Workplace diversity is no longer just a feel-good concept or compliance issue. Companies are catching onto diversity’s bottom-line benefits, including increased productivity, innovation, and sales revenue. For example, research has found that every 1 percent increase in racial diversity correlates with a 9 percent increase in sales revenue.

This means diversity recruitment has become a top priority for recruiters these days. A SHRM survey found that 57 percent of HR professionals say their recruiting strategies are designed to attract diverse candidates.

Successfully marketing to and attracting diverse candidates is becoming a competitive differentiator for recruiters. A Glassdoor survey found that 67 percent of active and passive job seekers said that diversity is an important factor when considering companies and job offers.

However, good intentions aren’t enough to move the needle. Recruiters need both organizational support and proven strategies to increase their workplace diversity.

Here are seven research-based tips for improving your diversity recruitment efforts:

1. Hack Your Job Postings 

Employers often fail to realize every job posting is part of their employer brand. A CareerBuilder survey found that a bad job posting is the third most important factor that causes job seekers to have a negative perception of a company. This means your job posting should be considered a part of your recruitment marketing.

If your goal is to increase your diversity recruitment, research has found that the language you use in your job description makes a difference. For example, to attract more female candidates, you should avoid using too many “masculine-type” words (e.g., ambitious, dominate, challenging) in your job description because they tend to put women off. Instead, you should include more “feminine-type” words  (e.g., committed, trust, dependable).

A Software Advice survey found that 51 percent of job applicants are more attracted to a company whose job postings contain images and videos. An easy way to showcase the diversity of your employees – or the workplace diversity you aspire to achieve – is through a media-rich company page with images and videos that demonstrate your company culture, your leadership, and your top performers.

A great example of a company with compelling job descriptions that showcase its diversity and culture is educational software startup Top Hat.

orange2. Craft Workplace Policies Consistent With Diversity Recruitment

Another easy way to improve your diversity recruitment is to offer the workplace policies that are most attractive to diverse candidates.

A PwC survey found that millennials value work/life balance more than older generations. McKinsey found that the top workplace policy that women are attracted to is a flexible schedule. Research has found a strong predictor that someone will quit their job is a long commute, and distance from downtown office locations is often correlated with more diverse neighborhoods.

By offering flexibility such as work from home options and flexible work hours, you not only attract more diverse candidates, but also prevent expensive turnover.

3. Use a Pre-Hire Assessment

A valid and reliable pre-hire assessment is a great unbiased tool for measuring candidates’ personalities, knowledge, and skills.

Personality assessments in particular work to increase workplace diversity because they lack adverse impact (i.e., scores don’t differ for minority group members). A study found that companies that use personality assessments in their recruitment processes had more racially diverse workforces.

4. Encourage Referrals From a More Diverse Array of Employees

Hiring through referrals can be a bottleneck for diversity hiring because, in general, people’s networks are comprised of people who are similar to them demographically.

You can, however, use this “similarity attracts” effect to your advantage by encouraging referrals from a more diverse array of employees. This way, you gain all the benefits of hiring from referrals with the added bonus of improving your diversity recruitment at the same time.

5. Strategically Seed Your Candidate Pipeline

Research has found that when the final candidate pool holds only one candidate from a demographic minority group, that candidates has virtually no chance of getting hired.

A “two in the pool” effect, on the other hand, dramatically increases the chances of a woman or person of color being hired. If there are at least two women in the final candidate pool, the odds of hiring a woman are 79 times greater. If there are least two people of color in the final candidate pool, the odds of hiring a person of color are 194 times greater.

blindfold6. Use Blind Hiring

Studies have found that bias plays a fairly large role in resume screening. For example, resumes with white-sounding names receive 30 percent more callbacks than identical resumes with African American-sounding names.

Blind hiring increases diversity recruitment by allowing you to more objectively evaluate a candidate’s skills, knowledge, and potential to succeed free from unconscious biases of the candidate’s race, gender, age, and education level.

The most common blind hiring method is the removal of candidates’ names from resumes. Other personal information often removed in the interest of fairness includes graduation years, college names, and addresses.

7. Leverage Shortlisting Technology

New technology that automates shortlisting increases diversity recruitment by replacing manual resume-screening with a system that objectively and consistently applies shortlisting criteria across all candidates.

Shortlisting software lives inside your ATS and uses your existing resume database to learn about employees’ experiences, educations, and other traits and applies this criteria to new applicants in order to rank and shortlist the strongest candidates, free from human biases.

The Takeaways

Recruiters can’t implement successful diversity recruitment programs without organizational support, nor will those programs be successful unless they are based in research-backed strategies. These research-based strategies for diversity recruitment include:

  1. Hacking your job posts to attract more diverse candidates.
  2. Offering flexibility as a workplace perk.
  3. Using an assessment to objectively measure candidates’ personalities and skills.
  4. Encouraging referrals from a more diverse array of employees.
  5. Strategically seeding your candidate pipelines.
  6. Using blind hiring methods.
  7. Leveraging shortlisting technology.

If increasing your workplace diversity is a recruitment priority for you, implement some of these strategies today to achieve a more diverse, productive, and creative workforce.

Ji-A Min is the head data scientist at

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