While organizations may have goals to increase the diversity of their workforce, they can struggle to execute the plan effectively and remove hiring barriers for applicants with different backgrounds.
Businesses that embrace more inclusive hiring practices stand to gain advantages like:
- Strengthened company brand
- Greater access to new strengths and skills in a wider talent pool
- Competitive advantages when tapping into new markets with top talent
- Improved employee engagement and reduced turnover
- Increased profitability. Companies in the top quartile for ethnic diversity in their executive team are 25% more likely to realize above-average financial returns1
To best achieve these benefits, organizations can partner with a staffing agency focused on diversity recruiting. With the help of an experienced agency, companies receive guidance on how to remove unconscious bias, eliminate restrictive job requirements, optimize talent acquisition pipelines, and expand niche talent pools.
Guidance on How to Remove Unconscious Bias
Job descriptions and websites are some of the primary windows into a company’s culture and workplace diversity for prospective employees. Candidates with diverse backgrounds will likely pay close attention to the wording within these areas to determine cultural fit. Those who feel excluded by the language may look elsewhere for employment.
While exclusive bias can be hard to detect all the time, recruiters at an agency experienced in diverse recruitment can quickly identify potential sources of unconscious bias and recommend how to make the wording more appealing for diverse groups of candidates. In addition, agencies stay up-to-date on job candidate perceptions, such as how women are far less likely to apply for a job if they do not perceive to have 100% of the qualifications, where a man will apply with just 60%.2
Examples of unconscious bias that an agency can advise on include:
- The use of “man” in a job title, such as “chairman,” instead of “chairperson”
- The mention of “the guys” or a gender-specific group of people
- Saying the applicant must be a native English speaker instead of specifying that the candidate must have strong communication skills3
- Listing a requirement to lift up to 25 lbs. when it should be left out if it’s not a job necessity
- Detailing maternity leave benefits instead of parental/family leave
- Requiring candidates to hold degrees from only certain colleges/universities (i.e., Ivy League schools) , work experience with only certain companies (i.e., Big 4 experience), and/or an overly-specific career path, when general industry/business experience will suffice
Related Reading: The New Challenges HR Teams Are Facing in 2021
Elimination of Exclusive Job Requirements
Employers can get support from a staffing agency to examine job requirements and make recommendations on how to use more inclusive language in two critical areas: education level qualifications and background checks.
Education Level Qualifications
Employers posting job descriptions that limit applicants to a specific degree level or to Ivy League graduates can severely reduce their talent pool size. Organizations with more accepting education requirements, such as resume gap time, or that allow for equivalent experience, expand their reach to qualified candidates with the skill sets and work experience that can help realize company growth goals.
Staffing agencies focused on diversity can provide advice on how to tweak requirements to include both formal and informal education/training. This encompasses candidates with various certificates and degrees, as well as people graduating from both online and in-person higher education institutions across the country.
While employers can use background checks that include criminal history and driving records to weed out what can be perceived as untrustworthy and unqualified job candidates, these processes can also present a significant barrier for diverse professionals seeking employment. Staffing agencies can make sure jobs posted to career sites and third-party job boards have fair background screening processes that don’t unfairly discriminate against certain applicants for past mistakes. It should also be noted that a number of states and municipalities have legislation that limit the use of certain screenings that historically limit opportunity and upward mobility, can lead to discrimination, and are often seen as invasions of privacy.
Optimization of Diverse Talent Pipelines
One important aspect of promoting a more inclusive workforce is for organizations to determine their team’s current diversity population and use that information to set specific inclusivity goals. Staffing agencies partner with companies to analyze the candidate pools they engage with and look at what percentage are from a particular population group. An agency can identify job roles that aren’t bringing in enough diverse candidates and make recommendations on what can be done to better attract, and retain, those professionals. Companies can use this guidance to strengthen their talent pipelines and to tap into diverse skilled candidates.
Related Reading: Candidate Sourcing Strategies: Upgrade Your Talent Pipeline
Connections with Diversity Recruitment Communities
Staffing agencies that prioritize diversity meet people where they are—in community activities, networking groups, and organizations specializing in placing candidates from varied backgrounds. By developing relationships in those spaces, agencies build and expand their diverse professional talent pool. Agency assistance allows organizations to have greater awareness of inclusive communities HR teams can tap into to find talent who will become invaluable team members with new perspectives and unique skill sets.
Looking for assistance expanding diversity recruitment efforts to strengthen your team and increase your competitiveness? Sparks Group is here to help. We work as a consultative partner for companies—reviewing candidate metrics and analyzing unconscious bias to identify where hiring practices can be tweaked to promote inclusivity. Reach out to our team of staffing experts and we will optimize your company’s hiring processes and messaging to attract niche talent from unique backgrounds.