Two women are talked to each other at a table.

A lot of organizations start their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) work with a focus on more inclusive hiring practices. It is well-proven that having a diverse workforce is better for the organization, the product, and the services. In fact, McKinsey and Company’s 2015 report of 366 public companies found that public companies found that those in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity in management were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry mean, and those in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15% more likely to have returns above the industry mean.

Simply hiring “different” people will not help you achieve your organization’s goals. It is imperative that the hiring plan for the organization incorporate tools that diversity the pool of candidates in a way that brings about meaningful outcomes for the organization and its mission.

Identify DEI Hiring Goals

In conjunction with the overall DEI Strategy candid conversations about the types of candidates that will add value to the workplace is critical. It is imperative that you define who you are trying to hire (gender, race/ethnicity, LGBTQ, veterans, etc.) and why. Once you have clarity on the types of candidates you are trying to hire then it’s time to start the sourcing and recruitment process. Increased diversity in talent pools results in the increased likelihood of diverse hires. A 2016 research study in Harvard Business Review revealed that when there were two minorities or women in the pool of finalists, a woman or minority became the favored candidate. Inclusive hiring practices don’t just come from good intentions.

Adopt Inclusive Candidate Sourcing Methods

Adopt steps to proactively seek out a diverse pool of candidates. Identify social media outlets,  and membership associations (professional and student) where diverse candidates assemble to network, seek mentors and enhance their professional skills.

Ensure the job description for the role you are seeking to fill is up to date. Focus outreach efforts on the job skills and qualifications. Audit job postings for inclusive language using this Gender Decoder tool based on the research of Gaucher, Friesen, and Kay. Employ blind reviews of resumes and writing samples to ensure that you are cultivating a qualified talent pool based on the role and not the subjectivity of the resume screener. Track and measure sourcing outcomes by utilizing an Applicant Tracking System or an Excel Spreadsheet.

Address Bias & Subjectivity in the Interview Process

Formalize your screening and interviewing methods. assemble diverse interview panels, and implement a candidate evaluation process that objectively assesses each candidate against the job criteria. Identify interview questions ahead of time to ensure that the same behavior-based questions are asked of each candidate. You will want to evaluate each interviewee should on how well they demonstrate that their past work experience prepared them for the role with your organization.

Train your interviewers to ensure the standardized interviewing tools are being consistently applied and to raise awareness of potential biases that can plague the recruiting process (e.g., time constraint bias, affinity bias, confirmation bias). The intention should be to work toward a process where every candidate is having the same hiring experience.

Finally, there should be oversight and accountability to the hiring of diverse talent and the overall recruitment process. Monitor and tracking outcomes will be essential to identifying what is and is not working so you can make adjustments along the journey.

You can download our DEI Framework to start your organization’s DEI journey.