Are You Making these 7 Deadly Diversity Recruiting Mistakes?

As a talent acquisition leader, it's your job — strike that, it's your fundamental responsibility — to remind eliminate the bias from your hiring process.

Despite the recent wave of high-profile companies taking D&I to new heights, it's still not uncommon to find situations where internal stakeholders create unnecessary hiring barriers to weed out candidates from certain groups or minorities.

A lot of this happens under the pretense of "cultural fit" or additional skills screening — which means it happens on your watch.

But diversity in the workplace is critical to a thriving business. If you're committed to doing it right, start by taking a closer look at what you might be doing wrong. Here are seven critical mistakes that even the best-intentioned diversity recruiters have been known to make.

Diversity Recruiting Mistake #1 - Putting diversity recruiting on autopilot

If you're taking your role as a recruiter seriously, you're pushing hard for a clear, written commitment to D&I. And you might be flat out exhausted when you finally get it.

Beware: Diversity recruiting does NOT stop at policy change.

HR adviser and D&I expert Stacey Gordon covers many of the most common diversity recruiting mistakes in her awesome LinkedIn training (if you're ready to get serious about D&I, consider Stacey's course a pre-req!). 💯

As Stacey puts is, "When your company has made the decision to actively diversify the workforce, it's similar to unlocking a door that's been closed for years."  

She warns recruiters not to let talent walk on by thinking that door is still locked. As a recruiter, it's your job to make sure that once your diversity recruiting policy is in place, all your potential talent knows about it. Review your job posts for any language that might be a turn-off for candidates and make sure the entire company knows about the change, and why it's awesome.

(If you're a Breezy user, you can automatically advertise your awesome new job description to all the best job boards in one simple click.)

Diversity Recruiting Mistake #2 - Over-relying on data

The way most organizations measure diversity is just plain ineffective.

In her no-holds-barred op-ed for Wired, head of diversity and inclusion for Atlassian, Aubrey Blanche says, "The status quo involves measuring diversity company-wide (e.g., reporting that 2 percent of all employees are women of color), which is simply the wrong unit of analysis. That's because company-level measurement doesn't actually measure diversity—it measures representation."

Real D&I doesn't just focus on how many women are in the company (after all, what does it matter if they're all in marketing?), it focuses on diversity at the team level.

When was the last time you took a real look at your diversity data? It's time to break out the 🔎 and uncover the deeper meaning hidden behind your numbers. What teams or departments are the most diverse? And the least? Why? Why not? What can you do to get an optimal mix of diverse perspectives on every team within the company?

Rather than using an inadequate corporate or industry strategy as her guide, Aubrey relies on social science to create a D&I strategy that's efficient, accurate and objective. And with an 80% increase in female tech hires, she's definitely on to something.

Diversity Recruiting Mistake #3 - Skimping on culture

Too many organizations put all their focus on the 'D' and completely forget the 'I'.

But diversity without inclusion is basically a waste of time.

Still, most organizations are afraid to invest in inclusion. Crazy, we know. Especially considering the increasing emphasis on employer branding. If you make an awesome hire but the individual quits a couple months in due to cultural issues, what do you think that person will tell others about their experience working for you? 🤔

If you're on point with your diversity recruitment strategy, it's time to sit down and get clear on the other half of the equation. What does inclusion look like at your organization?

Consider following in the footsteps of Aubrey at Atlassian and get rid of the idea of 'culture fit'. Instead, focus on values. How would women, people of color, special abilities, different ages and intersectional identities feel about the way the businesses ticks?

What could you do to make them feel as comfortable as possible to share their insights, ideas and experiences with the rest of the company?

Remember, their input can work wonders for your bottom line and a strong investment in inclusion will make diversity recruiting way easier in the long-term as your current employees start to spread the news about your awesome culture.

When you align your culture with the actual outcomes you want to see from your D&I policy, that's where the magic happens. 💖

Diversity Recruiting Mistake #4 - Not using technology for better sourcing

When it comes to diversity recruiting, technology can help. But only as much as you let it. 🤖

The way you define your culture and your strategy is what guides the technology you use, and how use it. Social media,  smart recruitment management tools, and amazing apps like Textio can help recruiters root out bias and create better-balanced talent pools and teams by expanding your talent pool and screening the right people in (instead of merely weeding the "wrong" ones out).

But of course, technology will always fall short if the humans using it don't act responsibly.

Better sourcing starts with better beliefs, and that's a fundamentally human issue. Choose the tools and platforms that will work for you and back them up with a strong culture and strategy.

While there are some things computers are just better at, humans are still a necessary part of effective diversity recruiting (at least, for now). 😉

Diversity Recruiting Mistake #5 - Forgetting that we're talking about people

Diversity recruiting at its very best will bring you awesome, profit-generating insights and a balanced, more productive team. 🙌🏾

But for that to happen, you've got to drop the 'representation' approach and take a deeper look at the unique individuals on your teams. What could a person with a different background, personality and perspective bring to the table?

Focus on building balance into your diversity hiring strategy from day one, without relying solely on your gut feeling (which may be influenced by bias).

This doesn't have to be as complicated as it sounds. Tools like HackerRank and Criteria Corp can help you remove bias from the personality and skill assessment process, making it much easier to tease out accurate insights on which candidate is truly the best possible fit.

Because diversity recruiting done right isn't about using a person's age, gender or ethnicity to determine their value — it's about being open to all the awesome individuals that might just be the team player (or leader) you've been dreaming of.

Diversity Recruiting Mistake #6 - Making a biased offer

Oh geez. This one is just SO BAD.🤦

There are undeniable disparities in pay and it's wrong. So wrong.

Making a lower offer to a woman, person of color, or any other group or minority just because you know they'll accept it is a surefire way to kill your company's brand (and destroy your personal karma).

Not only that, it's illegal.

Always pay based on the value the person brings to your business. And if anyone ever pressures you to waiver on this point, gently remind them that lawsuits are expensive.

You can take a look at the Labor and Employment Law blog for the latest US equal pay laws and guidelines to make sure you stay legit. 👌🏽

Diversity Recruiting Mistake #7 - Underestimating your role as recruiter

It is YOUR duty to keep bias out of the hiring process so you can secure the best possible talent for your business.

If you've ever had even an inkling of doubt about your company's diversity and inclusion policy, now's the time to set it right. ✊

Sit down with your hiring managers and internal stakeholders and take the time to lovingly (but firmly!) educate them on why this is important. Brace yourself. Change takes time and this is a touchy subject.

Come prepared with evidence such as numbers, case studies and tangible suggestions for current best D&I practices to make it a clear no-brainer for everyone on your team.

And if you face pushback, remember: You are on the right side of this thing. With a little extra time and effort, everyone else can be, too.

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