5 Expert Secrets To Increase Workplace Diversity

Think about all of the job candidates you’ve interviewed recently. Did they have the same resumes or the same answers to your interview questions? Were they all dressed in the same nondescript ways?

It might not be something you notice right away, but unless you focus on workplace diversity in your hiring process, it’ll leave you with candidates and employees who are all the same. And that can hurt your company in ways you don’t realize. Research from McKinsey & Company found companies that are more gender-diverse are more likely to outperform a homogenous workplace by 15 percent. Ethnically-diverse companies outperform by 35 percent.

So then the question becomes how do you increase your workplace diversity by getting a wider-range of candidates? Here’s what several hiring experts had to say on the subject:

1. Have a plan and give it time.

If the culture is inclusive, innovative, and seeking bottom-line impact, diverse talent has proven multipliers to achieve these metrics. If seeking diverse talent is more of a project and not embedded in the culture, it will fizzle like the rest of the side projects. Create connections and conversations to diversify talent before you are looking to fill specific roles. Fund events for the types of candidates you are looking for — Women in Tech or African Americans in Finance

It is often easier to hire people just like you, perceived as less risk and more comfort in your choices. It takes time and recognition of the individual and cultural biases that exist to be open to different thoughts, ideas, and approaches that are different from the perceived norm. There are many noted benefits to diverse thought, but it takes time to cultivate a culture that can invite and engage diverse candidates.

JJ DiGeronimo

JJ DiGeronimo, President, Tech Savvy Women

2. Know where to look for diverse candidates.

One key benefit of having a diverse group of candidates go through your hiring process is that diversity allows for candidates to showcase their qualifications and experiences from different perspectives.

When a company has a slate of candidates who are homogeneous, they may be missing key insight from candidates who would help lead to a more successful organization overall. This is important because with varied life experiences comes varied knowledge and abilities. Having a pool of diverse, qualified candidates, can position an organization to have a competitive advantage.

The best ways to find and attract a wide variety of candidates is to leverage several collaborative sourcing and recruiting strategies that would reach a larger pool of diverse candidates. This includes social media, race-specific industry associations, and organizations that focus specifically on providing diverse candidates to organizations.

In order to identify and appeal to diverse candidates, talent acquisition professionals must go where diverse candidates are and be diligent in intentionally targeting these types of candidates.  

brittanyking

Brittany King, Career Coach, My Career In Gear

3. Post job listings everywhere.

Post ads everywhere — not just the paid places, but all the networking forums and job boards, too. Recently, our Human Resources Manager started posting our job ad around universities, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the results. College students are eager, informed, and more than ready to work their butts off for any opportunity that presents itself.

It makes the hiring process so much simpler — instead of choosing between two remarkably similar candidates, you have a rainbow of options. Before we diversified our search for Virtual Assistants, we got the same types of resumes from the same demographics and hiring decisions were horrifically difficult. Now we have so many options! Less people make it through pre-screening, but we get a wider range of brilliant and qualified candidates. It’s a great problem to have.

Braelin Andrzejewski

Braelin Andrzejewski,  Founding President, Hiring Manager, Virtual Assistant Link

4. Ask scenario-based questions.

Ask the right interview questions. Finding a great employee starts with mastering the art of asking scenario questions. Drop the traditional “tell me about a time when…” questions and start asking questions that test how that person will act in a given situation. Scenario questions set apart the “ideal” candidates from the diamonds in the rough.

Anyone can tell you what they did, but a diamond in the rough can tell you what they will do. Real-life scenario questions demand that a candidate use their analytical and problem solving skills and, in many ways, are better at predicting a candidate’s future performance than typical interview questions are.

When you ask the right type of scenario questions, you force the candidate into real-time critical thinking. This allows you to observe how they handle acting in stressful situations and provides insight into how they may handle the actual pressures of the job.

Greg Spillane

Greg Spillane, Chief Operating Officer at Events.com

5. Be prepared to bring talent to you.

A company’s best talent isn’t always in its backyard. Recruiters, particularly those in the tech industry, are currently faced with the challenge of finding the right talent.

To help hone in on the perfect candidates and convince them to accept job offers, recruiters are relying on strong relocation strategies. A strong relocation package allows recruiters to search for talent outside of their region and “tip the scale” for candidates who may have previously been wary about the headache of moving.”

Jeff Ellman

Jeff Ellman, Co-founder and President, UrbanBound

What are some other ways you can attract more diverse candidates to increase workplace diversity? Share in the comments below!