Talent Acquisition

3 Ways to Encourage Diversity in the Hiring Process

Diversity continues to be a hot topic in the modern workplace, as organizations seek to establish and develop practices that ensure they hire employees with a wide range of professional backgrounds. With the benefits of a varied workforce well-documented, hiring managers and senior decision-makers are investing time and budget into ensuring they can attract and retain staff that can positively contribute to business success.

Recruiters can play an active role in this process, assisting clients in attracting the right talent.

1. Job Ads

How you write a job ad can dramatically affect the type of candidates you attract. For example, research from augmented writing platform Textio found that the word ‘exhaustive’ attracts more men, ‘loves learning’ attracts more women and ‘synergy’ is a turn-off for ethnic minorities.

Therefore, when writing your advertisements, it’s essential to consider the coding of your language. If you’re looking to attract females to a position, avoid masculine-oriented words like ‘competitive’, ‘active’ and ‘dominant’. In contrast, if you are hoping to encourage male applications, consider including more feminine-coded words like ‘inclusive’ and ‘considerate’. However, best practice would be to avoid gendered words altogether – a 2016 study revealed that removing these from job ads saw a 42% increase in applicants.

The requirements that you include in a job ad can also influence the candidates applying for a role. A study by Hewlett-Packard found that men will apply for a role when they meet 60% of the qualifications, whereas women will only apply if they think they meet 100% of qualifications. Therefore, consider separating the qualifications into ‘essential and ‘desired’. By lowering the barriers to entry, you will attract a larger pool of candidates, who will still be as qualified to thrive in the advertised role.

2. Candidate sources

While referrals can be an effective way to recruit candidates, they can also hinder diversity efforts, as often networks are made up of people with demographic similarities – for example, attended the same university. This is especially salient for males – research by McKinsey revealed that 63% of men state their professional network is made up of ‘more or all men’. LinkedIn also found that women are less likely to use their professional network during the job hunt, instead, applying for roles on third-party websites.

Therefore, when recruiting for a role, expand your advertising efforts as widely as possible. The wider you cast your net, the more likely you are going to attract a diverse range of candidates.

3. Diverse shortlists

When recruiting a role for a client, it’s essential to ensure you are submitting candidates that satisfy the requirements of a role. However, this shouldn’t stop you presenting a shortlist of equal men and women or those with a wide variety of racial backgrounds. Research by Harvard Business Review revealed that when the final shortlist has one minority candidate, their chances of being hired are infinitesimal. However, if there is more than one, the chances increase dramatically – the research showed that if there are at least two female candidates in the shortlist, the odds of hiring a female go up 79 times. Similarly, if there are at least two minority candidates, such as those from a BAME background, the odds are 194 times greater.

Therefore, when presenting shortlists to clients, endeavor to present an even spread of candidates of different genders, races and professional backgrounds. Their unique experiences could end up being the defining feature that lands them the job!

By David Morel

David Morel is the CEO/Founder of Tiger Recruitment, London’s leading recruitment agency for business, private and virtual support recruitment. David founded Tiger in 2001 and has written extensively in the press and wider media advising both employers and job seekers on best recruitment practice.