Diversity in the workplace: recruitment tips and tactics Part 2 [expert panel discussion]
July 31, 2017 by Libby Rothberg
As demographics change in the United States, including at college campuses, we should be seeing more diversity in the workplace. So why is the needle moving so slowly? In today’s panel discussion with College Recruiter’s Panel of Experts, we explore strategies for talent acquisition professionals to improve their diversity recruitment. Today our discussion touched on what an inclusive recruitment process looks like, differences between the government and private sectors, and concrete tips for talent acquisition professionals.
We were joined by Alexandra Levit, a workplace consultant; Toni Newborn, J.D., Diversity and Consulting Services Manager at City of St. Paul; and Bruce Soltys, Director of University Relations at Travelers. This is Part 2 of our discussion. Last week we discussed mistakes recruiters make, big impact strategies and becoming culturally confident.
Watch our discussion, or read major takeaways in the blog post below:
What would an inclusive recruitment process look like?
- Make sure that your candidates get regular updates. Even just by sending them an email letting them know the status of their application or other job opportunities. And regardless of whether the candidate receives an offer, you want them to walk away with the desire to be a part of your organization in the future.
- Recognize that the beginning of the process is your outreach, not the application. Often the candidate’s application is seen as the beginning of the recruiting process. However, if you switch your mentality to think of the outreach as the beginning of the process you will have a more inclusive process. Working with the candidates and partners will engage them more in the experience. Make sure people are aware of the opportunities out there. Also, it is important for the candidates to know what their career path has to offer.
- Start with diversity training but then move beyond that. Training is not the be all end all to solve recruiting problems. It is a place to start. It’s more about making sure that every interviewer can assess candidates and not have their bias get in the way. Taking courses on unconscious bias will not eliminate it, but it will decrease the amount of it. Alexandra Levit says that in her experience she has “found that even just being aware that you might have certain biases can help you.” If you find yourself thinking that “a candidate might act or be a certain way, you can take a step back and make sure that all of the criteria are objective.” To give everybody a fair shot it’s important to be aware of your potential bias, because we all have some. Training and educating interviewers is at least a start in terms of ensuring that the process is inclusive.
Four tips to improve diversity recruitment strategies
There must be accountability. If you’re collecting data from the candidate pools, you can gauge your progress. If your pool isn’t diverse enough then it’s important to start looking into what the recruiters are doing. Maybe they are unaware, but the talent acquisition leader has to be there to keep them accountable. As a recruiter, it can help you make some changes and possibly identify bias. Some structural racism and institutional racism are hard to spot if you’re not personally affected by them. But that doesn’t make you any less responsible to the problems it creates.
Using data is a start but then actually responding to the data has to be part of it as well.
2. Take a look not only at your hiring process but at yourself. Be honest with yourself about whether you are part of the problem for the lack of diversity. It takes someone to push for more training and education for anyone to do anything about it. Use candidate polls and keep track of your company’s percentages.
The Harvard Business Review did research on how candidates are pooled. They showed that if there was only one female or only one minority candidate in the final pool, they had virtually zero percent chance of getting hired. However, if you have three or even two women or minority candidates, their chances go up significantly.
3. Analyze the demographics around you. Availability of talent within a certain geographic area might vary. Bruce Soltys says that they “do a lot of data related efforts to educate local managers about the move for more diversity.” Certain college campuses especially will have more diversity than others. Sometimes geography really plays a role in this. This is also helpful when trying to differentiate between schools within even just one city. There are so many diverse schools that need to be engaged with. Look at the demographics in a recent graduating class. Try to set a goal to have your company’s demographics reach the same level of diversity. It won’t happen overnight but it is a good judge of how much diversity is available. You need to entice students from other geographies to go to your market if there is not enough diversity around you.
Forget about targeting accounting grads in a five state region if your biggest need is to reach female, African-American accounting majors who graduated from one of your target schools last year. With College Recruiter, that’s a snap with our email campaigns. Would it make sense to learn how our expertise can drive more candidates to your career site?
4. Preempt your college pool. Look at the high schools in the area. Generation Z is the up and coming generation of high school students right now. They have shown a willingness to engage with employers at an even younger age than millennials. Start around your area and begin developing relationships with diverse students and become mentors for them. Allow them to come on site and do shadowing or internships and become a source for them. Provide them with information on what educational opportunities they should be taking advantage of and help to mold them.
Differences in diversity recruiting tactics between government and the private sector
Usually the money is the biggest difference. Each organization has different budgets, but generally, if we compare government with larger corporations, money is a large factor. Toni Newborn, J.D. describes how she and the City of St. Paul deal with recruitment for the entire city. She imagines how great it would be to have five recruiters who could establish contacts and develop relationships. Right now, however, she has one fellow recruiter. That means that they have to be very strategic around what they’re doing and how they can make the ‘biggest bang for their buck’. Newborn explains that it would be ideal to go to Historically Black Colleges for recruiting but her budget doesn’t allow for that. Instead, they stay within their metro region.
Strategy is key to recruitment. The best case scenario is to have both the strategy and the money. But without the money, strategy becomes even more important.
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