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Improve Your Diversity Hiring Practices

A diverse man and woman type on their laptops in an office setting.

Diversity hiring has become a hot button issue in local and global corporations, especially among tech giants and Silicon Valley startups. Creating a workforce that includes employees of all backgrounds has been proven to increase the all-around success of a business. In fact, Deloitte reported that highly inclusive organizations generate 1.4 times more revenue and are 180 percent better in their ability to adapt to change.

However, undertaking a diversity hiring initiative to rectify an inclusion problem can be challenging — so challenging that companies like Google and Facebook are still trying to get it right. Unfortunately, stereotyping and snap judgements are so deeply ingrained that we don’t realize it’s an issue. This unconscious bias is what an organization must seek to overcome to truly achieve a diverse workforce.

Access Proactive Recruiting Networks

Before posting for a position, take a look at your proactive hiring practices, such as connections with professional networks, job fairs and even social networks. These essential groups help get the word out when a new job is posted. However, if these networks aren’t inclusive of a different backgrounds, the candidates they yield won’t be either. Consider ways in which an organization can broaden its reach to make connections with new communities. For example, when looking for candidates with MBAs, take a look at the networking opportunities through such organizations as the National Black MBA Association. The same goes for company leaders’ networks. According to the Kapor Center, workplaces in which men are the majority, their personal and professional networks are even more segregated, affecting recruitment, hiring and promotion.

Examine Language and Context

Building a diverse workforce starts with how candidates are approached. There may be things the company is doing to discourage applicants of certain backgrounds, without actually knowing it’s being done. Textio, Inc. found that use of certain phrases like “whatever it takes” or “tackle” in descriptions can discourage female candidates from applying. While Project Include recommends minimizing references to perks that may appeal only to young, male, white applicants in the jobs page, like company retreats in exotic locales or sports outings, and emphasize inclusivity.

Prevent Bias in Candidate Selection

It is important to prevent unconscious biases from impacting who moves forward in the hiring process. While a hiring team may have the best intentions, a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research uncovered biases based on whether or not a name sounds white or African American. To combat any potential for unconscious discrimination, try developing blind hiring practices.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the concept of blind hiring dates back to at least the 1970s, but the strategy of hiding certain candidate information until the late stages of the recruiting process has become more popular in recent years, thanks to new tech tools and an increasing awareness of the importance of building diverse workforces. Another approach is to replace the traditional process of narrowing down top candidates from a large applicant pool with intelligent shortlisting. This type of software will eliminate the tedious task of sifting through resumes and identify top candidates without outside bias.

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