Most senior leaders at US companies are white men. It’s a simple fact. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, just 8 percent of managers and 4 percent of CEOs are Black. In addition, 10 percent of managers and 6 percent of CEOs are Hispanic or Latinx.
Similarly, a 2020 report from Mercer confirmed that the higher up the corporate ladder you go, the less representation of women you find. While as much as 47 percent of support staff are women, according to Mercer’s data, as little as 23 percent of executives are female. This lack of equitable representation among workplace leadership is one of the main reasons why companies place such an emphasis on diversity hiring today.
Yet despite their vocal efforts, companies aren’t making much progress. Both gender and ethnic diversity in leadership teams progressed slowly between 2014 and 2019, according to a report from McKinsey. Looking forward, our own recent research at MedReps found the majority of job seekers do not believe virtual recruiting will impact diversity and inclusion much.
But is that really the case? Naturally, no one wants the shift to virtual recruiting to hamper diversity and inclusion efforts, but there’s no denying more active steps need to be taken to meaningfully drive diversity and inclusion efforts forward.
With that in mind, it’s time to look at the pros and cons of virtual recruiting with regard to diversity hiring efforts:
Location Is No Longer a Limitation
When it comes to virtual recruiting, you can hire talent from anywhere in the world without having to relocate anyone to your city. Casting a broader net shakes up your talent pipeline, increasing your chances of finding a wide range of candidates with unique experiences, rather than repeatedly hiring the same cookie-cutter candidates as you always do.
Virtual recruiting can also give you the opportunity to invite a more diverse interview panel to the process. Because location is no longer a limitation, you can invite managers who might not have been able to previously attend interview sessions, thereby bringing a wider range of perspectives into the mix and dampening the effect of unconscious bias.
Flexibility Makes Your Jobs More Accessible
Remote work offers increased flexibility for your workforce, which can also help your diversity and inclusion efforts. Candidates who may not have been able to previously operate within the confines of your more rigid pre-pandemic work structures can now be considered for roles at your company. This opens up a wider segment of the talent pool to your hiring efforts.
You can even outline your flexible work options in your job descriptions to attract sales reps who need extra support. They’ll be excited to apply to a company that puts their needs first.
Tech Tools Can Be a Mixed Bag
Virtual interviews offer an excellent opportunity to reduce bias within your screening process. Virtual interviews often require more structure than in-person conversations, which can make the interviewing experience more equitable, giving each candidate the chance to answer the same questions and show off in the same way. One-way video interviews, in which candidates record their own videos answering a set list of questions, can be especially helpful in making hiring fairer.
However, with the good comes the bad. Applicant tracking systems (ATSs) can inhibit diversity if they’re filtering out qualified candidates based on requirements that aren’t really necessary. To avoid this problem, you should consider revisiting your job requirements and automated screening criteria to ensure they are not needlessly restrictive.
The Money You Save Can Be Reinvested in Diversity Hiring Efforts
Virtual recruiting can be rather cost-effective. For one thing, you don’t have to pay for candidates to travel to interview in person at your office. Think about all of the flights, hotels, and meals you no longer need to expense for each interviewee. Instead, you can put that budget back into diversity and inclusion strategies.
New Experience, New Branding
The employee experience has changed now that everything is virtual. This means it is the perfect time to overhaul your employer brand. Your branding is an invaluable opportunity to tell job seekers what it’s like to work at your organization in a remote world.
While overhauling your employer brand, be sure to increase your brand’s focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. For example, this could mean showcasing a variety of different employees at different levels of your company in your employer branding materials and careers pages. Job seekers love to hear firsthand stories about why employees enjoy working at your company.
That said, things can go very wrong if you make promises in your employer brand that don’t match your actual company culture. It’s important to be honest about your company’s diversity or lack thereof. You shouldn’t try to overcompensate by making your company seem more diverse than it really is. While it’s great to talk about diversity and inclusion goals, your employer brand should be an accurate reflection of the company as it currently exists.
We have a long way to go to make our workforces genuinely diverse, inclusive, and equal. Let’s seize the moment and all of the opportunities that virtual recruiting provides to propel our diversity and inclusion efforts forward.