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4 Simple Ways to Increase Your Company’s Diversity

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Daniel Chait

Daniel Chait is CEO & co-founder of Greenhouse and has been a technology entrepreneur in New York City for nearly 20 years. Dan is a frequent speaker on the topics of recruiting and entrepreneurship and has presented at numerous venues including General Assembly, the University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship, Launch Scale, DEMO Traction, and the Wharton Entrepreneurship Conference. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Computer Engineering (#GoBlue!). Connect with Dan on Twitter.

 

In my previous post, I shared some of the common traps that companies fall into when considering how to implement diversity hiring initiatives.

Here are 4 tips to improve your company’s diversity:

1. Create a structured interview and assessment process

Many interview processes lack structure. You treat each candidate uniquely, asking whatever questions occur to your team throughout the interview process. The problem with this approach is that it lets individual biases creep in, and it means that you’re not evaluating each candidate in the same way.

The solution? Implement a structured interview process. (In fact, we recently published a handy interactive workbook to get you started!). When you do this, you outline exactly what the purpose of a role is before you even begin recruiting, which helps you streamline everything from the job listing to the on-site interview.

When you come up with your list of criteria, think critically about the profile of the ideal candidate. Instead of requiring degrees from elite institutions or work experience from specific types of consulting companies, dig deeper into the actual skills you’re trying to hire for, e.g. has this person managed a team of a specific size? Have they demonstrated an aptitude for problem-solving in high-stakes situations? Being crystal clear on the skill set you’re looking for ensures that you’ll make decisions based on evidence rather than on gut feelings.

And if you’re truly dedicated to hiring the most talented people and want to do your best to eliminate bias from the early stages of the hiring process, there are numerous ways to approach this. We’ve recently released the Blind Testing feature of Greenhouse, which allows employers to grade candidate skills tests without knowing the candidate’s name or personal details, which mitigates gender and ethnicity bias and allows for objective candidate feedback.

Greenhouse also integrates leading providers of solutions to remove recruiting bias and improve diversity, including: Buzz Technologies, Entelo, Plum.io, Pymetrics, and Savvy. There are a number of other great tools out there like GapJumpers and Blendoor that strip applications of candidates’ identifying details so you can focus on their work experience and abilities. And Textio evaluates the wording of your job descriptions to identify any potentially off-putting language. Did you know, for example, that specifying you’re looking for a “rock star” will generate a significantly larger number of male applicants? Yet another instance of bias creeping in where you don’t expect it.

2. Source from a broader pool

If you’ve typically looked to the same sources for candidates, one simple way to diversify your workforce is by broadening your pool of sources. You can accomplish this in several ways—by looking for career changers with transferable skills rather than people who came up through traditional ranks or supporting diversity groups in your community and at the university level, for example.

Also, if your company supports remote workers, consider sourcing talent from other countries or regions.

3. Institute a referrals program that prioritizes diversity

Referrals programs are a gold mine when it comes to finding talented people who fit your company culture. Employees who come from referrals tend to have better performance and retention rates than those who came in through other means. I realize that referrals programs sometimes have the unfortunate effect of promoting homogeneity instead of diversity, but this doesn’t have to be the case. When asking employees to make referrals, be sure to nudge them towards candidates from underrepresented groups.

This can be as simple as framing your requests in a particular way—instead of asking, “Who’s the best person you know?”, ask “Who’s the best woman you know?” or “Who’s the best person from a group that’s currently underrepresented at our organization?”

4. Make sure your company is attractive for people from various backgrounds

Take a moment and put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. What sort of diversity do you have represented on your careers page? What about among your recruiters and hiring managers? If diversity isn’t part of your employer brand and candidate experience, you may be inadvertently sending the message that it’s not a priority at your organization.

And if you have aspirations to hire more diverse candidates but aren’t quite there yet, think about ways you can communicate that message to potential candidates. One way to demonstrate this could be by aligning your company with a particular cause or organization: sponsor an LGBT group, donate to a charity that helps veterans, or participate in a local event with members of an underrepresented community.

The bottom line is simple: There are steps that we can all be taking to make our organizations more diverse. It doesn’t take advanced data skills, big budgets, or major recruiting resources to accomplish this. It all begins with a genuine desire to be more open and inclusive, and then the motivation to make the first move so that it becomes reality.

I’d welcome your thoughts and suggestions on any of the topics I’ve mentioned here. You can find me on Twitter @dhchait.

Be sure to join us at Greenhouse Open, taking place from May 25–27th in San Francisco, where we’ll be discussing diversity and other essential topics for forward-thinking people-people.

Greenhouse Open

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