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How to Find and Hire More Diverse Candidates | close up view of a white hand with gold nail polish picks a gamepiece out of a crowd

How to Find and Hire More Diverse Candidates

85% of CEOs believe a diverse workforce improves company performance and profitability. Additionally, they report benefits such as increases in innovation, ability to attract talent, customer satisfaction, and capability to compete in new markets. These strong benefits show why leading companies continue to prioritize diversity hiring efforts.

A diverse team will give you a more rounded view of any situation or problem, making your organization more successful.  To succeed, hiring teams must take a long-term approach where the recruitment, hiring, and retention strategies all support a diversity culture.  

So how can you improve your company’s diversity? Keep reading for our best tips on hiring diversity and how you can build a pool of diverse applicants to recruit from. 

Evaluate Your Current Recruitment Strategy 

Before you can improve your hiring practices you must first establish what is working and what isn’t. Is the problem with the recruitment workflow or hiring process? Are you getting many diverse applicants, but few are hired? Maybe you’re getting zero interest from minority candidates?  Identifying where the problem is will make it easier to solve. Also, make sure that the whole organization knows the importance of diversity so they can find creative ways to embrace it.  

Diversify Your Candidate Sourcing 

One way to increase the diversity of your candidates is to hire from many different sources. Below are some great places to find excellent candidates:  

Industry Groups 

When finding applicants of a specific demographic, such as BIPOC people in tech, the best place to hire from is industry groups. For instance, you can hire from communities like PDXWIT which helps those who are underrepresented in tech advance in their careers.  

Be visible and active in these community groups by sponsoring their activities, speaking at their conferences, and encouraging employees to join as members. This way when you have an open position you can advertise it to the group. 

Some communities also have social media groups on platforms like LinkedIn, WhatsApp, and Facebook. Foster a relationship with the group admins and they can share any job openings you have with their groups.  

Diversity Job Boards 

Another great place to find diverse candidates is to post your open role on diversity job boards. Look for inclusive job boards that have plenty of channels for different groups such as African Americans, those with disabilities, LGBTQIA+, women in tech, veterans, and those for job seekers with a criminal record to find Second Chance employers.  

Job Referrals 

Encourage employees to connect with their networks and refer people they know. To boost the effort, consider creating a company-wide referral incentive program for any job opening, or consider focusing on a dedicated program for hard-to-fill positions. In either situation, referral programs can help build a sense of community and collaboration and can increase the likelihood of employees recommending high-quality candidates. 

Use a Recruiting Company 

If you are having a hard time finding a diverse pool of qualified candidates, consider using a recruiting firm for your hiring. A recruiter who is knowledgeable in hiring market trends and is experienced using multiple sourcing techniques has access to the networks and candidate pools to support diversity hiring initiatives. Be sure to research and choose companies with a proven reputation for building strong, long-term relationships with their communities. 

Create a Diverse Company Culture  

Another key step if you want to attract and hire diverse candidates is to build a company culture that embraces diversity. Making this part of your employer brand can help attract larger numbers of diverse applicants. Plus, walking the walk is just as important as talking the talk.  

HR policies that promote inclusion can help build trust with minority groups, positioning your organization as a good company to work for. For instance, flexible work and remote work options (where possible) could allow you to cast a wider net for talent located in different areas.  

You must also have a fair pay structure. Candidates that are often being underpaid in their current roles may ask for less than the position with your company pays. Put structures in place that ensure candidates are offered competitive wages for the role based on experience, skills, and education/training.  You could also offer relocation assistance to potential employees if they live far away from your company, which could be valuable in attracting candidates from all over the country. 

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Have a Diverse Hiring Team 

Evaluate the makeup of your hiring team – are they from a variety of demographics?  

Do your best to compose your hiring team with a broad mix of individuals as much as possible. Use the same practice for assembling interview panels. Not only will applicants feel more welcomed and at ease, but a diverse interview panel can see a candidate’s potential in different areas.  

Eliminate Unconscious Bias  

Your hiring practices may need to be evaluated to ensure your job opportunities welcome a broad and diverse audience. Start with your job ads – are they written in a manner that’s friendly and inviting? For instance, if you put many unnecessary requirements in your job postings, qualified women may not apply if they don’t meet all your criteria. Consider defining which requirements are truly mandatory and which are preferred.

Ensure that all your job ads are neutrally worded and encourage applicants from all backgrounds. Verbiage like “must be able to lift 50 pounds” may exclude those with physical disabilities even though there may be a reasonable accommodation available for that task. Also try to avoid phrases like “must adapt quickly in a demanding/rapidly changing environment,” as that type of language is universally intimidating. You can also remove  unconscious bias from your hiring process through blind resumes and structured interviews. 

Promote From Within 

Another great way to increase the diversity in your organization is to promote from within as a long-term strategy. Perhaps you have high-potential employees that don’t have the skills or education for certain positions. Keep them in your company by encouraging them toward the training and schooling required so they can qualify for higher positions.  

If possible, consider an internal job shadowing program to help educate them on what day-to-day duties would look like in a different role. You can offer internships and support them in their career growth. Create career development plans, offer training, education support, and scholarships to attract and retain the best talent. 

The Right Intentional Choices Create Hiring Diversity 

Hiring diversity is a worthy goal that can increase the profitability and success of your company. But to succeed at building a diverse company, you must take a long-term and multifaceted approach. Be intentional and thoughtful with the goal of inclusion at the heart of all efforts. 

If you’ve thought through these concepts and haven’t acted yet, it’s ok! Make a plan and take one step forward. You’ll learn and grow along the way! 

Ready to connect with the best talent for your organization? Reach out to our account management team today! 

Charlie Baumann - VanderHouwen

Charlie Baumann

Senior Technical Recruiter