As the workforce continues to become more diverse, it's important for employers to adopt culturally responsive recruiting practices. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it can also help you expand your talent pool and fill hard-to-fill jobs. Here are the top tips from our recruiting team to engage BIPOC (black indigenous people of color) talent in your open positions.
Employers look to expand the types of people they recruit for their open jobs for lots of reasons. Connecting your diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) strategies with your talent acquisition programs is key to the long-term success of your organization. But, these programs cannot be successful on their own or without communicating them to the rest of your team. So, the best place to start with building a culturally responsive recruiting process is to define why your organization wants to do it in the first place.
Knowing why and bringing everyone on board with that reason is key to its success. Defining that goal clearly also means that seeing success is possible because everyone knows what the objective is. So, it is important for employers to define their why and then build their strategies around the changes to ensure they are effective.
Define Culturally Responsive
Now that you know why you want to build a culturally responsive recruiting strategy, the next step is to define what culturally responsive means for your organization. Generally, the phrase "culturally responsive" means to incorporate customs, characteristics, experiences, and perspectives from people's cultures to engage them in the matter.
To incorporate the concepts effectively, you will need to define what a culturally responsive recruiting strategy looks like. It can also mean defining diversity within your organization to ensure that the goals align with the tactics used in talent acquisition. Keep in mind there are a lot of different types of diversity - race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, physical/developmental ability, and many more. So take some time to define what kind of diversity you're looking for in your next hire. This will help you create targeted recruiting materials and identify the best places to look for candidates.
Do Your Homework
Before you start outreach, learn about the community or communities you're trying to reach. What are the unique challenges and needs of these groups? What organizations and leaders should you be partnering with? An understanding of the history and culture of these communities will help ensure that your recruiting efforts are respectful and effective.
Go to Them
Engaging people from diverse communities can mean going to them to establish credibility and interest. This becomes easier when you have a sense of who is missing from your current talent pool and what matters to those people. Recognizing that they aren't present to the degree that would like in your current staff or talent pool also means that you probably need to try something else to find these candidates.
Find where these candidates are connecting with other people in their communities. This could be a community group or online. For example, if you're looking for candidates from the LGBTQIA community, consider posting job listings on sites like PrideJobz or attending LGBTQIA job fairs.
Community-based organizations are a great resource for employers looking to recruit talent from diverse communities. These organizations typically have extensive networks and knowledge about the people they serve, so they can help connect you with qualified candidates who might not otherwise hear about your open positions.
More importantly, these ties to community groups can improve the credibility of your efforts to be culturally responsive. You will have greater access to understanding the people that you are trying to reach and that will result in stronger engagement of your talent pool and employees. People will also see this effort as a commitment to their community and be more engaged or even provide referrals for other employees in the future.
Use Inclusive Language in Job Postings
Another key tip is to use inclusive language in your job postings. This means evaluating the requirements for each position before you create the job postings. Using requirements that are too stringent or too specific can result in excluding people that would otherwise be a strong addition to your team. For example, systemic racism can impact people's access to college or the ability to complete their degrees. If that degree is not actually needed to do the job, then the identification of such requirements for the position creates a barrier for people to apply.
Even including things as a "preferred" requirement can create the appearance that the organization is only interested in candidates with those particular qualifications. In turn, people will self-select out of the process and move on to apply to jobs where they feel more comfortable.
To avoid people ignoring your open positions, you can use more culturally responsive language in the postings. This means applying what you learned from your research about the communities that you would like to include in the talent pool in the evaluation of the requirements for positions. Changing this initial communication about the open jobs and the company will make a huge impact on engaging people from much broader communities. And, casting a wider net in the talent acquisition efforts will enable your organization to find the right person for the job.
Train on Unconscious Bias
Unconscious bias is a major issue in recruitment, as hiring managers often unknowingly favor candidates who remind them of themselves or who come from similar backgrounds. This can result in the unintentional perpetuation of the same challenges to your recruiting efforts and prevent the success of your DEI programs.
To combat this issue, provide training to people in your organization on unconscious bias to everyone involved in the hiring process. This will help your existing team to be more aware of their own biases and be better able to identify qualified candidates from all backgrounds.
Create an Equitable Interviewing Process
The interview process should be standardized so that all candidates are given the same opportunity to shine. This means having a set list of questions for all candidates and avoiding any illegal or discriminatory questions during the interview. Or, it could mean incorporating culturally responsive language to maintain the trust of people engaged through the inclusive job posting. Some organizations also opt to use video interviews to provide the opportunity for objective evaluation of the interview process and for future training purposes.
The interviewing team should also be diverse in its composition. Not just in terms of title, but in terms of who is involved. People will stay engaged in the process if they see people whom they can relate in the hiring process. If your current talent base is not yet there, then make sure that the people involved in the hiring process adapt how they interact with the talent to reflect the commitment to diversity.
The goal is to create an equitable process that allows all candidates to demonstrate their strengths and skills. By doing so, you will be able to identify the best person for the job while also ensuring that everyone has a fair chance of being hired.
Evaluate Current Practices
Finally, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate your current recruiting practices. This includes looking at the sources you use to find candidates, the language you use in job postings, and the overall process from start to finish. By taking a close look at each step, you can identify any areas that may need improvement in order to be more culturally responsive.
Making even small changes to your recruiting process can have a big impact on the diversity of your talent pool. By being intentional about creating a culturally responsive process, you’ll be able to attract a wider range of qualified candidates and ultimately build a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
Fostering a diverse workplace has a host of benefits–from improving recruitment efforts and expanding the talent pool, to be able to reflect the diversity of your customer base. By following these tips, you can begin developing a more culturally responsive recruiting strategy that will help ensure your organization is an inclusive place for everyone.
Want to work with a culturally responsive recruiting partner? The Contingent Plan is a certified diverse business that is experienced in finding diverse talent that advances our clients' DEI missions and helps to fill hard-to-fill positions. Submit your information below to claim your free consultation to see how our team of professional recruiters can help.