Companies looking for yet another reason to prioritize their DEI efforts have certainly found it: the widespread talent shortage. With far too many positions open—and far too few candidates showing serious interest in them—organizations are becoming keenly aware of the value of instituting more inclusive recruiting approaches.
ManpowerGroup recently conducted a survey of the anticipated 2023 labor market. Though the workforce solutions entity found that employers were hopeful, the on-the-ground statistics are daunting for any leader intent on filling empty seats as quickly as possible. According to ManpowerGroup’s research, the global talent shortage has reached a 17-year zenith at 77%. Positions related to IT, engineering, and sales are especially hard to fill.
This isn’t to say that applicants aren’t somewhere out there, of course. That’s where being more inclusive and thoughtful comes into play. By thinking outside the sourcing and hiring box, company leaders and entrepreneurs can increase their odds of finding a great fit. Otherwise, they’ll be relegated to continuing along the current path, which isn’t headed in a direction most growth-oriented organizations want to go.
Just how can you adopt more inclusive measures into the hiring process? Use the steps below as a guide. They should help you get your brand and job opportunities in front of more people from different backgrounds. As a result, you’ll position your organization to move ahead with this year’s goals with a full workforce rather than a fragmented one.
1. Broaden your sourcing pool.
If you continue to only post your open job descriptions in the same places, you’ll continue to get candidates from the same backgrounds. To widen your search, you must widen your job-sourcing pipeline. This allows you to tap into more applicant pools, many of which could be far deeper and more engaged than your current pools.
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Nick Pokoluk, director of service delivery at recruitment process outsourcing firm Wilson HCG, remembers one client that wanted to hire diverse sales talent. Pokoluk’s solution was to build a talent community made up of people who wouldn’t ordinarily be exposed to the client’s position openings.
“We identified historically Black colleges and universities and targeted medical device salespeople who graduated from those schools,” Pokoluk says. “We put those people in the talent community and started messaging them, trying to recruit them to our client.” The efforts took more imagination and consideration, but they paid off.
Spend some time exploring new-to-you ways to find applicants. And remember that some job-hunting sites have begun to actively push out job postings to diverse groups. Pokoluk explains that CareerBuilder partners with diverse sites, such as AbilityLinks, ChicagoPride, El Neuvo, Multicultural Women’s Council, and US Black. Consequently, you may be able to leverage existing job board tools to move the needle on your DEI hiring.
2. De-gender your job descriptions.
Did you know that certain words can be turnoffs to some candidates? For instance, although you might think a job title like “hacker” would grab high-performers’ attention, Glassdoor suggests otherwise. As the job-hunting site notes, certain titles can sound too masculine or feminine. When candidates see these titles and adjectives, they pass the jobs over because they don’t think they’d be a good fit—simply because of the language used.
Writing on the topic, Minami Rojas, vice president of growth at Moogsoft, points out that women traditionally only apply for jobs when they feel they meet all listed qualifications. The outcome is that women applicants who might be assets to your team assume that you’re not looking for them if they don’t see themselves reflected in your job descriptions. Inclusive language could encourage them to apply for those positions instead of passing them over.
Of course, it can be hard to determine whether you’re using language that’s inclusive or exclusive without an objective evaluation system. Gender Decoder provides a quick overview to tell you if you’re heading in a neutral direction. It’s a free tool, so you won’t get a lot of insights. For a more in-depth look at your job descriptions, consider paying for a solution like Textio. Not sure if changing your language will spark more interest? You can always try an A/B test with a “before gendered-language scrubbing” and “after gendered-language scrubbing” job description to know for certain.
3. Diversify your hiring teams.
Another method to improve the inclusivity of your recruitment activities is to diversify your hiring team. Rather than always having the same team members evaluating résumés and conducting in-person and virtual interviews, shake things up. Ask people to join the hiring committee who aren’t typically part of the discussion. You’ll get more viewpoints and perhaps see candidates in a different light.
Be ready to train employees who might not have experience sitting on a hiring team. For instance, you could educate them on conscious and unconscious biases. One academic study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2021 showed distinct hiring biases against candidates who had conventionally Black or feminine names. The study concluded that discrimination was happening at the hiring stage, whether or not it was being done conscientiously.
Constructing heterogenous hiring teams won’t just help identify and break down biases. It will assure applicants from diverse backgrounds that they belong at your organization. When candidates from underrepresented populations see themselves in their interviewers, they’ll be more likely to accept an offer down the road.
The labor shortage isn’t likely to correct itself quickly. Yet, you don’t have to let this affect your ability to build a world-class team or hamper your DEI objectives. By focusing on more inclusive hiring measures, you can keep and hone your competitive edge.