Diversity and inclusion have been at the forefront of talent acquisition for the last decade, but only recently has it become an integral part of standard recruitment practices. Two of the most significant challenges when recruiting for diverse talent are access to this talent and mitigating unconscious bias internally. Below are a few ways to create a more inclusive hiring process for finding and engaging diverse candidates.

Use More Inclusive Language.

With diverse talent already scarce at every level in the workforce, finding diverse candidates and talent at the senior leadership level presents an even more challenging mandate. To attract diverse talent beyond your immediate talent pool, look at how you are communicating with candidates. Create a position profile by eliminating any words or key phrases that may alienate specific candidates from applying. Beyond the position profile, recruiters can incorporate more inclusive practices when speaking directly with candidates. Ask a candidate their preferred pronouns at the beginning of the process and be mindful of these moving forward. Language is power when it comes to diversity and inclusion, and certain words, questions, and approaches are more likely to resonate with specific genders, communities, groups, etc.

Create Equity Through Access. 

To be more proactive in increasing diversity talent in their pipeline, recruiters can set targets for this on a quarterly or annual basis in their outreach. Actively seek out distinctly unique candidates from your wider talent pool and begin to form a relationship with them. Diversity talent often surrounds themselves with candidates similar to their background, outlook, and more. Additionally, look at your sourcing and marketing efforts when attracting talent. Post position profiles and opportunities to job boards, groups, or platforms beyond your immediate channels. This can increase your access to diverse talent beyond your established networks to reach and engage diverse candidates where they naturally seek out new opportunities. 

Remove Bias Before Starting Interviews

Inclusion does not stop with sourcing. Once you have conducted preliminary research, screening, and generated a list of qualified, interested, and available candidates, present them to the hiring manager in a fair and equitable way. When preparing to choose the candidates to interview, redact any critical identifier information from all candidate profiles and resumes, such as gender, pronouns, photos, full names, etc. This places all candidates on a level playing field without unconscious bias working its way into the early stages of the interview and selection process. Reveal the candidates’ identities to interviewers once a top list is chosen.  

Collect Feedback Individually. 

As the recruitment life cycle moves toward the interviewing stages, it becomes even more challenging to keep unconscious bias in check. To mitigate unconscious bias, encourage all interviewers to withhold from sharing their feedback for a candidate with other team members that have not yet met or spoken with the candidate. Seek out and collect this feedback from each stakeholder while the interview process is happening. This practice allows each interviewer and stakeholder to formulate their initial impression of a candidate free from influence or prejudice.

About The Author. 

Jeff Raymond (jeff@raymondsearchgroup.com), President and Founder of Raymond Search Group (RaymondSearchGroup.com), is an industry-leading recruiter specializing in Construction and Real Estate, Engineering, Architecture, HVACR/R, Building Automation Systems, MEPF, and Manufacturing. Jeff is known for delivering the top 5% of industry talent to his clients with unrivaled efficiency and network. Clients and candidates alike rely on Jeff as a trusted advisor through his recruiting expertise and industry insight.

Jeff earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, Management, and Operations from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He is experienced in the construction industry and is Procore certified in multiple areas. He is an active member of the Urban Land Institute, ASHRAE, the Institute of Refrigeration (IOR), and The OSHA Education Center Association.