DEI Hiring: How can Small Businesses Join the Movement
Representation matters. This is one of the many reasons DEI hiring has become a top priority in many organizations in recent years. But what do you do if your organization is beholden to someone else to do the hiring? As a boutique, retained executive search firm, we control the candidates we present. At the end of the day, though, our clients make an offer to the candidate they feel best fits their role and culture. Does that mean organizations like ours have to sit on the sidelines of the DEI game? Absolutely not! Here are four things we’re doing to help change the hiring landscape.
Remove identification biases
One of the initiatives we’ve instituted here at TurningPoint Executive Search is to remove all identifying descriptions from the resumes we present to our clients: name, gender, pronouns, etc. In doing so, we decrease the potential for unconscious bias, allowing our client to focus solely on the applicant’s merits, experience, and skills at this stage of the process.
Eliminate unnecessary requirements
There are certain hiring practices that “just are.” One is requiring candidates to have a degree to be considered for a role. While this is a non-negotiable for some jobs, that’s not always the case, and can be an unconscious bias. Research shows that access to higher education is impacted by race and socio-economic status. In fact, only 30% of 4-year credentials are awarded to Black and Hispanic students. When a post-secondary degree is required, organizations eliminate 70% of the candidate pool before posting the first job listing. The hiring manager and leadership team must collaborate to determine what requirements are necessary and which aren’t. “That’s just how we’ve always done it” won’t cut it anymore. Making a degree preferred or “a plus” allows the organization to have a more inclusive candidate selection.
Change your marketing lens
Does everyone on your website look the same? Do you highlight one gender or race over another? Do you include transcripts with your video content and alt text with your graphics? Again, these are often things companies unconsciously neglect. Nevertheless, your potential candidates may also unconsciously see your organization as non-inclusive. Invest the time to become familiar with the DEI landscape. Diversify visuals, references, and articles to include inclusive content, and incorporate evolving language to expand inclusivity.
Expand your sourcing
Like your hiring process and job requirements, your sourcing strategy must evolve, too. A surefire way to increase the diversity of your potential candidates is to diversify where you go to find them. This is especially important to bridge the gap when it comes to education requirements. Partnering with schools that serve a diverse population and networking with diversity-minded organizations will bring you face-to-face with people you might not have met otherwise. And let’s not forget the power of hiring diverse recruiters and promoting diverse leaders!