and more. John Vlastelica shares how our client EA Games leveraged a partnership between an invested C-level executive and the TA team to drive changes in how they hired, all with a goal of increasing representation.
Tech and Tools for Diversity Recruiting
Using Technology to Improve Diversity in the Hiring Process
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.
- Meaningful ways companies support LGBTQ+ employees: LinkedIn article by Samantha McLaren, where she shares five specific examples of companies supporting LGBTQ+ employees.
- 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.
- Inc Magazine: It’s Time to Get Real About Inclusion. We need to improve our performance management, mentoring, and promotion processes. Recruiting is not enough. “In one Harvard Business Review study, 43 percent of people of color…had at least one mistake mentioned in their evaluations, compared with just 26 percent of white men.”
- 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.
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.