iStock_000018882844LargeTo remain competitive in today’s market, it is important to have not only a qualified workforce but a diverse one.

There are many benefits to diversity

  1. Individuals from diverse backgrounds offer different talents, skills and experience that can benefit for your organization and other team members.
  2. Hiring employees who speak different languages help overcome language barriers and cultural differences that act as obstacles for overseas expansion.
  3. Embracing diversity will attract a wider range of candidates from all walks of life; your organization will be viewed as more progressive.
  4. Workplace diversity helps employees feel that they can achieve their best; it boosts morale and makes employees more productive.

But sometimes organizations lose the battle with diversity. In many cases, during the recruiting and hiring process, a candidate’s potential is underestimated or a cultural misunderstanding or a different worldview stumps the interview and the person is screened out.  Sometimes the applicant decides that the organization is not a good place to work, and they drop out of the process.

Minorities – especially those with advanced degrees – have a lot of choices about where they want to work.  They want a place that makes them feel comfortable – heck, everyone wants that.  Therefore, the hiring manager many need to change their recruiting approach.  Interviewers must learn how to assess the candidate’s true potential for the job, but they also have to learn how to sell the job to the candidate. As society (and therefore the application pool) becomes more diverse, hiring managers and interviewers need to learn more about the cultural backgrounds of the people they interview and try to tie that into their corporate culture.

Job applicants notice things in the work environment. Seeing diversity in an organization is important to some applicants, but not to all. To help applicants get a feel for the environment, include a tour and introductions to other employees. It is important that all employees who meet the candidates have a respectful and welcoming manner.  The more welcome the applicant feels and the more he knows about the job and environment, the better the match will be and the longer you may be able to retain the employee.

In addition, interviewers must be very aware of their subconscious and conscious biases.  Studies have shown that people who believe that they are not biased may actually be behaving in discriminatory ways. The initial step towards a better diversity hiring plan is to recognize that these biases exist and that they are not related to the qualifications, contributions, behaviors, and personalities that candidates can bring to the job.

Here are three additional points to keep in mind:

  • When recruiting, do not stop just because you did not get a result after the first go-round. Keep going.  Recruiting is a multi-faceted activity that requires more than just placing an ad in a diverse community newspaper or on the website. Never stop.  You can never have too many qualified candidates in your database.
  • When interviewing, focus on not overselling or trying too hard (there is a fine line). Be aware of any biases you may bring to the table and how they can affect your conclusions.
  • As the hiring committee meets, address any / all biased comments and decisions.

Recruiting diverse talent should be a key business imperative, and this is where Snelling can help.  We have been recruiting qualified applicants – from different backgrounds – for over 60 years.  We can help you devise a diversity recruiting plan and can be your strategic recruiting partner as well.  So contact us today and let’s get a plan going?