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6 ways to encourage greater diversity with your hiring process

For the average small business, diversity is a powerful factor. But when you start to think about creating a more diverse workforce, the task might seem complicated and littered with opportunities to misstep.

In truth, systematically improving diversity for your business could be easier and far more impactful than you think. An inclusive company-culture leads to more innovation, reduced turnover, and faster problem-solving; as research from Mckinsey and Harvard points out, from a purely business perspective – it’s a powerful competitive advantage.  Below, get some simple tips on how you can adapt your hiring process to inherently support greater diversity within your organization – whether you’re small and family-owned or a local powerhouse with multiple locations.


Be aware of your language 

The language you use makes a big difference, and it’s easy for job postings to contain language that’s inherently coded with words that invoke bias or could influence an applicant to look elsewhere. Taking the time to remove bias in your job descriptions is one easy way to contribute to less-skewed applicant pools.

Job descriptions absent of gender-specific wording have been proven to generate a much higher level of response from applicants

Are you using gender-biased words?

Dominate, workforce, lead, competitive, confident, outspoken, decisive, determined, drive

Supportive, collaborative, committed, cooperative, honest, understanding, loyal

Strong, sound, steady, steer, energize, inspire, pioneer, grow, thoughtful, trusted


Be proactive with recruitment

First, “always be hiring”. By adopting this mindset, you ensure that your business always has a diverse spread of applicants in the pipeline. But also make an effort to expand your recruitment strategy to a wider range of locations, geographic areas, and schools with diverse enrollment. Making  connections with trade schools, community colleges, and institutions beyond traditional 4-year colleges can drastically improve the diversity of your applicant pool.


Collaborate with a diverse hiring team 

Combat unconscious bias by diversifying your hiring team. Include leaders of different backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and genders to help identify and overcome blind spots. Use a hiring tool that empowers collaboration to make communicating with your hiring team efficient and effective.


Achieve diversity through uniformity (of your process)

Systems and processes that are well established within the hiring journey ensure that each candidate is walked through the same interview process, regardless of background. An applicant tracking system and hiring workflow will help you stay accountable to who is coming down the pipeline, and how their application is managed.


Cut back on “required” qualifications, not your standards

Studies show that while men are likely to apply for jobs for which they meet 60% of the qualifications, women are much more likely to hesitate unless they meet 100% of the listed requirements. With this in mind, do you really need to include that laundry list of required qualifications? Cutting your requirements down to the bare essentials will help ensure a more diverse blend of applicants. 


Emphasize your company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion

You don’t have to be a major company making a bold public statement to remind applicants that diversity matters to you. But a tired old statement like “We are an equal opportunity employer”won’t do you any favors. Consider customizing this to something more personal, like:

 “Our company is wholeheartedly committed to creating a diverse working environment and proudly does everything possible to ensure we continue to be an equal opportunity employer. As you consider applying to work with us, we promise that every applicant will receive the same consideration and process regardless of race, religion, color, gender identity, veteran status, disability, or sexual orientation.”

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