How Do You Make Diversity a Hiring Priority at the Hiring Stage?


What is diversity hiring? Diversity hiring is hiring based on merit with special care taken to ensure procedures have reduced biases related to a candidate’s age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and other personal characteristics that are inherently unrelated to their job performance. The goal of diversity hiring is to identify and reduce potential biases in sourcing, screening and shortlisting candidates that may be ignoring, turning off or accidentally discriminating against qualified, diverse candidates.


Conducting a diversity hiring audit on an organization’s current hiring process will assist leaders in assessing the diversity of the current hiring process and identify any potential bottlenecks and discrepancies; helping to distinguish if it is a top of the funnel issue or more of a leaking pipeline issue. Leaders should look at the strengths and weaknesses in their diversity hiring and come up with viable solutions to continuously improve the organization’s diversity in their hiring practices.


Trying to overhaul an organization’s diversity hiring metrics can be overwhelming but the simplest way to improve diversity hiring is to pick a specific metric to improve upon. It could be increasing the percentage of qualified female employees in tech-related roles by 10% within 6 months or increasing the percentage of qualified visible minorities on the sales team by 15% within 12 months.


If the diversity hiring audit reveals that the firm is failing to find and attract diverse candidates in the first place, there are several things leaders can do to increase diversity hiring when sourcing for candidates. Studies have found that the language used in job descriptions helps to attract or turn off diverse candidates from applying. Re-wording job postings can prove to be effective - to attract more female candidates, avoid using too many “masculine-type” words (e.g., ambitious, dominant, challenging) in the job posting. One of the biggest barriers to increasing workplace diversity is that diversity attracts diversity and Glassdoor found out that 67% of job seekers use diversity as an important factor when considering companies and job offers. Therefore, it is important to showcase the existing workplace diversity within the organization through pictures and videos of the workplace on the organisation’s website and social media platforms.


Offering work from home options and flexible work hours not only attracts more diverse candidates, it helps to decrease expensive turnover. In general, people’s social and professional networks are made up of people who are demographically similar. Leaders can leverage this network similarity effect by encouraging minority employees to make referrals which keeps a constant stream of diversity hiring with the added benefits of hiring from referrals


Many of the usual criteria for candidate screening such as their prior company, their school or their personal connection often decrease the diversity of the candidate pipeline. If the above-mentioned diversity hiring audit reveals that the organization has a leaking pipeline in their candidate screening, there are a few tools leaders can consider using. Companies should implement the use of a pre-hire personality assessment as it helps to increase workplace diversity because these personality scores do not significantly differ for minority group members (i.e., no adverse impact) and boosts the racial diversity at workplaces. Companies can also consider blind hiring, which is any technique that anonymizes personal information about a candidate from the recruiter or hiring manager that can lead to unconscious (or conscious) bias about the candidate. Currently, software that anonymizes resumes by removing names, schools and even addresses prove to be effective. Additionally, software that anonymizes pre-hire testing exists and is showing promising signs of reducing unconscious bias.

If the above-mentioned diversity hiring audit reveals the bottleneck is in the candidate shortlisting, there are two techniques to tackle this issue: research featured in Harvard Business Review found that when the final candidate pool has only one minority candidate, the candidate has virtually no chances of being hired. However, if there are at least two female candidates in the final candidate pool, the odds of hiring a female candidate are 79 times greater. If there are at least two minority candidates in the final candidate pool, the odds of hiring a minority candidate are 194 times greater. Hence, the “two in the pool effect.” Automated intelligent shortlisting increases workplace diversity by replacing the most tedious and time-consuming part of recruitment which is manual shortlisting. Intelligent shortlisting software lives inside the automated intelligent shortlisting and uses the resume database to learn about existing employees’ experience, skills and other relevant criteria. The shortlisting software then objectively and consistently applies this criteria across all candidates, which reduces problems related to unconscious biases and accidental discrimination.


Lastly, leaders should look back at their diversity hiring metric goal they decided on and check if they managed to hit their goal. Furthermore, they can determine which strategies were effective and which ones were not, before deciding to rinse and repeat if they were successful, and evaluate which strategies were effective and which ones were not and reiterate the parts of the process that did not work out if they were not successful.


Workplace diversity and inclusion is a top priority for HR today. Collecting data before and after any diversity hiring initiative can help leaders to assess the success of their strategies and reiterate what is not working. This data will prove to be essential to the entire organization’s direction towards diversity hiring moving forward. If we are the kind of people you want to work with, we are hiring. Contact us!


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