6 Straightforward Strategies to Truly Increase Your Diversity in Candidate Sourcing

By The Intersect Group

Yes, indeed: our talks on diversity and inclusion in recruiting here at The Intersect Group continue. We’ve discussed – and written about – how “looking” for “cultural fit” can lead to perpetuating unconscious bias in hiring, as well as looking at what inclusion really is and how companies can become more inclusive.

Now it’s time to “tackle” diversity in recruiting, particularly in candidate sourcing

We put “tackle” in quotation marks because this topic is far too vast to truly “take down and conquer” in just one blog post.

But it’s a start.

And so let’s begin with an easy definition of diversity.

When it comes to sourcing candidates, when we speak of diversity we mean that as a company we want to have more employees/contractors/freelancers, etc. who are:

  • Minorities
  • Women
  • Of ALL workforce-eligible ages
  • Of all shapes, sizes and abilities
  • Trans-gender and intersex
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and heterosexual
  • Of different religious and cultural beliefs

(We know this is an oversimplification of what diversity can – and should – be, but please bear with us.)

Here are six real-life, straightforward, workable strategies that will increase diversity in your candidate sourcing efforts

  1. Asking current employers/contractors who reflect the diverse groups listed above to refer their own connections.

Chances are great that employees on staff who fall into one of the diverse groups listed above know people with similar backgrounds and outlooks whom they feel would be good additions to your company’s employee roster.

Ask them if they know of anyone directly.  Even if they don’t, they can send job ads to their personal networks, share them on their social media channels, etc.

Not only are you likely to find more diverse candidate prospects as a result, you also help your current diverse employees feel that your company appreciates their experience/background and opinions.

  1. Provide internships/apprenticeships to specific diverse groups.

As you create “general” internships/apprenticeships for “any” type of student, consider expanding them to include people not in school or even older, mid-career individuals who are considering a career change or who need to restart their lives after a setback.

Consider a regular outreach program to schools and even community/activist groups in your neighborhood – if not nationwide – to make connections with diverse individuals. In fact, many groups like this often already have programs that help their members grow professionally and so it should be relatively easy for you to connect. You will be helping your community and get a new source for diverse job candidates.

  1. Hang out where “the good and diverse folks” hang out.

No doubt you have your tried-and-true groups, communities and other online places where you hunt for great people. So consider branching out to new online sources and communities.

For example, many online – and even offline groups – exist to help and encourage women; people of color; older job seekers; those who identify as gay/lesbian/gender diverse, etc.; and folks of different physical abilities to network with their peers. Network with them.

  1. Check your company policies and – if necessary – revise them so that they’re appealing to diverse individuals.

For example, what are you holiday policies? You probably are closed on December 25, but do you offer employees of different faiths PTO for their religious holidays? Another example: can those who are practicing Muslims take time several times a day for prayer?

In addition, how easy is it for workers to speak their mind when they feel certain policies need to be revised? Do you welcome such critiques, or is there an “unwritten rule” that bringing these topics up is not the “wisest” thing a current employee could do?

  1. Consider removing all personal info on resumes.

Unconscious bias exists and it’s hard to sniff out (after all, it’s unconscious). So consider asking an admin in your department to remove names, addresses, school names, as well as graduation dates and years worked at particular companies (these could give away an applicant’s age) on candidate resumes before you see them.

  1. Another “blind” technique is to have all screening “interviews” conducted via email.

Preliminary/screening interviews traditionally have been performed via phone (and now via Zoom/video). Think about asking applicants who look great on their resumes to answer via email the questions you’d ask in these screening interviews. This will help lessen any unconscious bias recruiters may have toward gender, age, race/nationality, and appearance.

What are you doing to increase diversity in candidate sourcing?

Many of you reading this may already be well on your way to improving your employee diversity. That said, do you have some strategies not listed here that work for you?

If so, let us know: we’d love to write a post about diversity and inclusion sourcing/recruiting ideas that work!