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5 diverse hiring strategies you need to succeed in 2021

In response to the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, many companies were quick to voice their support for and commitment to social change. And while some companies have made clear changes to improve diversity in the workplace, others have been criticized for making statements that were more performative than substantive.

With the heightened attention on racial and social equity comes greater awareness of the complexity surrounding inequality. Diversity is complicated. That’s why nearly 95 percent of large corporate diversity recruiting efforts routinely fail to meet their Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) goals. Taking a hard look at your current hiring practices and tailoring them to achieve diversity hiring success can be challenging—but it is worth it.

Building a diverse, inclusive workforce is critical to attracting top talent, ensuring employee satisfaction and retention, and improving innovation and the bottom line. According to Boston Consulting Group, organizations that have more diverse leadership see 19 percent higher revenue. And Glassdoor research reveals that 76 percent of job seekers say a diverse workforce is important when evaluating companies and job offers. Diversity hiring has become a priority for everyone from job seekers and employees to HR leaders and the C-suite.

In this blog post, we’ll explore what diversity hiring is and why it matters, explore diversity hiring best practices, and share five strategies for improving your diversity hiring process at every stage of the candidate journey.

What is diversity hiring?

Diversity hiring refers to a recruiting process that is specifically designed to reduce biases related to a candidate’s age, race, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, or any other personal characteristic that has no bearing on job performance. With a special focus on eliminating the biases that could hinder qualified candidates from being hired, implementing hiring practices for diversity ensures candidates are evaluated exclusively on merit.

By purposely considering job candidates from a variety of backgrounds and taking steps to ensure hiring practices are fair, inclusive, and free from barriers and biases, employers can create a level playing field that gives everyone an equal opportunity to compete for a job.

Diversity hiring is not about hiring people from a variety of different backgrounds just for the sake of meeting DE&I metrics. Rather, it’s about implementing hiring practices that eliminate unconscious biases in the recruiting process that prevent qualified, diverse candidates from being considered and eventually hired.

How does unconscious bias influence hiring decisions?

Humans are instinctive creatures. And while our instincts have evolved to protect us from danger—think woolly mammoths and saber-toothed tigers—relying on them in the hiring process leads to bad hires, discriminatory hiring practices, and a lack of workplace diversity.

During the interview process, for example, most people decide if they like someone or not almost immediately. It’s natural to gravitate toward people with whom you instantly connect, but relying too much on gut instinct in the hiring process allows unconscious bias—also known as implicit bias—to seep in and influence hiring decisions. It’s why, according to one study, 93 percent of companies recognize the need to reduce bias in their talent acquisition process.

Unconscious bias can be found in all aspects of the recruitment process. Unfortunately, these biases prevent companies from achieving and realizing the benefits of a truly diverse workforce. Diversity recruiting seeks to overcome the unintentional biases we all carry that cause us to form opinions about a candidate or make hiring decisions that are not based on job-related qualifications.

5 hiring strategies for improving diversity

When it comes to diversity hiring best practices, we can all do better. Here are five specific ways that every company can improve its diversity hiring process:

1. Have diverse hiring goals

Saying you want to improve diversity hiring is a worthwhile goal, but not very actionable. Since you can’t improve what you can’t track, the first step is to implement and measure very clear goals around diversity hiring. Start by choosing one metric to improve upon and define what success looks like. For example, it could be increasing the number of qualified female candidates applying for tech-related roles by 15 percent within 12 months. By tracking and reporting on your diversity hiring goals, you can drive accountability and action.

2. Have a diverse hiring team

We all have a tendency to favor people like ourselves. That’s why in order to build a diverse workforce, you need to start with a diverse team of interviewers. When the hiring team is made up of people from a variety of backgrounds that can offer different perspectives, you eliminate the groupthink and echo chambers that often result in homogenous hiring patterns. And be sure to train hiring team members to recognize biases that can lead to unfair hiring decisions. Utilizing intelligent interviewing technology can also help organizations more effectively conduct structured interviews that reduce the impact of unconscious bias across the hiring team.

3. Create inclusive job descriptions

The words you use in your job descriptions have a huge impact on your ability to attract diverse job applicants. Use gender-neutral language and avoid words and phrases that can subconsciously turn off diverse candidates. For example, words and phrases often seen in job postings like “ninja,” “dominate,” “rockstar,” and “work hard, play hard,” tend to repel female candidates and older candidates. Be sure to also avoid using jargon and “company-speak”—the internal corporate language of your organization. It can make potential candidates feel unqualified and discourage them from applying at all.

4. Use AI during the recruitment process

The three steps we’ve discussed so far are all critical steps, but on their own they’re not enough to optimize hiring practices for diversity. That’s where artificial intelligence (AI) comes in. From auto-screening candidates to more effectively interviewing and assessing candidates, AI has a number of applications that can help recruiting teams hire smarter, faster, and without bias. Standardizing interviews with an AI-powered video interview solution like Clovers, for example, can keep biases and guesswork out of hiring decisions to help companies improve diversity hiring and ensure the best person for the role is hired.

5. Build a diverse talent pipeline with employee referrals

Employee referrals are usually employers’ top source of hire. Unfortunately, they can impede workforce diversity efforts and contribute to a homogeneous workforce. To overcome this and get your entire organization thinking about diversity, connect your diversity hiring initiatives with your employee referral initiatives. To build a diverse talent pipeline, start by asking employees for more diverse candidate referrals. For example, you might ask, “Who’s the best female engineer you know?” When Pinterest asked its engineers to refer candidates from underrepresented backgrounds, the results were astounding: it saw a 24 percent increase in the number of women referred and a 55 percent increase in the number of candidates from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

How intelligent interviews can improve diversity hiring

In recent years, diversity has increasingly become a strategic priority for HR and business leaders. Not only is it the right thing to do, but study after study confirms that companies with a strong focus on diversity and inclusion are more successful. With these five diversity recruiting strategies, organizations can build more diverse candidate pools, optimize hiring practices for diversity, and create a more inclusive workplace.

While we can’t eliminate human biases completely—after all, we often aren’t even consciously aware of the biases we hold—technology can help reduce their impact in the interview process and on hiring decisions. With an AI-powered video interview solution like Clovers, companies can easily evaluate candidates based on fair, objective criteria to give every candidate equal opportunity to show their potential and ensure they hire the right person, every time.

Ready to improve your diversity hiring?

Schedule a demo to learn how Clovers’ intelligent video interview solution can help you reduce unconscious bias in the hiring process and deliver inclusive, equitable interviews for all.