Attracting diverse talent
Bringing diverse talent into the organization is a priority for many of us. While a diverse candidate funnel does not ensure a diverse and inclusive team, attracting diverse voices is a crucial first step to a successful team that represents your customer and partner populations as well as the communities in which we do business more broadly.
While the goal of attracting a diverse group of applicants to your open positions may seem complex, if we consider this challenge as a marketing challenge, we can start to see how tweaking the processes you may already have in place can make a significant difference. Each approach we suggest might not seem like a game changer on its own, but enough tweaks will help you reach a tipping point that significantly increases your team’s attractiveness as an inclusive place where everyone can do their best work.
First and foremost, make sure your publicly facing materials and communications focus on your commitments to diversity and inclusion. Is your website centering diverse voices from your team? Who is featured on the most visited pages on your site? If you have a blog, who writes the content? If you have a page dedicated to your inclusion initiatives, how difficult is it to navigate to on your website? You want the best talent to join your team and the best talent is savvy. If you make generic commitments and bury them on your website, potential employees will see right through your performative actions.
Next, take a hard look at your job postings and how they are written. Treat them as what they are - ads. When reading your job ad, your audience should get the feeling that your workplace is inviting, considerate and human. Don’t make the posting too long and scrutinize every line - your goal is to capture attention, like with any other ad. As you write your copy, you should also pay attention to any gendered terms and requirements in your descriptions. To get started, try a Gender Decoder site which allows you to input your job postings and get suggestions of words you should change or remove.
It’s worth mentioning that not all candidates will come your way by applying to a job posting. Many companies use LinkedIn proactively to engage potential candidates for specific roles they want to fill. While most recruiters will tell you that they only look at the candidate’s qualifications, it’s worth trying a tool like Unbiasify. It is an open-source chrome plug-in that obscures names and photos from your LinkedIn searches, truly forcing you to focus on what matters, diversifying the pool of potential candidates you might be subconsciously screening out.
On the topic of education and training, we often default to or overuse a university degree requirement without thinking twice about it, when in reality, many entry level jobs in the marketing field can be performed without one. In fact, some roles might not require formal schooling at all, but rather skills and software experience which can come as a result of professional development or other experiences (think graphic designers for instance).
To go a step further, consider explicitly inviting folks with international experience to apply. As Canada continues to accept many highly educated and skilled immigrants, you should be competing for their attention as they bring insights and a varied experience that can be a value-add to an organization. Including that you are open to applications from this group in a job posting can be helpful as they are trying to make sense of our complicated job market.
Lastly, make sure that your workplace is the kind of place people want to work at. Staff will be champions of your organization if they feel it is deserving. If your marketing materials are stellar, but your Glassdoor page is a nightmare because current and former employees have no positive experiences to share - nothing else you do will matter. Consider a review of employment websites and leverage learnings from the comments to address issues and enact change. Any talented individual you are competing for has options. Make sure you stand out and are on their radar for the right reasons.