As a leader, you’re bound to have seen at least a few pieces of literature outlining the many benefits — financial and otherwise — of diverse teams in the workplace. You probably already know teams that embrace diversity enjoy a distinct competitive advantage over teams that succumb to sameness.
But how do you go about developing — or revamping — your hiring process so that you’re actually hiring these candidates who can offer fresh perspectives and different ideas?
Let’s look at three simple strategies:
Build an inclusive brand
Companies that build their brand around prioritizing a positive candidate experience — from application to onboarding — typically attract two times the number of job candidates. Some people diminish the importance of inclusive imagery, but the visuals you choose for your brand say a lot about what (and who) you actually care about. So, when diverse candidates research your company, they should see imagery that shows you care about them and want them at the table.
This includes your existing employees, who can be your best brand champions, as long as they are engaged and truly believe in your commitment. Spend time with diverse groups of people in your workplace to better understand what challenges they may be facing and identify opportunities to create a welcoming and truly inclusive atmosphere.
Eliminate hiring groupthink
If the people writing the job descriptions, selecting the resumes and doing the interviewing are all thinking and feeling the same thing and doing things the same way, your inclusive hiring process isn’t off to a very good start.
Bring in a variety of competing perspectives to help weigh in on job descriptions and potential candidates. Ask yourself whether the job qualifications and requirements are truly relevant to the job since these sections of a job description are the most likely to be turned into a proxy for enforcing sameness.
Finally, remember that if you are hiring to avoid groupthink, then you should be evaluating each candidate’s culture add. Determine what your culture currently lacks and prioritize candidates who can bring these underrepresented skills/traits to the table to help your organization think and act differently.
Discourage unconscious bias
Having biases are part of being human, but you don’t want those biases to influence hiring decisions. Start by creating structured and standardized rubrics for scoring all candidates. Never review resumes or interview when you are tired.Evaluate candidates as a team to ensure that different perspectives on the candidate are considered. Finally, try to give yourself as much time as it takes to find the right hire.
Overall, you’re looking for a structured interview process that tests for the actual skills needed to perform the job well, instead of relying too much on how the candidate makes you or other leaders “feel.” Hiring with a focus on diversity requires leadership and innovative approaches. But it’s an increasingly essential part of keeping your business innovative and relevant in the 21st century. ●
Gloria Ware is Principal, Inclusion, at JumpStart Inc.