Does Your Talent Acquisition Process Attract or Turnoff Diverse Candidates?

At Inclusive Leaders Group we often get inquiries from companies specifically looking to do a better job of recruiting diverse, underrepresented talent pools. The first thing I always do, before scheduling a discovery meeting (over Zoom recently), is to do some primary research on the company’s employment brand. I want to learn if their employment brand is defined, authentic, and compelling to diverse candidates.

According to Modern Hire a leading software platform for intelligent, more confident hiring, employment brand, employment value proposition (EVP) and culture are terms that are interconnected but not interchangeable:

  • Your employment brand is your strategy for marketing your organization as a wonderful place for the best talent to work. Talent Acquisition leaders and recruiters promote their EVP and company culture as part of their employment brand
  • Your EVP describes the things your employees like most about their employment experience in your organization
  • Culture comprises the values, ways of working and social norms in your organization…including an authentic commitment to diversity and inclusion

My primary research isn’t an exhausting study that includes checking out employee reviews or speaking to former employees, which takes place in an actual client consulting engagement. The initial research just takes a 20–30-minute look into the company’s website to include:

  1. Checking out the leadership team
  2. Closely read the careers page and a few job descriptions
  3. Read anti-discrimination policies

Employers talk a lot about diversity and inclusion. In fact, since the 2020 global protests following the killing of George Floyd, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a company that doesn’t say they’re diverse and inclusive. Companies make these claims on their websites, in job descriptions, and at career fairs. But in my experience, many of these employers are insincere and don’t truly value and prioritize D&I. Millennial and Gen Z job candidates aren’t fooled by a Diversity Statement with no mention of a DEI Strategic Plan, Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council, or Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).

Does Your Talent Acquisition Process Attract or Turnoff Diverse Candidates?

Here’s what I look for on a company website:

  • The company’s leadership team. This includes directors, executive-level managers, vice presidents, and board members. How diverse is the company at that level?
  • Is there a D&I Council or D&I Executive Committee responsible for D&I governance?
  • Do your website and job postings include D&I statements, goals, or priorities?
  • Is a current D&I Strategic Plan and/or D&I Annual Report available to read?
  • Are the images on your website and in your job advertisements diverse?
  • Do you utilize diverse mediums and channels to recruit?
  • Do your job descriptions or postings reflect unintended biases (such as having an advanced degree or specific language proficiency that might not truly be necessary)?
  • Do Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) exist at the company and are they described on the careers page?

How to Weave Diversity and Inclusion into your Talent Acquisition Process

I remind hiring managers and recruiters to challenge their assumptions. Are you looking for a culture “fit” meaning more of the same or a culture “add” with different thinking style, background, approach, view, look, and/or lived experiences that share company values, mission, and purpose. Here are strategies that support a bias-free selection process to ultimately improve the outcome and the experience.

  • Removing race and gender identifiers in hiring process (such as names on resumes)
  • Ensuring diverse hiring slates (contain diverse candidates pools, shortlists and lineups)
  • Requiring diverse hiring panels (contain diverse interviewers with equal decision-making power)
  • Expanding reach with a long-term plan (build Historically Black Colleges and Universities relationships) vs. short-term solution
  • Improving consistent selection process and experience (structured behavioral-based interviews, same questions, sequence)

If you are serious about creating a more inclusive employment brand and embedding DEI throughout your talent management process, or about building more equitable and inclusive leaders at all levels of your organization, it’s important to invest deliberate time and attention to DEI.

My Inclusive Leaders Group consulting team and I can help in your creation of a more diverse and culturally agile and workplace. Contact us today to learn more.

Charlotte F. Hughes is the successful Co-founder and CEO of Inclusive Leaders Group, LLC where she has designed and directed DEI talent and organizational development strategies that have been implemented by Fortune 500 companies, large and small healthcare systems, and some of the largest global non-profits. Charlotte is a widely sought-after speaker and thought leader on issues ranging from allyship & belonging, inclusive leadership, to everyday practices for building a healthy inclusive culture. Each presentation is based on research, tailored to the specifics of the group, and presented with Charlotte’s recognized levels of introspection, self-awareness, and painting a picture through storytelling.

Meeting you where you are with inclusion, insight, and inspiration ….Together, we can create a better world.

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