Diversity Begins and Ends With a Sense of Belonging in the Hiring Process

Experts Agree: Diversity Begins and Ends With a Sense of Belonging in the Hiring Process

Diversity isn’t a buzzword hiring pros are using to attract top talent. They’re serious about it, and the strong focus on improving diversity isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

In fact, in LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2018 report, 78 percent of recruiters say diversity is “very” or “extremely” important to their recruitment strategy. Another 53 percent say they’ve already “mostly” or “completely” adopted it.

This push toward diversity hiring is a result of company leaders wanting to create a unique and positive employee experience, increase company-wide productivity, and improve retention.

However, without belonging, these diversity efforts won’t have a lasting impact on employees and their organizations. That’s why 57 percent of recruiters in LinkedIn’s report also said they’re “very” or “extremely” focused on belonging.

To create the best possible employee experience, this sense of belonging must start during the hiring process. Here’s how the experts go about doing just that:

1. Enhance blind hiring

Jori FordThe broken hiring process begins with recruiting. Too often, managers hand recruiters job descriptions with a ‘type’ of person already in mind. We all fall into certain categories, but as human beings, we can’t fully be personified by any one set of attributes.  

The keys to recruiting diverse hires are a strategy centered around balanced cultural understanding, exposing candidates to the inclusive and egalitarian nature of the business early on, and developing an approach to answering questions that candidates may have, even before they ask.

Despite its shortcomings, blind hiring is a good practice that, with some tweaks, can support diversity as well as cultural fit within a candidate pool. At G2 Crowd, we give an aptitude and personality test to every potential candidate.

When it comes to blind hiring, the concern for many is that it won’t support cultural fit. However, these concerns can be addressed by centering company culture around inclusion. When given standardized, open-format questions, candidates can demonstrate what they value, without having to reveal who they are in a face-to-face meeting.

Jori Ford, Senior Director of SEO and Brand Marketing, G2 Crowd

2. Don’t harbor the candidates

Alison ProffitBelonging can be a critical component of creating acceptance and reducing the occurrence of harassment and discrimination. It brings a more human aspect to the equation which reduces the chances of discrimination and harassment.

An interview process that involves current employees is a great way to create that sense of belonging. Unfortunately, many professionals don’t expose candidates to the work area at all during the hiring process.

Take them on a tour, show them the unique or beautiful areas of your building as well as the utilitarian spaces like the breakroom. By introducing them to the people they might work alongside and asking them questions about their impression along the tour, you’ll create natural conversations.

Alison Proffit, Success Coach and Founder of Amazing Journey Coaching

3. Cut the act

Simon SladeSometimes, a team is encouraged to put on a little bit of a show for a new hire. If you encourage your team to impress the new hire to create an illusion of formal professionalism or casual culture that doesn’t align with reality, the potential hire can often tell.

Don’t try to fake it — always be honest about how your company operates and how the team interacts.

If you’re seriously considering a candidate, take them on a social outing with the team during the hiring process. If you’re a team of telecommuters (most of my staff work remotely), invite them into the group chat or let them sit in on a conference call to see how the group interacts with one another.

Furthermore, don’t be afraid to speak candidly about company culture in an interview. Ask the potential hire what kind of professional community they’re looking for and how they see themselves belonging to your team.

Simon Slade, CEO and Co-Founder of Affilorama and SaleHoo and Co-Founder of Smtp2Go