How To Consistently Hire (and Keep) Candidates from Diverse Backgrounds
We’ve all heard the news: diversity hiring is great for business.
But as with all things HR, the challenge of making diversity and inclusion more than just a mission statement is a lot harder than it sounds. Because diversity in the workplace isn’t just about business—it’s about giving individuals the step up they deserve.
From fairer applicant screening to better interview prep, creating a more diverse and inclusive recruitment process is easy when you have the right tools—and the rewards are so worth it.
“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,” explains Stacey Gordon, CEO of Rework Work in an interview with Business Insider.
If you’re ready to get serious about D&I – to really learn how to hire diverse candidates – and open up the door to a wider pool of talent, lean in. We’ve combed through the nuance to drill down into five actionable steps to make your workplace more diverse and inclusive.
Make your recruitment process more inclusive
Problem: You’re finding awesome diverse talent online every day, you just can’t remember where. 🤷
If your candidate pipeline is looking a little anemic, you’re in the right place.
Inclusive companies are 1.7X more likely to be innovation leaders and 1.8X more likely to be able to cope with change. In part, that’s because inclusive companies are attracting and retaining star talent that other companies tend to overlook.
The first thing to do when you’re looking to broaden your pipeline is to find the gems hidden in plain sight.
Think about it. Every day, you probably bump into hundreds of great passive candidates in places like:
- The comments section of your favorite blog
- And of course, LinkedIn
Next time you see a potential rockstar, add their name and contact info to your recruitment database, along with a couple of notes on why you think they’d be a great fit. When a position opens up, you’ll be ready.
In Breezy, you can use the quick Breezy HR Chrome extension to source candidates, capturing them wherever you find they are online. With just a couple of clicks, you can add your new candidates straight into your talent pool.
Solution: Capture great talent on the fly.
Finding great talent from underrepresented groups by sourcing (or posting job ads on the top 20 diverse job boards) is one thing, but if you can’t show potential applicants you mean what you say when it comes to diversity, they’re going to scroll right past your open role and head straight into the arms of the competition.
That’s why it’s crucial to make sure your hiring practices tell the real story of your company culture throughout every step of the candidate journey.
From your career page to your job description on the job posting, your employer brand should shout “come work with us” to candidates from every background. Take some time to make sure your EEO statement is up-to-date and that the photos, testimonials and other content on your careers page is an accurate representation of who you are as a company. ✨
If you’re a Breezy user, you can set up EEO Compliance reporting to automatically track your diversity and inclusion milestones at each part of the hiring process and adjust where needed.
Screen the right candidates in
Problem: Your brain is tricking you into missing out on amazing candidates due to unconscious bias in your hiring process.
Unconscious bias is one of those things about being human we just can’t escape.
The issue is broad—anything from the geographical location of job seekers to the origin of their name can affect whether people of color and other minorities get hired. In fact, did you know that candidates with a non-English sounding name are up to 60% less likely to receive a response to an application?
Don’t let the right candidates slip through your fingers.
Solution: Use an applicant questionnaire to screen candidates based on the things that matter.
An applicant screening questionnaire is a great way to limit the bias that can creep in when you’re navigating an avalanche of resumes and refocuses your attention on the real requirements, straight from the job ad.
Small shifts in focus, like screening for total amount of experience, rather than scanning for gaps in an applicant’s resume, can lead to a much richer workforce over time.
In Breezy, you can set up blind-screening to filter out any info that’s not directly relevant to the role (like certain criminal records)—leaving you with only the info you really need.
Minimize bias during the interview process
Problem: Diverse candidates are getting cut in the final round because of unconscious bias and outdated interview practices.
First, the bad news: According to the data, all that work you put into an inclusive recruitment process typically goes down the drain once your minority candidate reaches the interview stage.
Confirmation bias, inequities in the interview panel and the temptation for interviewers to “go off the cuff” makes the interview one of the least valid parts of the entire hiring process.
The good news is, a structured interview guide can help.
Solution: Use structured interview questions to keep everyone on the same page.
Create a set of specific questions each interviewer can stick to and make sure to save them in a central place where everyone on the team can find them.
Structured interview questions are one of just a small handful of ways to minimize unconscious bias in the hiring process, but there are other things you can do to help give candidates the best chance of nailing the interview.
Here’s what you can to do help make the interview process more inclusive:
1. Offer self-scheduling: Not everyone works on the same schedule. Working parents are tied into schools routine and people with disabilities may have regular doctor appointments to manage. Handing over interview scheduling to candidates creates a fair opportunity for individuals to choose their own time to connect. Plus, you get to skip the group emails—it’s win-win.
2. Create interview guides: If you want to give your candidates the fairest shot, your interview questions need to be consistent. Save time and avoid bias by creating structured interview guides you can use again and again.
3. Nurture your candidates: Once you’ve found top talent, don’t let them get away. Use automated nurture campaigns to motivate top applicants to take the next step by filling out the questionnaire or scheduling an interview.
Make a fair job offer
Problem: Candidates decline your offer and distrust your employer brand because you gave into the pressure of paying less than you should.
Every HR pro knows losing candidates is part of the process.
But when you’re losing candidates left, right and center because of poor job offers, you need to take a long hard look at what exactly is putting them off. You’d be surprised how quickly word of a lowball offer spreads.
Whether it’s down to your candidate experience, job offer or poor branding, you need to figure out why you’re losing out—and fast.
Solution: Ace your candidate communications.
Fact: Most candidates back out because they’re having a bad hiring experience with your company—your job as a hiring manager is to revamp that experience and leave them loving your brand. 😍
Take a look at your hiring pipelines (and even your referral program) and try to pinpoint where the problem is. Once you’ve got that down, you’re already on your way to better employee retention.
Here are some additional pointers to help you on your way:
Act on candidate experience surveys: If you’re unsure why you’re losing candidates, ask them. Whether they were successful or not, most candidates will have a lot to say about their hiring experience. Send out candidate experience surveys and then act on the responses.
Clean up your comms: The hiring process is the first interaction most candidates will have with your company—how you interact makes a BIG difference. Use automated stage actions and offer management to leave candidates feel confident you’ve got it all figured out (because you do).
Create an onboarding team
Problem: You put a ton of work into recruiting diverse candidates, but new hires don’t have the support they need.
First impressions matter. And what happens in onboarding, impacts the entire culture of your company.
Remember, delivering on what you say you believe = top marks for brand credibility, not just for diversity recruitment. So show candidates you’re ready to roll out the red carpet and keep it out, starting with an awesome onboarding team.
Assemble a group of 3 to 5 dedicated people your new hires can go to with any question. This way, you help balance the time burden of onboarding a new employee, while giving your new hire plenty of folks they can turn to whenever they need help.
The Solution: Automate the onboarding admin so your new hire can spend more time getting to know you.
There’s a lot that needs to be done in a new hire’s first week on the job. Focus on streamlining your onboarding process so that the transition from offer to office is as smooth and seamless as possible.
If you have an ATS with an open API, you can integrate directly with your HRIS so that the candidate’s complete profile, contract and info is ready to go from day one. Not using an ATS? That’s ok. Just make sure you take the time to connect your new hire to other people who can help them succeed.
Send a quick new hire announcement email to:
- Get the whole team on board: Make sure your existing employees know the importance of onboarding and list the members of the onboarding team.
- Make specific arrangements to welcome your new hire: Whether it’s a private space for prayer or flexible working for disabled employees, it’s time to provide those extras that’ll make your workspace welcoming to all. If you’re not sure, give potential candidates the option to ask for anything that’ll make accepting the role easier.
Want to save hours each week? Breezy integrates with the leading HRIS systems for a streamlined process from offer to onboarding. Sign up for your free trial today.
Diversity hiring = a one-way ticket to growth
Once you’ve got your diversity goals in place, these five simple steps will help you knock them out of the park.
From structuring your interview process to showing your candidates you mean what you say, transforming your hiring culture is easier than it sounds. You just have to stay committed.
Remember, nothing worth doing ever happens overnight. Stay focused and track your success. Once you start seeing progress, you’ll be ready to forge ahead with bigger, bolder plans to take your company to the next level.
Ready to streamline your diversity recruitment?
Join the thousands of companies already hiring diverse candidates with Breezy HR.