“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” –Stephen Covey
Recently, in our ‘Diversity and Inclusion: the what, how and why leaders should embrace it’ blog post we explored the benefits and importance of creating and sustaining a diverse and inclusive work environment, and how different backgrounds, perspectives, personalities, interpersonal styles and individual uniqueness lead to a range of ideas, work styles, and ultimately to greater commitment and higher productivity.
Creating processes and developing initiatives that support an inclusive culture starts with recruiting talent that compliment one another’s skills and experience and plays to. By hiring talent from various social and cultural backgrounds, you will widen the range of perspectives, knowledge, and approaches from which decisions are made. You will also create a reputation for valuing differences which will naturally attract talent who know that their skills, backgrounds, perceptions, and knowledge will be valued and utilized.
As you formulate a recruiting strategy for diversity in your organisation, here are some tips to help ensure diversity in your candidate pool and enhance your interviewing and selection process.
Create the right job description. Writing an effective job description is necessary for attracting diverse talent, as it will determine the type of candidate that will apply for the position. Be clear about the skills and requirements needed but try to be as broad as possible, so as to avoid describing the job so narrowly that it will alienate a range of candidates that may perceive the job as unattainable.
Select a diverse interview team. Your best recruiting tool is your current employees. When forming the interview team, consider including people from a cross-section of the organisation, that in addition to providing different perspectives, will also demonstrate to candidates that the company values employees’ opinion at all levels and from a variety of backgrounds. But don’t just pick random people—make sure the team is comprised of employees who hold positions that are relevant to the candidate’s. For example, you may choose peers who interact with the position on a regular basis, leaders who directly benefit from the work produced by the position or employees who have a deep understanding of the organisation’s culture and can assess the candidate’s fit. Once you have the perfect team, make sure they each understand their individual role in the recruiting process and provide training if necessary.
Screen without assumptions. When reviewing resumes and screening candidates, avoid making assumptions about the candidate’s ability to fit in with your team. For example, do not assume that a male candidate would not be comfortable working in an all-female team. Focus primarily on the candidate’s similarities to your team’s work style, approach to communication and how their personalities might complement each other. And remember that differences in these areas are not an immediate disqualifier but might actually enhance your team and their efforts.
Sell your culture. During the interview, make time to fully explain the organisation’s culture and, specifically, how diversity and inclusion is embraced. Also consider that diverse candidates often ask questions designed to determine whether an organisation is truly diverse, inclusive and supportive. So be prepared to answer commonly-asked questions related to career advancement, mentoring and learning and development programmes, philanthropic efforts and involvement with the community.
Develop a robust on-boarding plan. Your job is not done once the job offer is signed and you agree on a start date. On the contrary, this is where the tough part begins—on-boarding is just as important, if not, more so, than developing an effective recruiting strategy for diversity. Basically, there’s no point in having an impressive recruiting strategy for diversity if, once the candidate becomes an employee, they are all but forgotten and thrown into the deep end without aiding them to learn the ropes and assisting them with acclimating to the culture. Make sure to have a detailed plan for training, and even consider assigning a ‘peer coach’—an employee whose job it is to teach the newcomer how things are done, what resources are available to them and how to navigate the culture.
Is your organisation doing everything it can to recruit diverse talent? What other strategies would you consider to diversify a pool of candidates?
Contribute to the conversation in the comments section below, and if your organisation is experiencing challenges developing recruiting strategies, contact us to discuss how Castlegate International can create effective bespoke solutions for your organisation and team.