5 Actionable Tips to Drive Your Diversity Recruitment Strategy

Between sourcing, engaging, nurturing, and hiring top talent, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Add to that the need to drive diversity recruitment across your organization, and any talent acquisition team would feel overwhelmed. It’s easy to understand why many organizations struggle to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the face of so many hiring and retention objectives.

However, DEI is an ongoing effort that’s largely driven by your TA teams, especially as your team works to design more equitable and inclusive hiring practices. When just 35% of companies feel they’re making positive headway with their DEI initiatives, it’s imperative that diversity recruiting take a front seat in your strategy to hire and retain diverse talent.

If your team is facing challenges in driving your diversity recruitment strategy forward, the following 5 tips will help. They’ll also give your team a launchpad for making a case in your organization for more inclusive, diversity-driven recruiting. Let’s get started.

Assess what’s working (and what isn’t)

It’s no longer enough to focus solely on high-level recruitment metrics—your team needs to dive even deeper into your recruitment data to truly understand how and where diversity recruitment is lacking in your organization.

Instead, look at your data to assess everything from candidate feedback and EEO survey results to interview scorecard insights and more. When you think of your current hiring initiatives, what does the data tell you about every step of your process? For example, are you sourcing candidates from diverse networks and platforms, or excluding diverse stakeholders from your interviews?

Asking these types of questions can lead to greater discovery and improvements in your process. Consider your interview process—is it truly inclusive and objective, or does bias creep in at virtually every stage?

  • Eliminate address unconscious bias in your interviews by including diverse stakeholders in panel and 1:1 interviews
  • Analyze your job descriptions for gender coding and discriminatory language
  • Use a structured interview process to ensure every candidate has a fair and objective experience

You can leverage your recruiting tech stack to craft a more inclusive hiring process, including any integrations and solutions you use to source and nurture talent.

Work on your employer brand

Think about how candidates might perceive your company. From your website and job boards to Careers pages and social media accounts, every outward-facing initiative is a step forward in creating a more DEI-centric employer brand. Everything from a picture on social media to messaging and language used in job descriptions can impact your employer brand, but also drive candidates to apply. This is where recruitment marketing comes into play.

It’s important to keep in mind that recruitment marketing extends far beyond sourcing talent—in fact, it applies to the entire recruitment life cycle, from attracting to engaging and nurturing potential talent.

Here are a few ways you can leverage recruitment marketing to drive diversity recruiting and consistently improve your employer brand:

  • Focus on increasing awareness by posting open roles to diverse talent boards
  • Generate interest in your company by sharing relevant content around DEI initiatives
  • Nurture candidates by providing insight into your company’s DEI policies and progress
  • Add your DEI commitments to strategic web pages on your site (like your About and Careers pages)
  • Leverage diverse internal SMEs (subject matter experts) who can share their stories and experiences with candidates

Be proactive in your outreach to diverse candidates

Your recruitment marketing can only do so much of the heavy lifting before your hiring team needs to step in and proactively source diverse candidates. Aside from sharing new roles to diverse talent platforms or pools, recruiters can leverage referrals, their own networks, and various networking events to find diverse talent and nurture relationships with them.

Before you begin reaching out to candidates, however, look at the gaps that currently exist in your teams. For example, you may notice that some departments are predominantly male, or white, whereas others lack diversity altogether. Knowing where gaps exist in your specific teams can help you better source and engage diverse candidates for those teams—almost as if you’re building diversity recruitment strategies for every team!

Don’t ignore the power of your job postings

Your team likely spends a fair bit of time working on creating and updating job descriptions, but what happens when those descriptions are littered with unconscious bias or exclusive language?

From the perspective of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), inclusive job descriptions give further insight into organizational culture and a company’s approach to DEI. If a job description is a candidate’s first real look inside your company, then the description must be inclusive of all.

So, as you write or update your job descriptions, keep the following in mind:

  • Take a look at your existing descriptions and audit them to determine how they skew towards a specific gender, race, and age groups
  • Always use gender-neutral language to avoid attracting just one type of candidate
  • Eliminate those ‘must-have requirements;’ in reality, most of the ‘must-haves’ listed in job descriptions are nice-to-haves or skills that can be learned while in a role. In the case of inclusivity, focusing too heavily on requirements or necessary skills/experience can alienate top candidates.
  • Check your job descriptions for language that’s exclusionary of candidates with disabilities (both seen and unseen)

Our guide to creating impact job descriptions has more helpful tips, too.

Measure the progress of your diversity recruitment initiatives

Just as marketers use KPIs to measure the results of their own efforts, your hiring team can create diversity KPIs that help increase your diverse recruitment practices. While these KPIs will look different for every organization, having them in place allows your team to more effectively measure how successful your diversity recruitment strategy is, and where they can improve.

Keep in mind that these KPIs shouldn’t be set in stone—rather, you’ll want to monitor your team’s progress as you go, looking to the recruitment data you have to gather insights into things like the number of diverse candidates versus hires, and more. This data becomes doubly important as your organization’s objectives change, your teams grow, and your hiring goals pivot to accommodate future talent acquisition needs.

Keep building an inclusive culture

In the tech industry alone, just 26% of tech companies have a DEI policy or manifesto in place, and that number is projected to reach 56% within the next year. Clearly, awareness is growing around the need for more diverse and inclusive workplace cultures. However, consistently building that type of culture is no easy feat, and requires your entire team to drive inclusivity forward.

Whether you’re just getting your diversity recruitment strategy off the ground, or are working to improve it, your company culture will undoubtedly have a significant impact on it. Let’s take a look at some of our top tips for building an inclusive culture that supports diversity recruitment.

  • Embrace a collaborative approach to DEI
  • Foster a culture of psychological safety
  • Encourage teams to create ERGs (employee resource groups)
  • Provide everyone on your talent acquisition team with DEI training
  • Include all employees in your DEI initiatives (not just your C-suite!)

Building this type of culture takes time, and doesn’t need to happen overnight. By consistently working on your culture, and making it inclusive of everyone, you’ll find more teams getting involved in your DEI initiatives and embodying your company’s diversity values.

Discover how organizations big and small are driving DEI forward

Our team here at Lever surveyed over 500 HR decision-makers and 1,000 employed adults to learn what efforts companies have been taking to increase their DEI efforts, how they’ve been communicated, and the gap between the company’s perspective versus the employee’s perspectives. In our 2021 State of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Report, you’ll learn how organizations big and small are working to drive DEI forward. Download your free copy of our 2021 DEI report below!