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How to Partner With Hiring Managers to Support DEI Initiatives

D&I practitioners want to reach the goals in their diversity recruitment plans. Hiring managers want to fill positions with the best talent possible. Although these should not be competing objectives, sometimes the twain between the two simply do not meet, and hiring managers don't prioritize diversity as the D&I team would like. 

This is not to say that hiring managers are intentionally being discriminatory—most likely, they're not. However, there can be a disconnect that causes a discrepancy between the type of talent D&I professionals want to bring in versus the type of talent hiring managers actually choose. In order to close the gap between the two, it's important for them to work together in a more cohesive manner. If you're wondering how to partner with hiring managers to support DEI initiatives, the following suggestions can help.

5 Ways To Work With Hiring Managers to Support DEI Initiatives

1. Provide DEI Education

Hiring managers may not be aware of some basic DEI principles simply because they’re not immersed in that world. As a result, it's a good idea to get them up to speed by educating them on things that may inhibit their ability to make inclusive hiring decisions. Teach them what you already know about conscious and unconscious bias, intersectionality, microaggressions, and what diversity, equity, and inclusion really mean. In addition, let hiring managers know the benefits of diversity recruitment, and why having a diverse workforce can help the company advance in numerous ways. It may also be a good idea to provide formal diversity training for all hiring managers so they can take a deep dive into D&I concepts.

2. Create a Plan

Work with hiring managers to create a solid plan that helps them make choices with diversity in mind. From how applicants are put into the hiring funnel to the way interviews are conducted to how applicants get shortlisted, work together to create a roadmap that leads to the best hire while still being as inclusive as possible.

3. Distinguish Must Haves From Nice to Haves

When hiring managers have a long laundry list of qualifications for a position or expect all applicants to have a certain pedigree, like graduating from Ivy League schools, it can alienate a lot of talent from underserved backgrounds. Many candidates that didn’t attend an elite school still have the skills needed for the job, but may not apply because there are so many very specific items on the hiring managers’ ideal candidate wish list.

Since a long list of qualifications in a job post may trigger impostor syndrome, advise hiring managers to differentiate between qualifications that are absolutely necessary to perform job duties from the nice to haves, which include graduating from a specific type of college or earning a certification. Any item that isn't directly related to the education and skills needed to do the job should be on the chopping block.

4. Incorporate DEI Into the Hiring Scorecard

As candidates move through the hiring funnel and are judged based on different criteria, advise hiring managers to also make DEI part of what they consider. They can always ask themselves as they evaluate candidates how each one will contribute to the diversity recruitment goals of your organization.

5. Make a Fair Offer

All of the efforts a hiring manager makes to bring in candidates from diverse communities won't mean anything if the job offer is not fair. Candidates know how much they should be making for the positions they want, so if the hiring manager makes a lowball offer because their unconscious biases have been triggered, the potential hire will know. Before making offers, hiring managers should review all employee salaries for a position to ensure candidates from diverse communities are being offered exactly what they deserve.

Meeting DEI goals is not easy, but it's worth the effort. If hiring managers aren’t bringing in talent that facilitates making the company more diverse and inclusive, work with them to get on the same page. By adopting strategies for partnering with hiring managers to support DEI initiatives, you can make it easier to bring in the great talent hiring managers need, while increasing the diversity of your workforce.

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