Felix is one of the Founding Directors of Instant Impact - building high performing internal functions by providing the right team, tech, marketing, and expertise to help their clients hire the very best diverse talent.
As internal recruitment experts, Instant Impact has been helping businesses to improve their diversity for years. After all, recruitment is the only real tool that businesses have to change the mix of different employees working in the company.
To see any real change here businesses need a centralised and internal recruitment function. Hiring managers left to their own devices will usually err for the faster and easier route to hire. As you will find, improving diversity takes the right expertise, process, and discipline.
We have a 3 part methodology which focuses on the following key areas; influencing internally, attracting diverse candidates, and creating a fair assessment process.
This article is about how to attract diverse candidates - if you’d like to find out more about influencing internally or creating a fair assessment process then please have a look at our diversity hub where you’ll be able to find videos on both topics here.
We have created a 6 step process that any company can follow:
1. Remove the barriers
The first element to consider is whether there are any barriers in your recruitment process that will make it harder for you to succeed.
Job descriptions are a common culprit, a frequently quoted Hewlett Packard report found that “men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.”
So review every ‘must have qualification’ in your job descriptions. Hiring managers will tend to over emphasise what they need vs what they want. In fact, we find that for many roles it is possible to move around half of ‘must haves’ to ‘nice to haves’. Every requirement you move opens up the talent pool significantly and when questioned, your hiring managers will usually admit that many skills can be trained or learned in a matter of weeks.
Another aspect of job descriptions that can set you back is gender coded words. There is strong evidence that certain words can influence the likelihood of people from different genders applying to roles. Use a gender decoding tool that can quickly review and decode job descriptions and website copy.
2. Job board strategy
We recommend using as broad a range of job boards as possible. This not only means that the job can be seen by a wider range of candidates, but using the more generalist job boards like LinkedIn, Indeed and Monster can help you attract candidates from other (potentially more diverse) industries.
For those willing to go the extra mile there are diversity-centric job boards like Vercida that attract 30% more diverse candidates and provide useful tips to improve.
3. Find the right partners
Don’t limit yourself to the reach of your own organisation. There are hundreds of charities and groups that support the very potential employees that you’re looking to hire. These differ from industry to industry so here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Local schools, apprenticeship providers, or universities to help with your junior talent
- Professional groups like Women in Finance or Coding Black Females
- Charities supporting ethnic minorities to flourish like the Amos Bursary
4. Actively headhunting
Your internal recruitment team should be responsible for presenting your hiring managers with a diverse panel of candidates for every role. Some roles require them to headhunt so you need to ensure that they’re proactively approaching a diverse range of candidates.
N.B. It’s important that they don’t exclusively headhunt from groups that are underrepresented talent pools to avoid falling foul of positive discrimination.
5. Focus on early careers
Building intakes of apprentices and graduates into your business allows businesses to quickly tap into a more diverse talent pool than for experienced hires:
- In the UK, only 9.7% of executive positions are filled by women compared to 57% of students at university and there’s a similar proportion of women (50.1%) starting apprenticeships.
- Only 6% of top managerial positions are filled by BAME employees, compared to 20% of students who identify as BAME and 12.3% starting apprenticeships.
As these programmes usually make up a significant proportion of new hires each year it’s a great way to establish the roots of a diverse organisation.
6. Employer brand
Your employer brand is the window for potential employees to understand the business. By creating an inclusive employer brand that reflects and celebrates the work that you do to be an inclusive organisation, you start a virtuous circle.
Your employees will feel more welcome, they’ll in turn support new inclusion initiatives and then you can share these online which will help you attract a more diverse pool of applicants. Your workforce will become more diverse which will make everyone feel more included. And so on…
None of these measures will break the bank - with a concerted effort on each one of these 6 steps we’ve seen companies in all industries from professional services to high tech engineering improve their levels of diversity.
That said, attraction cannot exist in a vacuum. If there is bias in your assessment process or if the business at large hasn’t bought in to the benefits of diversity then you won’t see the dial move.
If you would like to know more about Instant Impact, check out our resources page where you will find webinar recordings, case studies and eBooks.