How to Hire for Diversity

It is widely accepted among the hiring community that sourcing and recruiting for talents, skills and abilities is the optimal goal when tasked to fill an open role. In other words, employers and recruiters are not overtly biased in the methods in which they attract new employees, but rather, wish to hire the candidate with the proven transferable abilities to hit the ground running on the new job.

Moreover, they work hard to avoid bias, for many reasons, not the least of which is protecting their brand reputation for having a diverse workforce. It’s often said that more diverse workforces encourage innovation of thought, service and product development.

With this in mind, how can hiring executives better source, recruit and hire diverse candidates? What should they look for on resumes? How can they remove bias? How can they attract diverse candidates?

How to Leverage the Resume Vetting Process to Seek Out More Diverse Candidates

While the resume in and of itself does not (typically) prevent biased decision-making, it does offer you an opportunity to intentionally dissect—or even remove—data that will be relevant or repelling to your diverse hiring goals.

Open Up Candidacies to “Older” Job Seekers

For example, you may intentionally seek out candidates who are of an experience level that is counterintuitive to your typical new-hire. If you generally only consider candidates for your marketing assistant roles with five or fewer years of experience, then identifying and interviewing more experienced (translation: older) applicants from your system who have expressed interest in transitioning to a new career or reentering the workforce, will help you up your age-diverse quotient.

Looking for resumes reflecting more than five years’ experience, even upwards to 15 or 20 or more years in the trenches, may net you an age-diverse workforce that can add depth and breadth to your corporate culture.

RELATED: Why Recruiting Older Workers Adds Value to the Bottom-Line

Opening Up Candidacies to a Broader Geographic Span

Or, perhaps you seek diversity in geographic culture, which means you open up position candidacies to job seekers outside your geographic niche – sourcing people who may be in far-flung locations or in zip codes you previously avoided, but whose genuine interest and abilities are apparent and compelling.

Being more open to these types of diverse candidates may not only offer otherwise omitted resumes an opportunity to enter the competition, but it also offers companies new perspective, injecting teams with unique, cross-cultural thought processes and insights.

Eliminating University Bias

Moreover, if hiring from particular universities has been a key to vetting resumes in the past, perhaps removing the college names from the sorting process will enable more diverse candidates to enter into the mix. Many state-university bred candidates can successively go toe-to-toe with their Ivy-league cohorts, if given the chance.

Similarly, while bachelor’s degrees, and even master’s degrees have become the norm for some companies’ recruiting processes, other companies (such as Google and Whole Foods) have kicked degree requirements to the curb, opening up their sourcing to entrepreneurial go-getters, many of whom advanced on their own learning credentials, independent of a higher-education institution. Consider how college credentials are influencing your decision-making and then consider how these methods may help to remove that bias.

RELATED: 5 Keys to Avoiding Discrimination in the Hiring Process

How to Attract Diverse Candidates

Marketing Your Diversity Initiatives

While it may seem simple for candidates with differing backgrounds and work-life heritages to arrive at your virtual door, that is not always the case. Some companies do a better job of marketing their diverse workforce and availing interview opportunities to diverse candidates than others.

If your company is in the position of desiring to expand their workplace diversity objectives, then creating an actionable plan and executing on that plan, may be the place to begin. Recruiting an internal group of advocates to a diversity team is one method; encourage the team to fan out the company message amid their various social networking channels.

Employers, their hiring managers and recruiters may want to seek out entrance into groups on social networking sites that appeal to a more diverse candidate set. For example, if your industry is one that is heavily laden with women, such as nursing, but you wish to attract more men to the company fold, then consider where male candidates are spending their time and join in on the conversation.

RELATED: 72% of Women Refuse to Work at Companies With…

Going for Culture “Add” Versus “Fit”

Subtly, or more overtly, market the value of your company to less traditional careerists who otherwise might not feel they fit into your culture. In fact, zeroing in on less “fitting” candidates may be just the ticket to drawing in diverse people, according to John Feldmann in 12 Ways to Attract and Hire Diverse Job Candidates.

While culture fit is a commonly touted value among candidates and hiring companies alike, “ … the intent to hire only those who share the company’s vision, mission and values can lead to a homogeneous workforce that prioritizes like-minded thinking over diversity,” according to Feldmann. “Instead, employers should hire for culture add, targeting candidates who bring something unique to the company culture that didn’t exist previously.”

Weaving Diversity Content into Company Career Pages

Moreover, incorporating your diversity focus within the company career pages will further reinforce to potential candidates your focus on skills and abilities versus biases unrelated to their ability to perform on the job.

Take this a step further and flesh out your free Glassdoor Employer Account to include content and images, revealing your passion for diversity and publishing regular status updates.

As you build out and communicate your newly grounded diversity model, more diverse candidates will be encouraged by your methods and drawn to your hiring door. As with any initiative, the more time you invest and actionable steps you take, the more momentum will build, perpetuating success and results.

Learn More

How to Use Glassdoor to Recruit Diverse Candidates