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8 Strategies for Sourcing Untapped Talent

Diversity is more than just the business buzzword du jour—it’s a way of life that organizations need to adopt in order to thrive in a climate that increasingly demands it. The benefits of a diverse workplace are clear: Studies show that diverse workplaces that make inclusion part of their standard operating procedures enjoy a higher level of creativity, performance, and innovation—thus boosting their bottom line. Also, diverse companies have happier employees who are more engaged with their work and less likely to leave. 

Success like this doesn’t occur in a vacuum, however—it begins with a successful recruiting strategy that puts diversity and inclusion front and center. In order to ensure that your organization taps into the numerous benefits of sourcing underrepresented talent, you need to have a solid recruiting strategy, which can start with the following tips.

1. Establish company policies that encourage diversity

The bedrock of your diversity recruiting efforts will be the inclusiveness policies that your organization implements. If you don’t already have policies that will attract untapped employees, one place you can start is by offering flexible work schedules that allow employees to take time off to celebrate different religious holidays or participate in cultural events in your area. Be sure to get input from your employees who are members of the demographics that you’re targeting in order to find out what’s most important to their communities. 

2. Go where historically overlooked groups congregate

Making an effort to create a presence for your organization in the places where underserved groups congregate can go a long way towards sourcing great untapped talent. You can do this by partnering with local colleges and universities to find a pool of potential employees from different minority groups, as well as creating relationships with associations in your industry that cater to historically marginalized members. In addition, job boards that are dedicated to diversity are an excellent place to advertise your open positions and spread the word that you’re interested in hiring members of minority communities.

3. Create an effective pipeline to bring untapped employees to your company

Just as you can take your organization to the places where historically underrepresented groups already are, you can also use recruitment strategies that will bring candidates to you. Creating internship programs and scholarships that target the groups that you want to recruit can help you nurture relationships with accomplished students from underrepresented communities and help your company become their top choice when it’s time for them to look for a full-time job. Also, encourage your minority employees to tell people in their communities about your company and make referrals to their friends and family members. 

4. Use inclusive language that resonates in job advertisements

The language that recruiters use when crafting job posts can either telegraph the importance of diversity or discourage prospective candidates from considering their company. For example, our research shows that male candidates are 27% more likely to apply for jobs than female candidates. In order to recruit more female workers, adjust the language of your job advertisements to make them more psychologically appealing to women. Instead of using words that are typically considered more masculine—like ambitious, competitive, and confident—use more feminine words in your ads, like honest, loyal, and cooperative.

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5. Leverage technology to make screening fair

Taking advantage of technology can help to eliminate bias throughout the recruitment process. From job descriptions to resume screenings, there are programs that help to detect potential bias and remove the human element that causes it. For example, using technology that evaluates resumes solely based on specific criteria helps you create a shortlist of candidates that are selected based on their skills—thus eliminating personal opinions from these screenings that may cause discrimination or compliance issues.

6. Rethink job qualifications

It can be quite common for job descriptions to say a candidate needs to have a four year degree or X years of experience in a certain field. It's not that all job qualifications are bad, but remember it's important to examine the why behind these requirements. Will the individual in this role only be successful if they graduated with a four year degree? Does your open entry level position truly require at least three years of prior experience? When looking at your job descriptions, be sure to evaluate each job qualifications with a skeptical eye and ask yourself if it's necessary to succeed in the role.

7. Build a culture of diversity

Although adopting strategies that will help you make your hiring efforts more inclusive is important, it will be in vain if your entire organizational culture does not foster inclusiveness. This isn’t something that can be faked; it must be organically integrated into the way your company operates on a daily basis—and it must start with your leadership. If you’re not sure how to accomplish this, you can work with a diversity consultant who will give you pointers on the steps you need to take to make diversity and inclusiveness in your organization as natural as the work you do every day.

8. Put your diverse and inclusive culture front and center

Having a culture of diversity is great, but you can’t further expand your reach in minority communities if you don’t let them know how much you value inclusion in your workplace. Be sure to promote your accomplishments in this area as often as possible—from social media posts that have photos of staff to job postings that mention your inclusive culture to a diversity mission statement featured prominently on your organization’s website. If you don’t already have an inclusive workplace, you can regularly put your desire to make your organization more diverse into your messaging to spread the word in the community so potential workers will know that you’re friendly to underrepresented groups. 

Sourcing underrepresented talent can be challenging, but it’s well worth the effort. The work you put in will help your organization attract qualified employees that enhance your workplace, as well as create goodwill in your community as a company that values inclusivity and creates opportunities for qualified candidates of any background.

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