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Hiring:  Best Practices To Increase Diversity

by | May 18, 2022 | Inclusion

A hiring manager calls a recruiter: “I need to hire a Marketing Director ASAP.”

The recruiter responds: “What are you looking for? Got a job description?”

Hiring manager: “No, I don’t have time to write one. Can you create one?”


This simple request can lead recruiters to cut and paste old job descriptions and accidentally insert bias into the hiring process.

In our inclusive hiring training, we share critical points where biases enter your hiring process. Knowing where and how to mitigate biases matters if you are trying to diversify your candidate pipeline. We know there is no silver bullet that will fully remove all bias. However, you can immediately adopt these HR best practices to diversify your pipeline.

  1. Job Descriptions

The language in your job description can attract or detract the right candidate. Too many masculine words and you may end up with a homogenous candidate pool. Inclusive job descriptions use gender-neutral words to tap into diverse candidate pools. If you don’t want to try to figure out feminine vs masculine words on your own, use tools like BE Applied to remove gender biases. If you can’t afford it, at least start by excluding phrases such as “we are looking for a rock star,” as this may signal male-only candidates.

2. Expand Criteria to Embrace Diversity

Organizations like Delta Airlines are realizing that a bachelor’s degree may not be necessary for their pilots to be effective at their job and are implementing a new policy removing that requirement. We know that requiring degrees can serve as a barrier for those who are capable but economically disadvantaged. Analyze all jobs and decide for which to remove unnecessary educational requirements or simply ask hiring managers questions such as “is a bachelor’s degree needed to effectively perform this job?”

You can take a long-term approach and design new career paths for people to enter your industry. No worries. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Learn here about Microsoft Leap or LinkedIn technical apprenticeship programs. If your goal is to remove barriers for women, check out T-Mobile’s reachHire program which opens the door to returning mothers.

3. Signal Inclusion

Not only show images of your diverse staff but share real stories of their experience working at your organization. Ask if they would sell your company to future candidates with a brief video documenting their hiring experience and showcase the need for diversity on their team. See on this page how Google talks about its diversity and inclusion of people with disabilities.

 4. Flexibility

One of the most searched terms currently on Google is “remote jobs near me.” We know that diverse candidates often prefer a remote option to avoid dealing with subtle acts of exclusion or to gain the flexibility that enables them to care for loved ones. Also, consider offering part-time opportunities to engage a more diverse workforce.

5. Connect with Diverse Communities

Candidates from diverse communities may be hesitant to immediately respond to your job ads without knowing if your organization values and respects them. Thus, it is critical to nurture relationships with these communities, sponsoring their events and following up with candidates you decide to decline. If you are only relying on “diverse” job boards, re-assess if it is working as it may not be as effective as you think. A great place to connect with the neurodiverse community is the Microsoft Career Connector where you can showcase your neurodiverse hiring program and source candidates.

Lastly, if you are a recruiter or a hiring manager your biggest challenge in a time-scarce world is having the time to know how to hire. Neural Shifts’ Inclusive Hiring Class can help your team get started. In the class, you will get clear and actionable tools to minimize biases in your recruitment and interviewing process. After leaving the class, you will feel confident in applying the techniques to increase the number of diverse hires.  

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