UPTOWN Professional Jul 14, 2014

Three Simple Secrets of Recruiting a Diverse Workforce

by Darrell James

Darrell JamesAs the demographics of our population continue to evolve, each company finds itself at different points in the process of recruiting a diverse workforce. Knowing three recruiting secrets will ensure a successful effort.

The first secret is to engage in more relationship-building activities with prospective diverse candidates. A recruiter’s ability to influence a prospective candidate can be determined by the quality of the relationships they build. Oftentimes, recruiters become focused solely on the positions they are working to fill. The emphasis becomes getting butts into seats and moving on to the next requisition. Examples of relationship- building activities are as simple as connecting with candidates via social media (emphasis is on LinkedIn), sending happy birthday wishes, sharing information about the recruiter’s company and asking for referrals for other opportunities the recruiter is looking to fill.

The second secret of recruiting a diverse workforce is to market the company’s employee value proposition and career opportunities consistently to diverse candidate pools. Please notice that I did not say job postings. Job postings primarily target active candidates and not passive candidates.

The “post and pray” approach may work. However, it is a tactic that only clips the tip of the iceberg of informing diverse professional communities why they need to consider pursuing employment opportunities with a prospective company. With social media, it has become extremely easy and efficient to market and brand a company’s value proposition—to both active and passive diverse candidate pools. Companies need to have intentional strategy sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. The opportunities for creative ideas are boundless.

The last secret is where the rubber meets the road in the world of recruiting. This secret relates to the sourcing and recruiting of diverse talent. I frequently hear recruiters ask, “Where can I go to source diverse candidates?” Or they will say, “Diverse talent does not exist.”The top three sources for diverse talent for all recruiters and human resource business partners are as follows:

1. LinkedIn: When it comes to identifying diverse professionals, there is no tool greater than LinkedIn. What is awesome about this tool is that it can assist you with content marketing, posting jobs and sourcing candidates. There are multiple ways to search for candidates on LinkedIn, however, the approach that has the greatest success is to conduct a Google X-Ray Search. This is done by creating Boolean search strings in Google on the key words or phrases you want to see in a candidate’s background. Be aware of professional associations and their respective groups on LinkedIn.

2. Association Networking: For most industry or job functions in Corporate America, there are professional associations that serve the interests of both women and minorities. A simple but great example of this is the National Black MBA Association. Similarly, there is an association for women MBAs, Asian MBAs and Hispanic MBAs. It is critical that corporate recruiting departments create strategic relationships with these various associations at the local and national levels.

In most cases, associations host annual national conferences where their current and prospective members meet to network, engage in professional development opportunities and participate in a job fair. These conferences are excellent opportunities for a company to market its employee value proposition, recruit and hire talent. However, a successful strategy requires more than pitching a tent at the job fair and exchanging branded trinkets for resumes. Recruiting active and passive talent successfully from these types of conferences demands pre-conference sourcing and post-conference follow- up. Pre-conference sourcing is where recruiters can make the greatest impact by connecting with prospective candidates of the association before the conference and inviting them to visit the company’s job fair booth and/or attend an invitation- only reception.

3. Referrals: This sounds simple, and it is. Most recruiting departments do not leverage referrals as much as they could, in particular, by using their internal employee referral program and consistently marketing that program to various affinity groups in their company. In addition, a recruiter should ask for referrals multiple times during a typical workweek. The first two secrets, discussed above, also maximize the opportunities to request referrals on a consistent basis.

Happy recruiting!

Darrell James is the author of “Inclusion Recruiting: The 12 Secrets to Recruiting a Diverse Workforce” and is one of the founders of James and Jordan, a boutique executive search firm located in Sugar Land, Texas. For more information, please contact James at djames@jamesjordanllc.com, or call (713) 304-7003.