Happy team with diverse perspectives

10 Recruiting Tips for Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace

Developing a more diverse and inclusive workplace won’t happen overnight, and in many cases, it may take a cultural shift in your organization. However, taking the first step in the right direction is easy and can start with recruiting.

There are tons of small tweaks you can make to your hiring process to eliminate unconscious bias in recruitment and welcome new perspectives. Check out these 10 recruiting tips for creating a diverse and inclusive workplace.


1. Educate your team.

In order to truly have an inclusive workplace, it needs to be engrained into your culture. Provide ongoing diversity and inclusion education and continually promote the value of diverse opinions, people, and ideas among your whole staff – not just leadership and HR.

You may also consider providing unconscious bias training for your recruiting team. That way, they have the tools to identify and avoid any bias they may unintentionally be bringing into the hiring process.


Recruiting event


2. Recruit from multiple sources.

Do you always use the same site for recruiting or attend the same networking events and career fairs? If you want to find a more diverse pool of talent, you need to look in more places. Seek different events, reach out to groups in your community, and use niche online job boards for underrepresented candidates.


3. Structure your interviews.

Consistency is key when it comes to developing a fair interview process. While some hiring managers like to let the conversation unfold naturally, that may lead to “affinity bias” where you end up favoring someone who is more like you. Make sure your interview questions are directly related to job performance and ask each candidate the same set of questions. Evaluate candidate responses using a numeric scale and use those ratings for objective comparison.


Structured interview


4. Focus on competency, not formal education.

Many employers put a college degree high on the list of requirements and exclude qualified candidates as a result. If you’re in the health or engineering field, credentials like licenses and certifications are most likely essential. However, in many industries like marketing, they’re not. If you can look beyond the degree and focus on experience and skills, you’ll open up your talent pool to a more diverse group.


5. Remove unnecessary information from applications.

Some information – like name, college, graduation date, and address – can lead to unconscious bias in recruitment. For example, in one study, “white-sounding” names on resumes received almost 50% more callbacks than “Black-sounding” names. Create a blind resume review by removing non-essential information to prevent bias from creeping in.


6. Involve multiple people in your process.

Include staff members from diverse backgrounds (different teams, roles, and experiences) throughout the recruiting process – whether that means reviewing resumes, attending networking events, or sitting in on interviews. Getting input from multiple people will give you a more well-rounded perspective on how the candidate may contribute and help you to build more diversity and inclusion in the workplace.


Hiring manager asking advice from colleague on candidate resume


7. Check your job descriptions for biased language.

Studies have shown that job ads with language associated with masculine stereotypes (like leader, competitive, and dominant) dissuade females from applying and perpetuate inequality in male-dominated fields. If you’re in a female-dominated field and want to promote gender diversity, make sure you’re removing female-biased language (like nurture, supportive, and sympathetic) as well. Have multiple people look over your job description and swap out gendered words with neutral ones.

Biased language: “We’re looking for an assertive communicator with a competitive drive.

Neutral language: “We’re looking for an effective communicator who strives to achieve high goals.”


8. Create an inclusive work environment.

When you create strict policies for employee schedules, you also create barriers for a segment of qualified candidates. Remote work and flexible schedule options create a more inclusive workplace for parents, caretakers, and people with disabilities and medical issues. If you do allow remote work, consider offering a tech package and subsidized home internet to ensure everyone has what they need to enjoy the benefit.

You may also reevaluate your time-off policies to include more religious holidays or “floating” holidays for people to use whenever they like.


Mother working from home to supervise her daughter


9. Don’t put too much emphasis on culture fit.

While it’s useful to look for people who will fit in with your company, it can lead to a lack of diversity in your workforce. Instead, look for a “culture add.” How can each candidate’s individuality and differences help your company grow?


10. Fill your talent pipeline with diverse candidates.

Think about how you’re sourcing candidates for your talent pipeline. Are they coming mostly from referrals and your own network? While those are great people to keep on your list, you’ll want to make sure you’re building your pipeline with candidates from different sources and backgrounds. That way, when you’re ready to hire, you’ll have a diverse talent pool to choose from.


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Recruiting and hiring practices play a huge role in creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. Use these recruiting tips as a steppingstone toward reducing unconscious bias in recruitment, creating a more inclusive workplace for underrepresented candidates, and building a workforce that values diverse people, ideas, and perspectives.


by: Sarah Ballow
July 14, 2020