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How to source for diversity from your talent search

Lauren Skuchas
Partner, Managed Service
January 12, 2022

Workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion has become a top priority for companies across the economy in recent years. And for good reason – diversity is virtually a superpower for all key performance metrics. Diverse teams increase innovation, creativity, improve financial performance, and so much more.  

Hiring for diversity means you need to search for candidates based on their merit alone, while being open and unbiased toward candidates of different backgrounds and personal characteristics. Optimizing your talent search will help you source for diversity by ensuring that you’re accessing the complete pool of diverse candidates.

Here are some general tips to help you build a talent search that’s optimized for diversity and inclusion sourcing.

Broaden your search to include more locations

Remote work has become normalized in recent years and top candidates aren’t jumping to relocate before landing a job anymore. If you want to onboard diverse talent, you need to cast a wider net into the candidate pool. Don’t limit your search to cities that are near your company headquarters. Instead, open up your search across your entire country or even globally.

More locations in your candidate search mean more candidates to choose from and a higher likelihood that you’ll find the most qualified people from diverse backgrounds.

Tailor your search to specific attributes

Searching for candidates based on industry keywords, job titles, or experience levels limits the pool of candidates you’ll find. This requires candidates to have filled out their profiles or resumes with the exact keywords you’re searching for. By honing in on specific attributes like start-up experience and mission driven, you can discover candidates who you wouldn’t have found otherwise.

For example, you can use AI-driven talent acquisition platforms to search for candidates with ultra-specific traits and experience – like underrepresented data scientists who have worked at mid-stage startups and have B2B SaaS experience. By indexing all data sources simultaneously, attribute-based search surfaces candidates who meet all these criteria even if they aren’t expressed on their resume.

This is a great way to build a pipeline of highly-targeted candidates and expand the diversity of your company’s teams with ease.

Explore historically black universities for recruiting

If you want to get specific, you can include historically black universities in your search criteria. This allows you to search exclusively in universities that have a plethora of talent from underrepresented groups. Another option to consider is attending recruiting events held at these universities.

Engaging with candidates in person leads to a more streamlined hiring process from start to finish.

Don’t limit your search to referrals

Referrals are a tried-and-true method of discovering top talent from people you already know and trust. However, if you’re looking to expand the diversity of your company, referrals can limit the demographics of your candidate pool. Most people’s social networks are composed of people from similar backgrounds.

The important thing is to be mindful of who you’re asking for referrals. If you already have underrepresented employees on board, they can be a fantastic referral resource.

Remove identifiers from search results

Blind recruitment is a common hiring practice that removes any personally identifiable information from candidates during a talent search. This information includes name, gender, age, education, years of experience, and more. It’s one of the simplest ways to effectively remove unconscious bias from your talent search.

Sifting through candidates without identifiers allows you to make strategic hiring decisions that are based solely on merit and skill sets, rather than biased reasoning.

Invest in bias training for recruiters

When building a talent search for diversity, you want to be sure that the candidates you hire were selected purely based on their work experience and the skills they have to offer your company. Building on the last point, it’s important for everyone on the hiring team to be aware of their own unconscious bias and know how to avoid letting it impact their hiring decisions.

Bias training helps recruiting teams build awareness of their own biases and judgments. Beyond that, good bias training should help people manage their biases and ultimately, change their behavior for the better.

Keep in mind that it takes time to unwind biases and remove them from the decision-making process completely. Be sure to invest in this as early as possible so your hiring team is prepared to fill your open roles when the need arises.

Use niche job boards

There are a whole host of job boards tailored to showcase a wider range of candidates from diverse backgrounds. For example, you can find job boards specific to candidates who are black, LGBTQ, women, from specific generations, and many more.

This is a great way to access different pools of candidates and improve your company’s diversity hiring.

Why source for diversity

The push for more diverse teams has never been stronger. By taking steps to build a talent search that’s optimized for diversity, you can make your candidate search more efficient, get more diverse people into your talent pipeline, and ultimately, build dynamic, diverse teams that propel your company forward.