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7 Strategies for Hiring Diverse Candidates

By Diversity and Inclusion

Many companies strive to hire diverse candidates. It’s more than just a trend or a nice thing to have. It’s a must-have if you’re looking to represent Canadian society. Diversity also has a lot of benefits for companies, it increases creativity, profitability, and employee retention.

The first step in building a diverse workforce is to hire more diverse candidates. But where do you start?  

 If you’re wondering how to achieve the diversity goals, we’ll give you a few tools and strategies to get you started. 

But before we do that, let’s talk about diversity hiring and its essential.

What is Diversity Hiring?

Diversity recruiting is a merit-based recruitment process that is free from unconscious biases for or against individuals or groups of candidates.

The process should be structured to reduce biases related to candidates’ race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, or any other personal characteristics unrelated to their job performance and give them an equal opportunity.

While in the United States, many organizations follow the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines, in Canada, we don’t have similar guidelines. 

Here are proven strategies that will help you hire more diverse candidates 

1- Attract the Right Candidates with the Job Description

Start with auditing your past job ads. Notice if you’re only attracting specific candidates. 

Studies have found that the language you use in your job description helps to attract or deter candidates from applying to the role. But there are a few things you can do.

  • Find ways to be more inclusive in your language to appeal to candidates from different backgrounds. Remove discriminatory language from job descriptions — many job descriptions often contain unintentional bias.
  • Avoid including the long list of nice haves in your job requirement. Studies also indicate that women may not apply for a job unless they are 100% qualified
  • Go beyond the typical “equal employer” phrase. Don’t be afraid to write a job description with specific demographics to boost your diversity recruiting strategy. 

2- Encourage Diverse Referrals 

A great way to ensure a diverse talent pool is to be creative when sourcing your candidates. Don’t rely on the same sources repeatedly when seeking out diverse candidates. 

Creating a diverse candidate referral program is a wonderful tool to boost your diversity recruitment and showcase that your company values different backgrounds, which is fantastic for team morale and engagement. Here is how you can do it.

  • Leverage the network of your existing diverse employees by asking them for referrals from their network or community. 
  • Offer innovative referral bonuses to your employees who recommend candidates from underrepresented groups.
  • Encourage employees to share your job ads with their network and give them the tools they need to promote the company for you. 

3- Advertise your Open Jobs through Different Channels

To hire diverse candidates, you must get out of your comfort zone and proactively source candidates from diverse backgrounds.

If you’re doing the same thing — going to the same job fairs, posting jobs on the same platforms, then you need to shake things up a bit to find diverse candidates where they look for jobs.

We at Career Edge have many underrepresented and diverse candidates — from new grads (including many international students), newcomers to Canada, and people with disabilities. We help you find and hire an underrepresented candidate through the low-risk hiring solution, paid internships.

Contact us if you want to source diverse candidates, and we’ll help you.

4- Improve Candidate Screening Process

Screening candidates can be tricky. It often depends on many factors such as schools, previous jobs, and people they know — it can often decrease the diversity of the candidate pipeline. If your existing hiring process shows a misstep in candidate screening, there are a few ideas you can try.

Rethink Screening Factors 

Take some time to review what you value most in candidates and why, and honestly ask yourself if you’re inclined towards specific types of people. 

Ask your colleagues to get another perspective. If you are hiring based on bias, consider changing your screening methods.

Leverage ATS in Shortlisting

Use ATS to find candidates with the most potential and best skills for the job.

This tip removes personal opinions and only focuses on the job requirements. This will provide an impartial shortlist, free from bias and help you move towards improving diversity.

Bind Resumes

Another popular technique recruiters use to remove bias screening is blinding any personal information on resumes. Blinding information like names, schools, or locations can help reduce any unconscious bias.

5- Design an Interview Process to Work

The interview process is the hardest part of the diversity recruiting process. 

Many interviewers make their decision within seconds by relying on our gut feelings just by looking at the candidate. Interview the right way by giving all candidates the same opportunity. Here is how.

Use Blind Interviews

Blind interviews use the same principle as blinding out resumes. You can do that by sending candidates questionnaires through your recruitment process. When candidates answer these questions, you will know about their skills before getting into the interview bias-free.

Introduce Diverse Interview Panels

Include a selection of your employees from different backgrounds to collaborate in hiring and avoid unconscious biases. 

Hire and Train recruiters to Focus on Diversity

Train your recruiters on how to avoid bias in recruitment. You can also hire trained recruiters to hire diverse candidates or a specialized company that can do that for you. 

6- Evaluate your Diversity Hiring Metrics

Assess the diversity of your hiring process and identify any potential roadblocks. The easiest way to improve your diversity hiring is by picking one metric to track.

For example, you can decide to increase the percentage of qualified visible minority employees by 10% within the next six months.

Track and evaluate your diversity efforts by asking these questions.

  • Did you hit your diversity goal?
  • Which strategies were effective and which ones weren’t? 
  • Where are your best diverse candidates coming from?

7- Create Policies Reinforcing Diversity and Inclusion 

It’s one thing to value diversity but another to live up to those values.

The best way to boost diversity in your workplace is to proactively implement company policies and a brand that values people and ideas from all backgrounds. 

Creating a diverse workplace doesn’t just stop with hiring. Here are some things you can do to reinforce diversity values in the workplace.

  • Be flexible with your time off and consider more religious holidays for different communities.
  • Promote flexible work hours that will allow different candidates to continue work while having the life they choose. 
  • Encourage employees to open up and have a dialogue to ensure everyone feels welcome and heard.
  • Manage internal campaigns and educate employees to make diversity an inherent part of your culture. 

If you want to keep attracting and hiring underrepresented candidates, your brand should reflect that. Diverse candidates will seek out companies who put in the effort to support those values.

diversity hiring benefits career edge

6 Benefits of Diversity Hiring That You May Not Know About

By Diversity and Inclusion

Hiring a diverse workforce has become a priority for so many companies worldwide. While it’s still optional for many employers in Canada, some governments worldwide are starting to regulate it.

Some businesses want to attract a diverse group of people to reflect the community, but that’s not the only advantage. Diversity in the workplace has many more benefits than just ticking a box. 

What is EDI or Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Workplace?

Diversity and inclusion hiring provide opportunities for underrepresented groups that wouldn’t otherwise be considered because of biases related to a candidate’s age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or any characteristics unrelated to their job performance.

There is a common misconception that EDI hiring aims to increase workplace diversity for the sake of diversity. The objective of diversity hiring is to identify and reduce potential unconscious biases in screening, shortlisting, and hiring qualified candidates. The long-term goal for EDI hiring is to create a culture of inclusivity and diversity in the workplace to reflect society.

Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace

Diversity recruitment isn’t only the right thing to do, but it’s also the smart thing to do. When a business recruits and retains a diverse pool of people, it benefits the company and its employees. 

Here are some of the benefits that employment diversity could improve your business in the short and long run.

1. Improving Sales 

Diverse companies are more profitable and more likely to achieve long-term growth as an entity when compared to less-diverse counterparts. 

Forbes research has identified that workforce diversity and inclusion create better performance for product development and new markets, while companies with diverse top management reap the benefits of higher earnings and returns on equity.

According to McKinsey’s research, for every 1% increase in diversity, the company should predict a 3% to 9% increase in sales revenue.

2. Decreasing Turnover 

Companies that recruit and retain a diverse workforce have a competitive advantage. 

Many employees prefer companies with diverse workforces because this shows that the company is open, accepting, and free of discrimination. This leads to happier employees who feel loyal to their company and are more likely to stay there for years. 

Decreased turnover rates can also save time and money, improve recruiting efforts and help you get the brightest available talent through your doors.

3. Increasing Creativity

Growing up, living, and working in a different country often gives immigrants to Canada a unique perspective that can enrich your company’s decision-making processes. When you have a wide variety of minds working together to solve a problem or help your company achieve some goals, you get unique and out-of-the-box solutions.

Professors Hong and Page from the University of Michigan showed that groups of diverse problem solvers could outperform groups of high-ability problem solvers.

4. Cultivating a Resilient Workforce 

In today’s ever-changing market, the ability to adapt to sudden and unforeseen events can make or break your business.

Luckily for you, diverse groups of immigrants come with a proven ability to stand in the face of any change. They’ve left their countries, families, and lives as they know them, hustled, and settled in Canada. 

If you want to increase your company’s resilience, these are the kinds of employees you should be hiring.

5. Better Access to Local and International Markets

The Canadian market is so diverse right now, with one in five Canadians identifying as an immigrant. 

Hiring diverse immigrant groups is only natural because it reflects the community. Companies with a diverse staff are better positioned to meet the needs of diverse customer bases. They can also help a company tailor its messages and approach and better connect with different groups in the market.

It doesn’t just work locally; immigrants can be an invaluable asset if your company wants to expand internationally. They can often offer up insights and contacts in their home country and save their employers time and money.

6. Enhancing Corporate Reputation

Inclusive companies that hire a diverse workforce are more likely to be viewed positively in their industry.

Being recognized as an inclusive organization can help your company receive good press and develop a strong employer brand, which will help you improve your reputation. 

Career Edge partners such as RBC, Scotia Bank, TD Bank, Manulife, TTC, and the City of Toronto have been receiving Canada’s Best Diversity Employers award for years. This program recognizes employers across Canada with exceptional workplace diversity and inclusiveness programs.

Want to hire a more diverse workforce? Get in touch with Career Edge today!

Aboriginal Inclusion in the Workplace

By Diversity and Inclusion

By Guest Blogger: Rizwan Abdul, Client Relations and Human Resources Manager, Career Edge Organization

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Aboriginal inclusion in the workplace is a critical part of the overall discourse that is taking place around diversity and inclusion in the Canadian workplace today.

Canadian employers are seeing a clear business case in making their organizations inclusive of Aboriginal people and other underrepresented groups as diversity maximizes the potential of all employees, lowers employee turnovers, broadens customer base and increases work productivity. Diversity brings cohesiveness to the workplace.

Moreover, the impending skills shortage faced by Canadian employers today may call for creative hiring solutions. Aboriginal people represent an important part of this solution, with a growth rate that is six times faster than general population.

Unfortunately, Aboriginal inclusion has its own challenges as there are gaps still prevalent that are acting as barriers for true Aboriginal inclusion in the workplace. In an effort to make their workplace practices truly welcoming, employers are still working to expand their understanding of the historical and cultural journey of Aboriginal people in Canada.

Conventional practices around recruitment, retention and promotion alone would not suffice to make an organization an employer of choice for Aboriginal people. This is best achieved when organizational goals and Aboriginal inclusion goals are linked together and inclusion becomes an organization competency, part of managerial performance evaluations.

An optimal Aboriginal inclusion strategy is also backed by leadership and commitment, long-term goals, accountability, relationship building, creative recruitment, retention and promotion strategies and plan for implementation and measurement.

What are we doing?

At Career Edge Organization, Aboriginal inclusion is viewed as journey that will include lots of learning and sharing of best practices with our host organizations and partnering community agencies. We are currently working on streamlining our processes where our host organizations would be able to hire aboriginal interns through the paid internship programs we offer that are meant for recent graduates: Career Edge and Ability Edge.

In our quest for ongoing learning and understanding of Aboriginal inclusion in the workplace, I recently attended a Workshop titled “Mastering Aboriginal Inclusion”. The workshop was offered during the yearly conference called “Inclusion Works” organized by the Aboriginal Human Resource Council. Some of the critical areas that were covered in the workshop were: understanding the business case for Aboriginal inclusion, the historical exclusion of Aboriginal people and how to increase an organization’s ability to recruit, retain and advance Aboriginal peoples.

In our journey so far, we have encountered some notable successes that include the three Aboriginal interns who were placed in one of the major Canadian banks within the last three months. We continue to see more of our host employers hiring aboriginals through our paid internship programs. Our goal is to make our internships a viable medium for qualified recent Aboriginal graduates to establish their careers.