By Barbara Mitchell
Q: How can I expand our recruiting efforts to reach a more diverse pool of candidates?
A: Good for you for recognizing that diversity in hiring is positive for your organization. Its benefits extend in ways you might not expect. Research shows that a diverse workforce is more productive and has higher retention rate.
What really is exciting about a diverse workforce is that it brings creative ideas and thought processes that the organization would otherwise probably miss. People with different backgrounds, interests, and personal histories think differently, and that is such a positive factor in today’s workforce.
So, how do you find people you haven’t found before? I like to think of recruiting as a fishing excursion. If you take a fishing pole to the same place on the same river where you’ve always fished, odds are you will bring home the same kind of fish you caught last week. However, if you go to a new place and, rather than sinking your line into the water, you cast a wide net, chances are good that you will bring in different fish.
People with different backgrounds, interests, and personal histories think differently, and that is such a positive factor in today’s workforce.
Likewise, if you always post your jobs on the same career sites, including your own if you have one, you will probably get the same mix of people you always get. So cast your net wider. Sites like Workforce50.com, Diversitylink.com, Blackenterprise.com, and many others will help you find qualified professionals who will bring new energy and creativity to your organization.
Also, take the time to ensure your hiring practices are welcoming to everyone. This may seem obvious, but if you are bringing in an applicant with disabilities for an interview, be sure that the person can access your offices. I know of one instance when an applicant in a wheelchair had to call from outside an office building to find out where he could enter, and the answer was, “You can’t.” What a terrible experience for that candidate, and what wasted opportunity for the organization.
You will reap great rewards if you cast a wide net for applicants. A recent Glassdoor survey found that more and more employees want to work for organizations with diverse teams, so get started now.
Barbara Mitchell is a human resources and management consultant and author of The Big Book of HR. Do you have a question you’d like her to answer in “Ask the Expert”? Send it to [email protected].