In challenging candidate markets, talent acquisition professionals need to understand the benefits gained by valuing diversity and inclusion. But how do we reach, appeal to and ensure inclusivity of everyone across talent communities?
Inclusion celebrates everybody as an individual with unique contributions to make, so it’s important to reach a diverse audience with your recruiting strategy. As a starting point, it’s helpful to understand what the company goals are in relation to inclusion. Once the goal is clearly defined, then you can develop a plan of action.
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Get to know your audience
It’s important to do your research to ensure you’re using a variety of sourcing strategies that will attract a diverse population. All routes to market should be considered — including advertising, referrals, direct sourcing, social media, industry associations, community groups and organisations — to actively provide you with potential candidates.
Imagine an organisation in the technology sector that has a goal to increase its rate of female applicants into engineering positions. Advertising on mainstream job boards will attract suitable candidates — however, will they reach all of your target audience?
Using this example, think about specific avenues to reach those female engineers and engage with them. A few different combinations on a search engine will result in a variety of paths to explore. For example, Women in Technology is a job board which focuses particularly on advertising to women in this sector and Mumsnet is a parenting website that has a job page where you can reach mums who may work in technology. LinkedIn has a large number of diverse groups worth exploring. So does Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other social media sites.
Build relationships, not just contacts
Joining these groups and actively participating in discussions will help to build up your network and raise your profile. Even consider setting up your own groups to provide a platform for your target market to network and share information with each other. This will not only provide you with a great network, but will also give you that insight into what they value when looking for their next role. Be sure to create content or direct your network to external content, as this will help you be seen as an active participator in your specific industry. Attending events and building relationships with key players will also raise your profile.
In the UK there is an association called WISE, a campaign to promote women in science, technology and engineering. This would be a potential association to participate in for our above example. You can explore similar associations in your industry and geography to illustrate to potential employees that you value diversity.
Networking is essential. Understanding current issues and news will help you to do this. Read blogs and relevant articles, and discover what events are happening and where you can get your roles and organisation seen. As you gain that network, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals – this can be a reliable source as most people will not recommend someone who would reflect badly on themselves.
Develop a Consistent Message
As you raise your own profile, it is important that you communicate a consistent message. Are you highlighting the employer value proposition (EVP) of the business you’re supporting clearly and visibly? Focus on any specific benefits which might appeal to your target audience, such as flexible working or job share opportunities. Current employees of the organisation are your best ambassadors — ensure your hiring managers are aware of your activity and get them involved too if you can. Showcasing the success and development of others in the organisation to your target group will reinforce your message.
It is important to take a long-term approach and build your reputation as a recruiter who actively recruits a diverse candidate slate. If you invest the time and energy to build up your network and relationships, it will really help you to be a successful recruiter who has a broad, inclusive talent pool to draw upon.
The diversity and inclusion philosophy of a company is important to truly understand and before putting one in place, it's always advisable to consult with legal counsel.