People analytics thought leader Josh Bersin has stated that workplace diversity and inclusion is a top priority for 2016. Companies have notably stepped up. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has pledged $300 million to increase the diversity hiring of women and underrepresented minorities.

It’s time to step up and do more. It’s not good enough to say we value diversity.
-Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO

That’s why I’ve created this 6 step how-to guide for attracting diverse candidates to help you achieve your diversity hiring goals.

What is diversity hiring? A definition

Diversity hiring is hiring based on merit with special care taken to ensure procedures are free from biases related to a candidate’s age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and other personal characteristics that are unrelated to their job performance.

In the United States, many organizations follow the Federal EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) guidelines.

Confusion over diversity hiring sometimes lies in the mistaken perception that the goal of diversity hiring is to increase workplace diversity for the sake of diversity.

The goal of diversity hiring is to identify and remove potential biases in sourcing, screening, and shortlisting candidates that may be ignoring, turning off, or accidentally discriminating against qualified, diverse candidates.

Step 1: Conduct a diversity hiring audit on your current hiring process

Assess the diversity of your current hiring process and identify any potential bottlenecks and discrepancies. Is it a top of the funnel issue? Or is is more of a leaking pipeline issue?

Until you analyze your diversity hiring data, you can’t get an accurate picture of how to move the needle.

Ask yourself:

  • What are the strengths of my diversity hiring?
  • What are the challenges in my diversity hiring?

Step 2: Pick one metric to improve for your diversity hiring

Trying to overhaul your diversity hiring metrics can be overwhelming. Intel’s CEO has set an aggressive goal of diversity parity by 2020. But you don’t need to be so ambitious. The simplest way to improve your diversity hiring is to pick one metric to improve upon.

For example, maybe it’s 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 your sales team by 15% within 12 months.

Interested in a tool for diversity hiring?

Step 3: Increase your diversity hiring in your candidate sourcing

If your diversity hiring audit reveals that you’re failing to find and attract diverse candidates in the first place, there are several things you can do.

Tip 1: Re-word your job posting

Studies has found that the language you use in your job description helps to attract or turn off diverse candidates from applying to your open role. To attract more female candidates, avoid using too many “masculine-type” words (e.g., ambitious, dominate, challenging) in your job posting. Check out if your job posting might be turning off female candidates using this nifty tool here.

Tip 2: Show your existing workplace diversity (or the diversity you aspire to)

One of the biggest barriers to increasing workplace diversity is that diversity attracts diversity. Glassdoor found that 67% of job seekers use diversity is an important factor when considering companies and job offers.

Take a look at the pictures and videos of your workplace on your website and social profiles. Pictures and videos of your employees should show their diversity.

Tip 3: Offer workplace flexibility

Research has found a strong predictor of employees’ quitting is a long commute. Because distance from downtown office locations is often correlated with more diverse neighbourhoods, offering work from home options and flexible work hours not only attract more diverse candidates, it helps decrease expensive turnover.

Tip 4: Encourage referrals from minority employees

In general, people’s social and professional networks are made up of people who are demographically similar. You can leverage this network similarity effect by encouraging minority employees to make referrals since they are more likely to refer members of their community. Minority employee referrals help increase your diversity hiring with the added benefits of hiring from referrals in the first place.

Step 4: Increase your diversity hiring in your candidate screening

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 your diversity hiring audit reveals that you have a leaking pipeline at your candidate screening, there are a couple great tools you can try.

Tool 1: Pre-hire assessment

Research has found that companies that use a pre-hire personality assessment have workplaces that are more racially diverse. Personality assessments help increase workplace diversity because personality scores do not significantly differ for minority group members (i.e., no adverse impact).

Tool 2: Blind hiring

Blind hiring is any technique that anonymizes or “blinds” 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 as well as software that anonymizes pre-hire testing exist and are showing promising signs of reducing unconscious bias.

Step 5: Increase your diversity hiring in your candidate shortlisting

If your diversity hiring audit reveals the bottleneck is in your candidate shortlisting, there are two techniques you should know about.

Technique 1: The “two in the pool effect”

Research featured in Harvard Business Review found that when the final candidate pool has only one minority candidate, he or she has virtually no chances of being hired.

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 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.”

Technique 2: Intelligent shortlisting

Automated intelligent shortlisting increases workplace diversity by replacing the most tedious and time-consuming part of recruitment: manual shortlisting.

Intelligent shortlisting software lives inside your ATS and uses your resume database to learn about existing employees’ experience, skills, and other criteria. The shortlisting software then objectively and consistently applies this criteria across all candidates, which reduces problems related to unconscious biases and accidental discrimination.

Step 6: Evaluate your diversity hiring metrics

Go back to the diversity hiring metric goal you decided on in Step 2. Did you hit your goal? Which strategies were effective and which ones weren’t? If you were successful at hitting your diversity hiring goal, rinse and repeat. If not, evaluate which strategies were effective and which ones weren’t and re-iterate your process.

The takeaways

Workplace diversity and inclusion is a top priority for HR in 2016. Diversity hiring is hiring based on merit with special care taken to ensure procedures are free from biases related to a candidate’s age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and other personal characteristics that are unrelated to their job performance.

To increase your diversity hiring, take the following 6 steps:

  • Step 1: Conduct a diversity hiring audit on your current hiring process
  • Step 2: Pick one metric to improve for your diversity hiring
  • Step 3: Increase your diversity hiring in your candidate sourcing
  • Step 4: Increase your diversity hiring in your candidate screening
  • Step 5: Increase your diversity hiring in your candidate shortlisting
  • Step 6: Evaluate your diversity hiring metrics

Remember to collect data before and after any diversity hiring initiative to assess the success of your strategies and re-iterate what’s not working. Free diversity hiring demo

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Ji-A Min

Ji-A Min

Head Data Scientist at Ideal
Ji-A Min is the Head Data Scientist at Ideal. With a Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Ji-A promotes best practices and data-based HR. She writes about trends and research in talent acquisition, people analytics, and workplace diversity.
Ji-A Min