Why diversity hiring is important

FSmiling group of diverse businesspeople going over paperwork together and working on a laptop at a table in an office
Flamingo Images / ShutterStock

First off, diversity hiring is important because it’s the law. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act forbids hiring discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion or national origin.

But legal compliance isn’t the only reason recruiting diverse candidates is important. It also leads to several competitive advantages.

Diversity drives innovation. Diverse teams offer a wider range of strengths, perspectives and ideas. Studies show that companies with more ethnic, cultural and gender diversity are more likely to have above-average profitability and long-term value creation.

Diversity boosts productivity. Two management studies suggest that a 1% increase in racial diversity among upper and lower management pumped up productivity by between $729 and $1,590 per employee per year. Diverse teams bring more perspectives to the table, leading to more efficient strategies.

Diversity represents your customer base. Census data shows the percentage of non-Hispanic white people is gradually shrinking as the country becomes more diverse. By 2045, population projections show that they will no longer make up the majority. One of the best ways to relate to a diverse customer base is to hire a diverse workforce.

Diversity attracts talent. In today’s competitive hiring market, an inclusive company culture makes your company more attractive to many job seekers. In one survey, 34% of Generation Z employees say their decision to work for a company is influenced by its level of diversity and inclusion.

These four benefits are only the tip of the iceberg. A diverse team can act as fuel to accelerate your company’s growth.

And to build a diverse team, you need an inclusive hiring process.

Diversity hiring best practices

Ideas for how to recruit diverse candidates:

1. Define diversity

African American Businessman Boss With Group Of Business People In Creative Office,
ProStockStudio / ShutterStock

By defining diversity and setting clear goals, you can measure how well your strategies are working.

Start by determining what types of diversity you’re aiming to build. Race and gender are the most common, but you might also want generational, socioeconomic, veteran and neurodiversity.

The more backgrounds and perspectives you bring into your company, the better.

Once you establish what types of diversity you’re after, set goals for how much diversity you need.

What’s a reasonable ratio of men to women? What percentage should be from minority groups? How many employees do you want from each generational group?

Don’t forget to include all position levels, from entry-level workers to upper management.

Once you have numbers in mind, you can start measuring your progress.

2. Write inclusive job ads

Symbol for a better inclusion. Hand turns dice and changes the word exclusion to inclusion.
FrankHH / ShutterStock

When writing your job listings, the language you use can’t be an afterthought. Choose your words carefully.

The most obvious tweak is to eliminate gender-specific terms. For example, “server” can replace “waitress” and “salesperson” can replace “salesman.”

But it goes beyond that. Subtle word choice is important as well. For example, aggressive words like “dominate” and “ambitious” may turn off certain job seekers.

Apart from word choice, you can also increase font size. This is an easy way to be more inclusive of older job seekers or those with dyslexia, which affects up to 20% of the population.

Lastly, you might want to consider whether you’ll attract a more diverse range of applicants by nixing unnecessary degree requirements.

3. Promote your job to diverse crowds

Job Career Hiring Recruitment Qualification Graphic
Rawpixel.com / ShutterStock

Different groups of people look for jobs in different ways.

To reach a diverse crowd, promote your job in as many places as possible. This includes job fairs, social media, print ads, and job sites like ZipRecruiter that syndicate your ad across the web.

You can also post your jobs on diversity-focused recruiting sites, such as:

Diversity.com. A job site that features diversity-friendly employers across multiple industries.

Fairygodboss. A job board, networking, news and company review site for women.

Professional Diversity Network. A network of multiple job sites that focus on certain groups of people, including Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, women, veterans and more.

Pink Jobs. A job site that connects LGBT-friendly employers and job seekers.

4. Design an inclusive website

Two multicultural friends discussing website
GaudiLab / ShutterStock

Your website gives job seekers a preview of how inclusive your company really is.

To attract minorities or immigrants, consider adding multiple language options.

To attract older generations or those with disabilities, include accessibility options like larger font, multimedia, transcripts and subtitles.

And whatever you do, don’t try to fake diversity by plastering your site with cheesy stock photos. That won’t cut it.

Instead, ask your employees if they’re willing to take real team photos to show that when it comes to diversity, you walk the walk.

5. Prove your commitment to diversity

Diverse group of focused businesspeople brainstorming together on a whiteboard during a strategy session in a bright modern office
Flamingo Images / ShutterStock

It’s one thing to say diversity is important to your company. It’s another to show it.

Think of creative ways to promote your commitment to diversity.

That might mean:

  • Featuring the stories of diverse employees on your social media channels.
  • Openly sharing your diversity goals and progress on your website.
  • Designing diversity-friendly policies and hosting special events.
  • Adding diverse employee testimonials to your job ads.

Let your actions speak louder than your words.

6. Standardize your interview process

Male indian hr, recruiter or employer holding cv having online virtual job interview meeting with african candidate on video call
insta_photos / ShutterStock

It’s easy to let human bias unintentionally seep into your interview questions.

For example, if a candidate studied at a school you’ve never heard of, you’re more likely to grill them about their education. But if they went to Yale, you might let them off easily without even realizing it.

One way to minimize bias is to create a standardized question list and scoring system.

Choose each question carefully so that it focuses on the applicant's ability to do the job. Avoid overly personal questions that are irrelevant to the position.

For even more inclusive interviews, put together a diverse interview panel. This allows you to judge candidates from various perspectives.

7. Leverage technology to remove bias

Close up view of young business people putting their hands together. Stack of hands. Unity and teamwork concept.
REDPIXEL.PL / ShutterStock

Nowadays, recruitment tools like ZipRecruiter use artificial intelligence technology to scan through resumes and flag candidates who meet certain criteria.

This helps remove human bias from the application process. The trick is setting your criteria carefully to avoid favoring certain groups.

Another strategy is to use resumes that hide all personal info like name, age, schools and locations. And you could opt for an interview round that does not reveal a candidate’s personal information. Such interviews typically use text-based questions.

You’ll have to meet your applicants in person eventually. But these strategies can help you avoid bias during the initial stages of the hiring process.

About the Author

Mitchell Glass

Mitchell Glass

Freelance Contributor

Mitchell is a freelance contributor to MoneyWise.com.

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