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  • Writer's pictureLaShana @ L. M. Lewis Consulting

5 More Questions to Ask When Finding and Recruiting Diverse Candidates

LaShana Lewis speaking with prospective job candidates during a Speed Mentoring event with Tech Jobs Tour.

You've had your diversity training session and given yourself a good six months to see improvements. You look at your recruiting numbers and realize nothing has changed. Every resumé or application is full of the same. And you wonder why, in a city so diverse, you're missing so many candidates from different backgrounds.

In 5 Questions to Ask When Finding and Recruiting Diverse Candidates, I provided new interview questions and recruiting methods to consider. Here, I give 5 more ways to increase diversity in your candidate pools:

Am I getting the same people over and over again?

This may seem innocuous, but the first thing you want to look at is getting over the referral program. Although it's a nice-to-have, I've learned that in places like my apartment complex, it will often lead to bringing in more of the same problems and troubles. Look at exploring different regions. Recruiting at schools or on-ramp learning centers? Look at the demographics of the neighborhood. Usually a quick internet search can reveal the individuals in that area, and compare them to your desired candidates. Get to know administrators, and have them refer some of their top candidates. Recruiting for experienced professionals? Key into your desired demographic by attending local events and making sure you have visual, live representation there. An hour at a booth, an afternoon social function, or even hosting a breakout session during a local meetup can have a lasting impact.

Have I made an impact?

Are you just sending flyers out, or are your presenting without business cards? Make sure your candidates remember you, tangibly. Do more than sit at a booth. If you notice that people kind of come up to you, smile, and take a trinket from your table, get out in front of it. Trying this method has revealed greater success for me, whether at a festival or job fair. People want to talk to people, not products - those are used to seal the deal. Make your faces, and voices, known first and foremost, then follow-up with a tactile reminder.

Why aren't more diverse people coming to my open house events?

It's 5pm on a Friday and no one is visiting your hosted event. Mainly, it's because people hate networking. It often leaves folks feeling empty and like they don't want to be heard, just evaluated like a product at a store, and then walked by. No one wants that and rejection seems like a task that folks just don't want to have on the end of a long week! Try hosting a weekend and a weekday evening cocktail hour. Folks need to eat, and free drinks are often a draw. For recovering communities, having an evening or weekend coffee hour or brunch seems to be a big hit. I, personally, love a good brunch. And I'd roll out of bed extra early if I knew eventhough I might not get a contact, I'd at least get breakfast.

Did I explain why I'm looking for someone?

Are you replacing a promoted employee? Are you looking to expand? Make it known why you're replacing or hiring for that position. Consider putting it on the job description. People want to know where they're going, and where others have been led. It gives the candidate more of an idea, upfront, as to where the position is and whether it will be a good fit for them at the time.

Who feels like they're making an important contribution?

Your answer should be "everyone". Every person in your company, whether intentional or not, are representatives of your company. Whether it's at a state dinner or after party celebration, every staff member is part of the heart and soul of your organization. This doesn't mean that you have to lock them up behind closed doors and micromanage their every move, but it does mean that you have to give them the respect and freedom that you'd wish upon yourself. Happy employees make happy customers. Your only job is to listen to the employees and try to find the solution to the root of their issues. Then make good on every interaction (trust me, it takes a lot of guts to tell someone handling your paycheck how you feel, so most won't come to you easily). Follow-up, and follow through. They'll bring that good energy of being listened to and taken seriously to those seeking jobs in the area. It's the best inbound recruiting that money can't buy.

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