Is Your Hiring Process Intentional About Diversity & Inclusion? A 3-Step Starter Kit

Monique Mahler | January 21, 2021

What's really importance is cultivating an environment that drives growth and improvement.

Most hires are made with a reactionary mindset – leadership detects a vacancy, then HR scrambles to find a fit. Quality people are brought into the fold, but organizations rarely broaden their perspectives or change internal functions in meaningful ways unless pushed. Without knowing it, these companies are missing out on a simple way to increase overall profitability: diversifying talent.

The ongoing McKinsey & Company studies of diversity find that when organizations increase diversity by 10%, profitability grows by 8%. The intentional commitment to diversity hiring and hiring people of distinct cultural experiences, varied backgrounds, and different genders brings together a variety of unique perspectives that are shown to push boundaries and innovate.

That said, hiring for diversity and inclusion is nuanced – we’ve put together a few tips on how to hire more intentionally (AKA how to ensure any bias gets checked at the door during the hiring process).

1. Benchmark your demographics

Start by assessing the marketplace – how does your business compare to demographic averages in the industry?

Gauging benchmarks is an important first step to driving greater diversity and inclusion at every level of your organization. There are a number of excellent resources that provide reliable statistics on demographics in the workforce and their inclusion across different organizational levels – let’s look at the McKinsey Women in the Workplace 2020 as one example.

In this report, white women make up 26% of managerial positions and 19% of C-suite positions, both lower than their 38% representation in the overall U.S. population. Women of color have even less representation, with only 12% working in management roles and 3% in C-suite.

Mapping out your current representation based on gender, ethnicity, age, religion, nationalities, and physical abilities allows you to identify where to prioritize intentional actions in your diversity hiring process. From there, you can take steps to retain and broaden your workforce.

2. Develop a diverse talent pipeline

Greater diversity and inclusion depend on deliberate action at the top of the recruitment funnel. Limiting your focus to the local talent pool can harm the growth of your business – when and where you’re sourcing talent could drastically alter the demographics of the professionals available to you.

There are a couple intentional sourcing strategies that we’ve seen growing in popularity:

  • Implementing blind recruitment practices. Organizations following this methodology review candidates only after every personal identifier (names, gender, ethnicity, education, age, etc.) has been removed from resumes. Typically, this requires either a non-deciding internal member of the team or an experienced recruiting partner to screen candidates based on technical skills and erase any giveaways about their identity.
  • Going beyond the candidate resume with a video interview. Tools like one-way video interviews go a step beyond resumes, and even phone screens, to bring a candidate to life. They provide another level of insight into a prospect’s personality, soft skills, and communication abilities, so you can get a stronger understanding of a candidate in the same amount of time it takes to browse their LinkedIn.
  • Making a purposeful choice to seek out candidates from underrepresented groups. Organizations that embrace this approach see diversity as a quality that needs to be intentionally cultivated, and they engage with networks, trade associations, and conferences that attract and celebrate people in a wide range of demographics.

3. Improve your candidate experience

To effectively attract talent, it’s important to develop a candidate experience that meets the unique needs of diverse individuals. You need to understand their perspective and what they require to flourish within your organization. For instance, here’s some insight on:

  • Importance of diversity in STEM jobs: 80% of Americans believe it is important to have diversity in today’s workplace. In addition, 84% of black employees in STEM say racial and ethnic diversity in the workplace is “extremely” or “very important”. Showcasing your company’s diversity throughout the candidate experience can help you land top talent.
  • Supporting women in the workplace: from higher employee engagement and retention to meaningful work cultures, supporting women in the workplace, especially in leadership roles, and giving all genders equal opportunities for promotions and raises is a leading indicator in improved business outcomes. Research has shown that F500 companies with the highest representation of women outperform companies with the lowest representation.
  • Accommodations for disabled workers: an environment that is supportive and provides accommodations like flexible schedules, part-time work, decreased travel, or temporarily reduced responsibilities will help employees feel welcomed in the workplace.

One way to improve the candidate experience and get the attention of strong candidates? Deploying a structured interviewing process to ensure that hiring decisions are consistent and made based on a candidate’s ability to demonstrate the competencies required for the role, rather than on snap judgements made by interviewers during the interview process.

Remote hiring software like interviewstream also enables businesses to reach talent all around the world, offering a candidate experience that’s consistent, interactive, and convenient.

With it, we’ve seen companies improve their impression on candidates by 90%. Not only does the platform help you find and attract diverse employees, it can ensure that you’re standardizing your processes across the board to avoid bias at the same time.

Where to go from here

Diversity hiring is not a single step, nor is onboarding and supporting diverse employees – these few strategies are just a kickoff point to help you move in the right direction.

When it comes down to it, what’s really important is cultivating an environment, starting from an employees’ very first interaction with your business, that drives growth and improvement. In doing so, your organization is bound to see your people, and your success, soar.

Take the first step right now when you learn more about the importance of hiring the right candidates for your organization, how to recruit and hire ideal team players, and what really happens when you hire the wrong candidates.

About The Author

Monique Mahler is the VP, Marketing & Partnerships at interviewstream. She is an avid researcher of facts, a self proclaimed marketing geek, and an equestrian in her spare time.

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