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5 Steps to Reaching Your Diverse Hiring Goals

According to a recent survey commissioned by Lever, 50% of talent practitioners say diversity and inclusion will become more of a priority as a result of the pandemic. With more and more companies proactively working to combat racism, you might be wondering: Where’s best to begin?

Diversity and inclusion take a concerted effort across an organization to make progress. Chez Jennings, Lead Technical Recruiter at Lever, recently spoke about her best practices at The Hiretual Partner Event. Here are her five steps to reaching your diverse hiring goals in 2021.

Step 1 – Reframe the way you think about inclusivity at the top of the funnel

According to Chez, “[as you] move further down the line, you can see that there’s so much more that we can do from modifying the requirements for roles, being open to transferable skills, or hiring on potential, or providing supplemental training.” 

The first action you can take is to actively un-bias the language you’re using in job descriptions. It could be as simple as limiting the absolute needed job requirements to effectively do the job, to using the phrase “culture add” instead of “culture fit.” 

One thing we do at Lever is to create impact descriptions as opposed to job descriptions. This ensures that we are focused on hiring candidates based on their impact to the organization instead of just assessing through a list of job requirements.

Step 2 – Get salary buy-in across the organization

Ultimately, a strong and inclusive strategy is one that’s both thorough and holistic, and requires buy-in from all parts of the organization. At Lever, we include all departments, from HR to finance, as we create salary bands and a compensation philosophy — all the way through to hiring teams when reassessing must haves versus wants for each and every candidate.

Step 3 – Create a repeatable and structured process to evaluate candidates

After fixing top of funnel business requirements and refining your job advertising strategy, the next step is to address how you move candidates through the entire recruitment process. Do you have an interview process that is repeatable and structured? 

According to Chez, “a set rubric and requirements for candidates to make sure that everybody is being evaluated at a level playing field” matters most. For instance, in the interview process, what accommodations are you allowing for candidates? Are you even asking them if they need accommodations? 

Ensure these measures aren’t missed, as many may be uncomfortable to ask if they need extra support when it comes time to interview.

Step 4 – Evaluate your internal team’s diversity

The last step is to look within at your internal teams and distributions. Who are you including in the screening process? Are they representative of a diverse group within your organization? 

“Assembling a hiring team that is diverse from different backgrounds, different levels, and teams is going to create a safer environment for candidates,” says Chez. If they can see themselves in your company and reflected in the people that they’re speaking with, they’re going to be much more comfortable moving forward in the interview process.

Step 5 – Incorporate technology to help with your diversity efforts

There are four questions to ask as you evaluate your recruiting technology to further your diversity and inclusion efforts. In times where teams and resources are leaner than ever before, automation and technology can help ensure you don’t miss your targets and continue to make diversity and inclusion a key focus across the company.

1. Does your technology help drive diverse applications?

“There’s a number of things that Hiretual can help with to drive diverse candidates at the top of funnel,” says Chez. Their market insights allow you to apply diversity filters to insights, and see a comprehensive view of top titles, companies, and skills of candidates from underrepresented groups. Based on those insights, your recruiters can strategize and target companies with more representation when they’re doing their sourcing. “Hiretual not only provides a diverse and fresh pool of candidates, but also refreshes your existing databases,” says Chez. 

“Hiretual also provides diversity filters. So, if you’re targeting women, veterans, Hispanic or Latinx, African-American, you can encourage intentional diversity sourcing and recruiters can also choose to opt into an all inclusive diversity filter, which will combine the filters that I mentioned for even further bias reduction, and diverse candidates,” says Chez. 

In an environment where job statuses are changing rapidly, it’s important to have an up-to-date pipeline where you can quickly screen, rank, and follow up with candidates within your ATS. Learn more about the Lever + Hiretual integration here.

2. Does your technology allow for blind hiring to remove unconscious biases?

Blind hiring mode allows recruiters to source without viewing candidate names and pictures. With the outreach data you do within Hiretual, your team will be able to collaborate on, and increase, your response rates. 

“We’ve found that the market says that personalized messages are key here,” says Chez. “So, we definitely want to make sure that you’re able to insert customizable tags, and messaging to reach out to people. And, ultimately, focusing on proactive sourcing is going to ensure that your team hits your diversity and inclusion hiring goals, if you are setting benchmarks on that front.”

3. Can you send diversity surveys to candidates at different stages of the interview process to spot any gaps?

Lever enables you to send out diversity surveys throughout the hiring process. You can have multiple surveys per location, and  are able to identify candidates that were both applied and perhaps sourced once they’re in your process, and map them to specific stages. Therefore, it’s easier to diagnose where you might want to make changes. 

What’s the difference between an EEO survey and a diversity survey?

A diversity survey is customizable, so you can edit more specific questions depending on what you’re looking for. A diversity survey is also opt-in. You can turn both on, and then use the diversity survey for diagnosing stages and EEO for straight reporting.

4. Does it provide data and reporting to tell you if you’re improving?

Conversion rates are also an important area to spotcheck when it comes to diversity and inclusion. One key indicator, for instance, is fall off rates in between candidates. This is an important metric to marry with a candidate survey to dive into feedback areas to improve. 

Be sure to ask candidates about their experience both onsite and also their withdrawal reasons. “You can use that to focus, and help your team make changes in, say, your onsite process to be able to optimize for a better experience and less fall off rates in those stages.” says Chez.

Final Thoughts: Setting diversity goals and getting your company involved 

Once you have your goals, you want to set timelines. “I really advocate for setting quarterly goals for greater team objectives, or company objectives,” says Chez. You also want to review the data, and action plan that you’ve created over time. 

Last, but not least, do an internal pulse check, so you’re talking through these things and getting buy-in, and checking in with different organizational leaders to make sure they’re on board and recalibrate as needed. That way, if there are adjustments that you need to make, whether that’s roles that are in flight, or roles that have not been kicked off yet, you’re able to do that really quickly.Looking for more tips on progressing your D&I goals? Explore learnings and failures from D&I leaders at Lyft, Shopify, Affirm, and Yelp in our The Diversity and Inclusion Handbook.