6 Ways to Increase Diversity in the Recruitment Process

I recently attended a presentation from Insead on their Global Talent Competitiveness Index, which ranked Singapore as 2nd worldwide and number 1 in Asia, which is a great achievement. A key takeaway from the presentation was that countries (and essentially companies) with greater diversity outperform their peers by a significant margin. This is why creating more leadership opportunities for women, being more open-minded about cultural differences and increasing diversity is going to be key for the growth of organisations in 2016.We have already seen senior leaders in large MNCs giving diversity a greater emphasis with the creation of Director Diversity and Inclusion positions to give diversity greater visibility and drive initiatives in their organisations. So what can companies do to increase diversity during their recruitment process?

1. Diversity in your current team

At the start of the recruitment process, it is key that hiring managers asses the diversity of their current team. Is everyone a mirror of the hiring manager, as a lot of managers hire in the image of themselves? Would the team operate better if there was a different approach and greater diversity?

2. Performance-based job descriptions

Often, when a hiring need arises, most organisations bring out an existing job description that has been around for years, rather than creating a job description from scratch. This is one of the biggest mistakes in the recruitment process. If you want to bring in high performers, you need to consider how the role could be delivered in a different way, not what the role has become. What transferable skills and attitude would make someone successful in this position?

Start with the desired outcomes for the position and what competencies the candidate would need in order to be successful in the position. Then focus on the transferable skills required that would be of benefit to the organisation, rather than the years of experience. A lot of good candidates will be ignored if you don’t clarify the criteria for shortlisting before the process starts.

3. Reaching your talent

To ensure a diverse pool of candidates, you need to make sure you are using a candidate attraction strategy that will reach a diverse range of candidates. Once you have a performance-based job description, use this as the basis to write an effective job advertisement. Make sure you focus on the attitude and transferable skills, rather than years of experience and qualifications, as this will attract and capture the widest diverse talent available.

Pay close attention to the wording of the advert and state your commitment as a company to a diverse candidate pool, as if you are known internally and externally to be committed to diversity this will draw diverse candidates to apply. If you are asking for language skills, is that really essential for the position, or are you using an unconscious bias? When using any images, make sure they represent the diversity of your employees.

When looking for passive job seekers, or when networking to find suitable candidates, if it is cost effective, approach networking groups with a diverse range of members (women in leadership, for example).

 4. Shortlisting process

The best way to guarantee diversity is to ensure that those involved in the shortlisting process have been trained on diversity and to be aware of unconscious bias. It is also favourable if the employee responsible for shortlisting is from a diverse background. Consider only the essential criteria to do the job which was agreed in the job description and consider candidates from diverse backgrounds that would be suitable for the position even if with some coaching or mentoring. Some organisations have gone as far as taking the names off CVs before the shortlisting process.

5. Interviewing for cultural fit and attitude rather than skill set

As with the shortlisting process, ensure that the interview panel is from a diverse background and has had training on diversity. This can show the organisation’s commitment to diversity and may make the candidate feel more comfortable. Remember the desired outcomes for the position and ask competency-based questions that produce transferable results.

6. Monitor diversity

A key part to a successful recruitment process that attracts and hires diverse candidates is to have senior stakeholders driving the process, making hiring managers accountable for diversity in their objectives. Monitor the diverse make-up of candidates and the candidates you choose to join the organisation. Regularly review the recruitment process to make sure you are attracting, shortlisting and interviewing a diverse range of candidates that have the right culture, fit and quality to improve your team and organisation.

In today’s global economy, the customer base of organisations is very diverse and if your company’s diversity doesn’t reflex your customer base you could be missing out on customers and revenue.

Should you wish to speak to one of our team about your recruitment process and how we can help you, please do not hesitate to contact us.