Is Your Diversity Hiring Falling Short Because of These Recruiting Mistakes?

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Oct 31, 2019

As a hiring manager, it is your job to eliminate bias from your hiring process. Even with the growing focus on diversity and inclusion, it isn’t uncommon for unnecessary hiring barriers to pop up, weeding out candidates from certain groups or minorities. A lot of times, this happens under the pretense of “cultural fit” meaning it is likely happening in your hiring process.

Diversity in the workplace is essential to a growing and thriving business. If you’re going to do it right, start by looking closely at what you might be doing wrong. Here are seven recruiting mistakes that even the best intentioned and diversity-focused recruiters have been known to make.

1. Putting diversity recruiting on autopilot

As an HR leader, you’ve pushed for that hard copy commitment to diversity and inclusion for the company. You are excited and exhausted once you finally get that statement in writing. But don’t forget that diversity recruiting does not stop at just a policy change.

HR advisor and diversity and inclusion expert, Stacey Gordon, advises recruiters it is their job to make sure the diversity recruiting policy is solid and potential talent knows about it.

A good thing to look at are your job postings, checking for off-putting language that could deter candidates. It is also important that the entire company is educated on the diversity and inclusion efforts and why diversity matters.

2. Depending on data

Measuring diversity? Most companies are trying, but their methods are just plain ineffective. Aubrey Blanche, Atlassian’s head of diversity and inclusion, wrote an op-ed for WIRED where she says

“The status quo involves measuring diversity company-wide (e.g. reporting that 2 percent of all employees are women of color), which is simply the wrong unit of analysis. That’s because company-level measurement doesn’t actually measure diversity – it measures representation.”

The real deal when it comes to diversity and inclusion is not looking at how many women are in the company overall but at the team level. For instance, does it matter if your whole marketing team is female, but the other departments are all male? Technically you still have women in the company, but that isn’t making you diverse.

Diversity needs to be implemented on the team level rather than pulling overall data points of the company to support your diversity and inclusion initiatives. It is time to bring out the magnifying glass and look into the deeper meaning of your numbers. Some good questions to think about are what teams or departments are the most diverse? Which ones are the least? Why or why not? And what can you do to get the best mix of people with their unique ideas on every team within the organization?

3. Skimping on culture

Too many companies emphasize diversity and forget about the other important concept: inclusion. However, diversity without inclusion is just a waste of time and effort.

You can sell a potential employee on how great your company is, but if they quit within a couple of months due to cultural issues, what do you think they are going to tell their friends and family about their experience working for you? Word of mouth goes a long way.

You may have the right diversity strategy going for you, but it is time to make sure the other half of the equation is thought out and clear. What does inclusion look like at your company?

This would mean considering how women, people of color, special abilities, different ages, and intersectional identities feel about the way your organization operates. Ask yourself what you can do to make them comfortable to share their insights, ideas, and experiences with the rest of the company. Their input alone can work wonders for your bottom line and make diversity and inclusion recruiting easier in the long run. Especially if you have word of mouth going for you.

4. Relying entirely on technology for sourcing

When it comes to diversity recruiting, technology can only help as much as you let it. Using social media, smart recruitment tools, and cool apps can help you expand your talent pools and recruit without bias. You can use applicant tracking systems to screen the right people in instead of just weeding out the wrong ones.

You can’t rely on technology for everything, though. New tools are great but tech will always fall short if humans are not using it responsibly. Better sourcing starts with better beliefs, which ultimately is a human issue. Picking tools and platforms that can assist your needs is great, but you need to be able to support them with a strong strategy and culture. Technology is definitely best at a lot of things, but humans are still crucial to effective diversity recruiting.

5. Forgetting that we’re talking about people

The best diversity recruiting will ultimately lead you to a profit-generating, balanced, and productive team. In order for that to all work out, you need to stop pushing the overall representation approach and take a deep dive into the individuals on your teams. Think about what each person’s background, personality, and perspective could contribute to not only their team but the organization as a whole.

Start from day one at building diversity into your hiring strategy and efforts. Try not to rely solely on your gut feeling, as this may be influenced by bias. Where do you even start to accomplish this? Personality and skill assessments can help in determining candidate job fitness by removing bias from the process.

Diversity recruiting isn’t about age, gender, or ethnicity but rather being open to anyone and everyone to get the employee you’ve been dreaming of.

6. Making a biased offer

You hate to see it, hear about it, and say it: the pay gap. There are undeniable disparities in pay, and making lower offers to a woman, a person of color, or any other minority just because you know they will take it is one certain way to damage your company’s image. Not only that, but it is illegal.

Be sure you are following not only the US equal pay law, but those adopted by many states and cities, in order to make sure you and your company are following the proper regulations.

Always base your compensation on the value of a person, what they bring to the table and fairness.

7. Underestimating your role

You’ve got the power! It is your job as an HR or recruiting leader to eliminate bias from the hiring process in order to ensure you hire the absolute best candidate. Don’t be afraid to sit down with hiring managers and other stakeholders to educate them on why diversity and inclusion are important. And to remind them that even when they think they are assessing a candidate – or, for that matter, an employee – unconscious bias can cloud their judgement.

Go into those meetings prepared with the data, and tangible suggestions for improving not only diversity, but inclusion.

If you have ever doubted your company’s diversity and inclusion policies, it is never too late to change them. Change takes time and can be a touchy subject, but don’t give up easily! You may face pushback, but remember that you are on the right side of this hiring initiative, and with time and effort, everyone else will be too.

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