Recruitment Strategies for a Diverse Workforce

Your company’s diversity recruitment strategy should be part of a comprehensive plan to infuse diversity within the workplace and use it to drive your work forward. You should be looking for diversity of people and talent. Diversity in recruiting requires that companies go after potential employees who demonstrate qualification for the job but also bring a variety of individual characteristics, experiences, ideas and backgrounds to the team. Investing in diversity recruiting provides great returns in terms of helping your company compete in a changing economy.

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Diversity Plan
A company’s diversity plan should cover a number of areas, all of which point toward using differences in skills, experience and ideas to reach the company’s business goals. Recruitment is one aspect of that plan, but it should also include retention practices, diversity training for management and line staff, community outreach and workplace flexibility arrangements, among other things. As part of recruitment planning, survey your current workforce to determine which people, skills and backgrounds are missing. You may notice that women are underrepresented but also that all your team members have Ivy League education and none were educated in another country. You may want to add global appeal to your team. Define your recruitment goals by what you learn from this review.

Diversity Recruiting
Determine whether internal employees can be groomed for the positions you want to fill first. Design materials, such as brochures and websites, to attract the type of employees specified in your diversity recruitment plan. Boast about your company’s commitment to diversity, employee perks and flexible work arrangements. Use as many selling points as you can. Next determine which processes you will use to find candidates, what criteria will be used to select candidates and the hiring budget. At this stage, begin sourcing, that is, reviewing contacts to see whether they can recommend candidates based on their insider knowledge of your company’s needs.

Helpful Recruiting Techniques
Recruiting is an ongoing process, so it pays to be proactive, especially when going after minority talent. The best way to start diversity recruiting is by getting in the pipeline. Find those professional organizations that mentor future professionals early in the process, such as when they are in high school or college. Join those networks to offer scholarships and internships to those students who are nearing graduation and will soon be looking for jobs. Exhibit at career fairs on college campuses and try to over-sample colleges with high demographics of the candidates you are seeking. Their fraternities and sororities might hold separate, larger national conferences that have a career component as well. A number of organizations that promote the issues of people with a minority status also hold job fairs, including civil rights organizations for just about every racial and ethnic minority in the United States, women’s rights organizations, disability organizations, LGBQT and AARP.

Advertising and Social Media
Many organizations dedicated to minorities have career sections on their websites. A recruitment plan should include posting vacancies on those sites. Moreover, consider independent job sites, both mainstream and targeted, to advertise jobs. Strategize about how you want to cast your net. College career offices, employee referrals, your company’s backlog of candidates and your own website are important places to get the word out that you are hiring. Social networking has also proved to be a valuable advertising tool for employers, especially Linkedin and Twitter. Get accounts with these services and begin blasting your vacancies.

Executive Search
Neglecting to incorporate diversity recruiting for your company’s C-Suite is a common mistake. However, nothing displays commitment to diversity more than for potential employees to see people who look like them at the top. In terms of recruiting, this is an area where networking will be crucial. Companies should strive to retain diverse talent long enough to groom them for the top spots and make every effort to promote from within the organization. However, your contacts may reveal hot talent in middle management at other companies. Recruiters tend to know how to spot those employees who have hit a ceiling at their job, who have had several mid-range promotions but fail to crack through to the upper echelon. These are the contacts your diversity recruitment plan should be going after. Also, if your company engages executive search firms, specify in your contract the types of candidates you want.

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