Hiring properly is difficult. Hiring for diverse teams is even more challenging!

Anyone who has been in that position would agree. It’s a process full of hard decisions and juggling acts, and part of hiring right is making sure your team is balanced across multiple aspects. You want to hire for different perspectives, different backgrounds.

So when a good friend posed this question in #leadership it struck a chord, especially as we are also currently hiring for a new team.

The Problem

This concern is a valid one, and was echoed in a comment by Diana Potter (@dpotter) in the threads. 

Hiring with diversity in mind doesn’t mean that the bar is lowered.

It does mean that job posts and descriptions should consider the fact that language, word choice and tone of the descriptions can attract one type of candidate and discourage another segment from applying. The main point of hiring for diversity is to make the job open and inviting for all qualified applicants, not just qualified applicants of a particular race, gender, socioeconomic class or sexual orientation.

Ideas and Solutions

So what do you do if you’re struggling to hire a well balanced team? Some of the leaders in the channel had a few suggestions to share.

Chris McCraw (@fool) set the ball rolling by sharing the steps he and his team have taken to make their process more open and less biased.


A few others chimed in with what they’ve also tried out at their companies, as well as suggestions for refining and improving the process.

Two recommendations that popped up frequently were widening the pool where the job was being shared, as well as doing a lot more outreach to underrepresented groups.

 

In Summary

If you’re going through a similar hiring challenge, here’s a summary of some things you can consider incorporating into your process.

Crafting the Job Post

  • Review your job posting to make sure it’s gender neutral and devoid of hidden biases
  • Use a tool such as textio.com to further refine the job posting
  • Sanity check the qualifications you’re asking for, making sure that you are listing exactly what you need, and not posting a wishlist, bearing in mind that women are less likely to apply for a job unless they feel they are a perfect match for the requirements. If necessary, include a statement encouraging those who meet some/most of the qualifications to apply.

Sharing the Job Post 

  • Broaden the areas where you share the job posting, making sure to share in forums and boards that focus on underrepresented groups where diverse applicants are more likely to see it.
  • Create multiple listings for the same job, with slightly different titles and descriptions, to reach people who may respond to one style of description over another.
  • Create a hiring/interview rubric that has been reviewed for hidden biases, and run through textio.io for further refinement

Ongoing

  • Review the hiring funnel itself, and analyze past applications broken down by gender to identify what the pool looks like at various stages of the hiring process.
  • Reach out, listen to and engage with groups you’re not reaching at the moment, to understand what you need to do in order to reach them
  • Take a step back and make sure you understand the benefit of diversity in your company/on your teams, and realize that it’s going to be a lot of hard, difficult work. Reach out to others who are currently working in that field or trying to solve that same problem. You can learn from and support each other.

If you’re not in the community and would like to join in the conversations, please join us!