Five Steps to More Effective Diversity Recruiting

In a competitive job market, it makes sense to recruit from the broadest possible talent pool. Effective diversity recruitment is critical to attracting the best talent available. Following are five ways to making your diversity recruiting as effective as possible.

1. Build a diversity message into your recruitment brand

A new study, Diversity Recruitment Report 2001: How to Source and Retain Top Women and Minorities, indicates the best sources for minority candidates are not necessarily diversity specific. "Diversity candidates are going to the same places to look for a job as anyone else," says Nancy Shaw, WetFeet research analyst.

Though companies may find it useful to maintain a presence with such organizations as the National Black MBA Association and Women in Technology International (WITI), they can also find minority candidates through general job posting sites such as "What companies need to do is imbed a diversity message into their regular recruiting materials," says Shaw.

"People want to be hired based on their skill set, not just because they’re part of a minority group," says Jennie Halstead, director of BrassRing Diversity, a sponsor of two annual diversity-recruiting events for undergraduate students.

At the same time, says Halstead, "Companies need to build a recruitment brand for themselves that [says], ‘This is a great place to work.’" And when it comes to attracting diversity candidates, it means showing that your company will be a great place for them to work.

2. Demonstrate the diversity of your organization

Include profiles of real employees on your website and show your workforce statistics by job level. Are women and minorities in your company represented in professional and management level positions, or are they clustered in lower positions? Shaw recommends making it a priority to diversify upper management. "Women and minorities want to know there is real opportunity, that they can have a career here," she says. "They want to hear ‘the sky’s the limit here.’".

3. If you aren’t where you want to be in terms of diversity, say so

According to the study, the percentages of women and minorities in the workforce are growing, but, with the exception of Asian professionals, their representation in managerial and professional positions does not mirror their workforce participation rates. For example, although Hispanics represent 10.4 percent of the labor pool, only 3.9 percent are in executive or management positions, and only 3.3 percent are classified as professionals.

If women and minorities are well represented in your company, it’s important to let candidates know that’s the case. But even if they aren’t, if you’re trying to improve representation of women and minorities in more senior levels or across your company, make sure diversity candidates are aware of that fact. You’ll make your company more attractive to them than it would be otherwise.

4. Invest in education

One way to enhance your diversity recruiting efforts is to become actively involved in increasing college enrollment of minorities. LEAD (Leadership Education and Development Program in Business, Inc.) and INROADS are national organizations that partner with companies to identify high-performing disadvantaged youths. Some companies pay college tuition in exchange for students who agree to work for them after graduation..

5. Give back to the community

James Mueller, director of executive recruiting at IBM, a company with a strong reputation for diversity, recommends considering ways to increase your visibility among members of minority organizations as a good way to build your brand for diversity.

He advises that companies ask themselves, "What can [we] give back to those organizations [other than] jobs?" IBM, for example, provides speakers and sponsors regional meetings for several minority organizations. "Give back to the organizations and share information valuable to the personal development of [those organizations’] constituents," Mueller suggests.

"It’s taken us a long time to build an awareness that this is an excellent place for everyone to work," says Mueller. "It’s not a specific recruiting action. It’s an ongoing business effort."


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