peopleEven in today’s economy, we all know how difficult it is to find the right talent. If there was ever a time to expand your network and access a wider audience of potential hires, it’s now. Most successful companies understand that attracting a diverse pool of candidates, that includes candidates of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, immigrants, minorities and veterans is no longer a nice to have, it is a business imperative.

Here are three things that you can do today to attract and retain a more diverse and dynamic candidate base:

Recruit for Diversity:

Develop a list of colleges that historically have large numbers of women and people from different cultural,  ethnic and racial backgrounds. Sponsor and participate in their job fairs.

Develop relationships with diverse community organizations and let them know about opportunities in your organization. Sponsor events like “interview training for immigrant job candidates” where you can immediately have access to a large number of highly skilled employees.

Interview with Diversity in Mind:

Develop interview training for hiring managers that addresses the cross-cultural differences in how people communicate, which will be reflected in both their verbal and written communication style. Train interviewers to rethink their beliefs that candidates should always maintain eye contact or look and speak exactly the way that they do. Remind recruiters and hiring managers that the criteria should be based on the candidates’ qualifications and talk about being conscious about any biases one may have about other cultures, communication styles and disabilities.

Retain your staff:

In order to be successful in today’s culture, companies need to create an environment of inclusion, where people feel valued and integrated into the fabric of the company. When employees’ skills and knowledge are recognized, utilized, and rewarded, they become more engaged and more interested in contributing to the success of the company. A part of valuing diversity is recognizing that different groups have different needs and values. Be flexible in accommodating employee requests such as a longer vacation to visit relatives in a different country or time off for a religious holiday. Incorporate ideas from different cultures to solve problems and come up with innovative  solutions to business problems.

This should help to assemble a workforce that is as broad and diverse as the communities we live in and the clients we serve.

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