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.
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.