Companies looking for yet another reason to prioritize their DEI efforts have certainly found it: the widespread talent shortage. With far too many vacancies open– and far too few candidates showing a serious interest in them – organizations are becoming acutely aware of the value of adopting more inclusive recruitment approaches.
ManpowerGroup recently conducted a survey of the projected job market in 2023. While the Workforce Solutions entity found that employers were hopeful, the real-world statistics are discouraging for any leader looking to fill empty seats as quickly as possible. According to ManpowerGroup’s research, the global talent shortage has reached a 17-year high of 77%. Positions related to IT, engineering and sales are particularly difficult to fill.
Of course, this is not to say that applicants aren’t out there somewhere. That’s where being more inclusive and considerate comes into play. By thinking outside the sourcing and recruiting frameworks, business leaders and entrepreneurs can increase their chances of finding a good match. Otherwise, they will be relegated to continuing on the current path, which is not in the direction most growth-oriented organizations want to go.
How can you take more inclusive measures in the recruitment process? Use the steps below as a guideline. They should help you get your brand and job opportunities in front of more people from different backgrounds. As a result, you position your organization to meet this year’s goals with a full workforce, rather than a fragmented workforce.
1. Expand your purchasing pool.
If you keep posting your open job descriptions only in the same places, you’ll keep getting candidates from the same backgrounds. To broaden your search, you need to broaden your job search pipeline. This allows you to tap into more candidate pools, many of which can be much deeper and more engaged than your current pools.
Nick Pokoluk, director of services at outsourcing company Wilson HCG, recalls a client who wanted to hire diverse sales talent. Pokoluk’s solution was to build a talent community made up of people who would not normally be exposed to client job opportunities.
“We identified historically black colleges and universities and targeted medical device salespeople who graduated from those schools,” says Pokoluk. “We put those people in the talent community and started messaging them, trying to recruit them for our client.” The efforts required more imagination and attention, but they paid off.
Spend some time exploring new ways to find applicants. And don’t forget that some job boards have started actively distributing jobs to various groups. Pokoluk explains that CareerBuilder partners with several sites, such as AbilityLinks, ChicagoPride, El Neuvo, Multicultural Women’s Council, and US Black. As a result, you may be able to leverage existing job site tools to boost your DEI hiring.
2. De-gender your job descriptions.
Did you know that certain words can be off putting for some candidates? For example, while you’d think a job title like “hacker” would grab the attention of high-achieving people, Glassdoor suggests otherwise. As the job search site points out, certain titles can sound too masculine or feminine. When candidates see these titles and adjectives, they pass up the job postings because they don’t think they’re a good fit simply because of the language used.
Minami Rojas, vice president of growth at Moogsoft, writes on this topic, pointing out that women traditionally only apply if they feel they meet all listed qualifications. As a result, female applicants who could be an asset to your team will assume 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 skipping them.
Of course, it can be difficult to determine whether you are using language that is inclusive or exclusive without an objective evaluation system. Gender decoder provides a quick overview to tell you if you are heading in a neutral direction. It’s a free tool, so you don’t get many insights. Consider going for a solution like text. Not sure if changing your language will spark more interest? You can always try an A/B test with a job description “before gender-related language scrub” and “after gender-specific language scrub” to make sure.
3. Diversify your recruiting teams.
Another method to improve the inclusiveness of your recruiting activities is to diversify your recruiting team. Instead of always having the same team members review CVs and conduct in-person and virtual interviews, you can shake things up. Ask people to join the hiring committee who are not usually part of the discussion. You get more points of view and you may see candidates in a different light.
Be prepared to train employees who may not have experience of being on a recruiting team. For example, you can inform them about conscious and unconscious biases. One academic study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2021 showed clear biases in hiring candidates with conventionally black or female names. The study concluded that there was discrimination at the hiring stage, whether done conscientiously or not.
Putting together heterogeneous recruiting teams doesn’t just help identify and break down biases. It assures applicants from different backgrounds that they belong to your organization. When candidates from underrepresented populations see themselves in their interviewers, they are more likely to accept an offer later on.
The labor shortage is unlikely to correct quickly. Still, this shouldn’t affect your ability to build a world-class team or hinder your DEI goals. By focusing on more inclusive recruitment practices, you can maintain and improve your competitive advantage.