6 Tips to Hire for Diversity

So, you already understand the advantages of having greater diversity in the workplace. Perhaps you’ve experienced it firsthand by hiring employees representing a range of different backgrounds and skill sets.

Over time, the composition of a workforce changes as people move on to other opportunities, new positions are created to meet business demands, and staff retire. This means you have to be very purposeful to ensure your team continues to represent diversity and that your company benefits from the richness it can bring.

Read on for six of the best tips to hire and retain an employee group with disparate characteristics.

Introduce blind screening

Blind screening is an excellent approach to leveling the playing field for job candidates. Essentially, it requires removing each candidate’s name from the resume so applications can be reviewed by the hiring manager or recruiter while keeping this information hidden.

This guards against bias creeping into the process. The individual screening resumes, and deciding whether or not to offer an interview isn’t swayed inadvertently by the job hunter’s name. For example, it takes away any tendency to favor names that suggest a certain gender.

It can also go a long way in avoiding discrimination against an applicant based on whether their name indicates a different ethnicity from the screener.

Hire for skills and expertise

This advice may sound like a “no-brainer,” but it’s definitely something to keep in mind. It’s quite easy to fall into the trap of putting too much emphasis on work experience at the expense of skill level.

The downside is that any employment gaps that a person has or a list of positions that seems a bit shorter than what you’d expect is given more weight than is warranted. What’s required here is digging a little deeper to understand what the resume is telling you.

Next, focus on what skill set an applicant has by asking them to elaborate. Behavioral questions can be beneficial in allowing a candidate to demonstrate how they measure up against the competencies you’re seeking. This can be a better gauge of their capabilities.

Give weight to foreign credentials

It can be extremely difficult for job seekers to find their footing in a new country. Professional accrediting bodies and associations are sometimes known for setting the bar high for those educated abroad in order to have their qualifications recognized.

Unless your business is bound by a hiring rule that necessitates a particular credential for the position you’re recruiting for, take a good look at the candidate’s foreign credentials. Chances are, you’ll find a very highly skilled person with a wealth of expertise.

And, if you hire the individual, consider helping your new employee meet the requirements to be fully recognized in this country. You’ll earn the loyalty of your staff and encourage them to build a career with you.

Educate yourself

Increase the likelihood that a diverse range of candidates will apply by finding out what, in particular, attracts people to a particular employer. Not every potential hire is looking for the same thing. Therefore, it’s a good practice to cast a wide net when it comes to working conditions.

For instance, you might want to offer various types of flexible working arrangements. Options like the ability to bank extra hours and take time off later can help staff balance work and family responsibilities. The ability to work from home some days or to implement flex start and finish times could also entice applicants.

In addition, watch how you word your job ads and position descriptions. The language you use could be turning off some job seekers.

Be aware of hidden biases

We all have biases and, unfortunately, some can interfere with forming an impartial assessment of an applicant. You may pride yourself on being a good judge of character, and certainly first impressions are important.

Even so, take care that you’re forming an opinion based on the right factors. Let the interview run its course and listen to the candidate’s answers before you jump to any conclusions about them. An open mind is needed to properly contemplate each interviewee’s performance. This is another route to maintain fairness and value diversity. 

Understand the pitfall of the ‘fit’ test

When you hear employers talk about someone being a ‘good fit’ for their company, it suggests that they have a lot in common with their co-workers. This kind of thinking runs counter to increasing diversity on the team.

It’s definitely preferable to abandon this approach and focus on the various skills that a new hire has. Employees who are different from one another will challenge and enhance the environment with new perspectives. You’ll find that collaboration doesn’t depend on everyone having the same attitude.

Start with these six tips and you’ll be well on your way to increasing diversity in your business.