Hiring Diverse Candidates Still A Challenge For Brands—Here’s What Works
Updated: Dec 14, 2020
Welcome to my weekly Q&A roundup. (Scroll down to find the Q&A.)
If this is your first time here, welcome. I spend a fair amount of time speaking at events and conferences. At the end of my presentations, I leave space for audience members to ask questions—tough questions, brave questions, you name it.
The level of candor and curiosity always inspires me, and I want to share that sentiment with you. So each week, I pick one question that I believe others would find most instructive and publish my response to it here.
The purpose of this weekly tradition is transparency and inclusivity.
• Transparency: a behind-the-scenes look at my day-to-day.
• Inclusivity: bringing others along in the journey.
How To Increase Applications From Diverse Candidates
My company has an open C-suite position and I’m involved in recruiting for it. Since we’re committed to increasing diversity among our leadership, I have been actively seeking out diverse candidates but not attracting as many as I imagined. How can I increase applications from diverse candidates?
We need to be specific in naming the problem. Many organizations right now are asking your same question: “How can we hire more people of color, more women, more Gen X’ers, etc.?” (In fact, over 9,000 recruiters and hiring managers ranked “diversity” as the number one trend shaping the future of hiring.)
This question is fine if the problem you’re addressing has to do with diversity, or lack thereof.
But what about inclusion? What about equity? The initialism “DEI” exists for a reason. Workplaces need all three letters to thrive. The D, the E, and the I each contribute to organizational success in a unique, critical way.
Perhaps the problem you need to solve right now is not how to increase applications from diverse candidates. Perhaps you need to figure out how to calibrate (or in some cases, create) D, E, and I in your current C-suite as well as across your existing workforce—at every step of the ladder.
After all, the best way to attract diverse talent is to foster a workplace where your existing diverse talent prospers. Equity and inclusion matter.
So how do we make this actionable?
1. Use data, because data levels the playing field. Outcomes > opinions. Actions > words.
If your organization says it cares about DEI—whether it be on a job description, in the employee handbook, or on the About page of your website, then you need to show it. Be transparent with your stakeholders (this includes future employees) by publishing diversity reports. We live in a time when seven in ten job seekers evaluate potential employers based on their commitments to DEI.
2. Remember: you can hire for diversity, but you must build for equity and inclusion.
How? Start by measuring DEI data. Set SMART goals against your benchmarks, and if the numbers don’t improve by x-amount by x-deadline, then it’s time to peel back the layers to understand what’s impairing performance.
Data will help you properly diagnose DEI problems, which in turn will allow you to prescribe the right solutions. Without data, you’ll be shooting in the dark in pursuit of more diverse candidates. Certainty eclipses speculation, so use data to ascertain progress toward your business objectives.
These Q&A roundups can be delivered directly to you—a week before I publish them here. Interested?
(All you need is an email address.)