How to source diverse talent at the top of the pipeline

Max Barzel

Max Barzel

5 mins read

We all know that inclusive hiring is the right thing to do. Every candidate deserves a fair shot at an open role if they are skilled, regardless of their background.

But inclusive hiring isn’t just fair—it also strengthens businesses. When you’re considering candidates of all backgrounds, your company has access to a much wider range of top talent—leading to strong work performances. BCG found that companies whose leadership teams rank above average for diversity report 19% higher earnings.

Inclusive hiring also helps attract talented candidates, as many want to work in a welcoming organization. Glassdoor found in its research that 76% of job seekers say diversity is important to them. Glassdoor’s research also found that 32% of jobseekers won’t apply to work at a company that lacks diversity.

Broaden your talent acquisition techniques to find and hire talented candidates across all backgrounds and improve representation within your workforce. Here are a few tips to get started and help you improve diversity recruitment and build your talent pipeline.

1. Network with outside organizations that serve underrepresented talent.

As part of your recruiting strategy, work with universities and professional groups whose members include underrepresented talent to connect with a candidate pool you may not reach otherwise. Many of these organizations hold local job fairs and networking events to connect employers with their talent pool.

Consider Washington, D.C.’s Howard University, one of the United States’ historically Black colleges and universities. The university’s Center for Career and Professional Success offers companies opportunities to participate in career fairs, formal informational sessions, and student organizations, in addition to virtual opportunities.

There are also organizations that provide opportunities for employers to connect with potential candidates online. The National Society of Black Engineers has a Career Center website where companies can post jobs, create a bank of candidates and resumes, and share information about themselves. Depending on the organization, these services may be free or paid.

If you want to work with an organization and aren’t sure if they have a career center, contact them to ask if there are opportunities to work together or if they’re planning future events. Your recruiting team could host a virtual or in-person event for them or share a posting on their job board.

2. Review job descriptions to make sure they’re inclusive.

Even if your company intends to be welcoming, your job descriptions may include language that excludes candidates based on their demographics, like ethnicity or age. “Native English speaker” excludes anyone whose first language isn’t English—a requirement that’s unnecessary if you’re just looking for people who are fluent in English.

Remove unconscious biases from your job descriptions with the help of technology. AI tools like Writer can help you remove bias from job descriptions, while Gender Decoder can help you neutralize language to avoid masculine- or feminine-coded words.

Industry-specific jargon or acronyms in job descriptions can also scare off candidates—especially if the position is for an intern or entry-level employee. Using plain language in your hiring practices can help skilled candidates who aren’t familiar with this language feel more welcome to apply.

Finally, double-check the job requirements in the description to make sure they’re true requirements. The more requirements you list, the fewer candidates who will meet the job description. Separate the must-have requirements from the nice-to-have requirements that can be learned on the job to widen your candidate pool.

To start, you might ask yourself if a degree is necessary when a candidate has years of equivalent on-the-job experience. By requiring a degree, you immediately screen out over 70% of Black candidates and 80% of Latinx candidates, according to Byron Auguste, CEO of [email protected]

3. Partner with internal employee resource groups.

If your company has employee resource groups (ERGs)—voluntary groups of employees with a common characteristic—involve them in recruiting to learn how you can make your hiring more inclusive.

ERGs, sometimes called affinity groups, have unique but shared perspectives, so they’re often able to identify pain points that can be addressed to improve corporate practices and culture. For example, a group for disabled employees may be able to see where you can improve accessibility in recruiting and help you avoid ableism in the hiring process.

Employees involved in ERGs are helpful to have on hand at career fairs, panel discussions, and other recruiting events to help attract talented job candidates. They can serve as ambassadors for your company, connecting with candidates and sharing their genuine experiences of how your company embraces DEI and makes them feel valued and included. They also signal to job candidates that there is a space where they’ll be welcome when they join your organization.

You can also ask ERG team members to share job postings on their own social media accounts, like LinkedIn and Facebook. Let them know you’d love for them to share job postings along with their personal anecdotes about how your company culture positively impacts them.

4. Offer scholarships or internships for underrepresented groups.

Scholarship and internship programs for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds can regularly help your team find up-and-coming talent. Both programs attract candidates who are about to enter the workforce, and you can create programs for specific groups, such as women in STEM or LGBTQ+ individuals in tech.

You may need to delegate the responsibilities of managing your scholarship or internship program to someone on your team. They can create and oversee the program, making sure all state laws are followed and an application process is in place, and staying in touch with the participants.

These programs increase awareness of your company early on in potential candidates’ careers while you assist them in developing the skill set they need for your industry. Plus, using scholarship and internship programs as part of your sourcing strategy puts you in frequent contact with administrators and educators who can refer talent to you.

5. Use recruiting software and services to find diverse candidates.

Many companies don’t have large HR teams to oversee the recruiting process and may only have one hiring manager responsible for the interview process. If that sounds like your organization, consider using recruiting services and software. They can help you save time by looking for qualified candidates on your behalf.

Our platform, Covey, lets you source candidates, gather referrals, create outreach campaigns, and use data and metrics to create reports on your candidates and pipeline. Covey also allows you to highlight your employees’ network connections to match them with opportunities at your company. Their augmented sourcing feature helps collect and screen potential candidates to save you time. That’s time that you can put toward other recruiting initiatives.

Improve your diversity sourcing; improve your company and your brand

When you source talent from all backgrounds to hire a diverse workforce, you’re hiring in an ethical way and improving your employer brand. And with a representative workforce, your organization will be full of people with different perspectives—leading to better retention, creativity, and innovation.

To learn more about how you can easily source representative job candidates and build a diverse talent pool while saving time, schedule a demo with Covey today.

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