Diversity Recruitment Tips

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By Wim Dodson 


Business success is ultimately about recruiting and retaining the best people. To attract and retain top talent you need to create an inclusive environment where your employees know that their differences are valued and celebrated. When you encourage and appreciate different opinions, skills, and abilities, your employees will be more vested in contributing to the company’s success

A diverse workforce will not only help you attract and retain great employees, it will also drive revenue, improve productivity, and increase customer happiness. Creating a diverse workforce isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s about being able to win the top talent that drives business results.

Attracting top talent starts with a recruitment process that facilitates the hiring and retention of diverse professionals.


Attracting Candidates

A Glassdoor survey found that 67% of job seekers consider a company’s workforce diversity when evaluating jobs. Attracting diverse professionals starts with creating an employment brand that represents a workplace that is receptive and encouraging of diversity.

There are many different ways that a company can communicate a culture of diversity and inclusion to potential recruits: a careers web page that highlights a diversity mission statement, images of diverse employees and groups, and any diversity awards; and showcasing company diversity on recruitment materials.

Images and photos are one way to visually represent a diverse workforce, but you can also include demographic statistics and information about employee groups or interests aligned with diversity.

Adidas is a great example of a company that effectively brands themselves as a diversity employer. Their careers page explains their diversity philosophy, show diverse groups, and includes workforce statistics.  


Before The Interview

If you are successful in attracting diverse professionals to your organization, make sure that your interview process starts with a diverse hiring committee. During the interview process, you want to ensure that the company is represented by people who are champions of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Consider including employees from different departments as well as those from underrepresented groups to increase diversity during the hiring process. Keep in mind that diversity is not limited to race and culture, but also includes language, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, and socioeconomic status.

Many public institutions, like the University of Washington and University of California Berkeley, have diversity hiring guides that include tips and strategies for creating a diverse hiring committee.


The Interview

During the interview you of course want to assess the skills of the candidate, but you also want to assess their orientation towards diversity and inclusiveness. You want to ensure that any new hires share your organization’s diversity philosophy.

Some examples of diversity-related interview questions include:

  • What organizational characteristics are essential for creating an inclusive environment?

  • Please provide an example that illustrates your respect for people and their differences and how you’ve worked to understand the perspectives of others?

  • What tools or techniques do you bring for promoting collaboration among diverse groups?

  • How do you define diversity?

  • Please give an example of your ethnicity and/or cultural identity impacting your work.

  • Explain how diversity has played a role in your career.


Good examples of organizations who use diversity interview questions and make them publicly available are Mesa Community College, University of Montana, and Portland State University.


Supporting a Diverse Culture

To be seen as a diverse employer, diversity has to be genuinely woven throughout the entire company. Otherwise, candidates will recognize that your diversity promises are false. If candidates are attracted to the organization expecting diversity, but they find an unaccepting or homogenous workplace, they will not stay.

ExxonMobil is one company that has a strong diversity message that comes directly from the CEO and emphasizes ExxonMobil’s commitment to inclusiveness and diversity.

Diversity needs to be an organizational priority that is driven by the leadership and is supported and understood at every level. Building a diverse workplace can be challenging, but providing diversity training, resources, and education to employees will help foster an inclusive culture that can attract and retain diverse professionals.