Thanks to the "big five" tech companies — Apple, Google (AKA Alphabet), Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon — diversity numbers are everywhere. Companies across industries are scrambling to publish their staff numbers in an effort to demonstrate that diversity has become a priority for them. But each year, their numbers seem either stagnant or a gradual increase. Google's demographics in 2017 were "relatively flat" according to Fortune's reporting.
But diversity in recruiting doesn't have to be a guessing game, or even a numbers game. It's really a questions game. Here are some easy questions to use to evaluate your company's policy for recruiting and diversify your candidate portfolio:
1. Where are you recruiting?
Are you getting the same type of candidates over and over? Look at where you choose to recruit. If you notice that none of them diverge from the standard fare, then maybe a change is in order. Try going to local colleges that you normally would not recruit from. Minority candidates often go to smaller local colleges or can be found within bootcamps or smaller social circles. Try visiting areas to get more of an idea of where candidates in your desired demographic hang out.
2. What are you recruiting for?
If you're looking for diverse candidates in a particular sector, but saying that your open door policy isn't cutting it, maybe it's time to step outside your own door! Go to a local school or recreational area where diverse candidates can be found. Strike up a conversation and put some real dedication into it. Invest in getting to know them over a period of time. One-shots can come off as disingenuous, leaving many to believe that you're only there for one purpose: your own.
3. How are you recruiting?
Are you asking the same dismal questions that have been passed down? "Why do you want this job? Where do you see yourself in five years? What are your weaknesses?" BORING! Diverse candidates don't need to be weeded out before they've even had a chance to show and prove their abilities. Read here for a blog post regarding 5 new questions you can ask diverse candidates.
4. When are you recruiting?
Although 5pm on a Thursday night might seem like the perfect time to recruit and network, many diverse candidates are working underpaid jobs that take them well into the evening hours. Try doing a networking event on a Saturday afternoon or a Sunday early evening. Provide food and light snacks. Offer a discount on a car sharing service like Uber or Lyft to both entice them further and make it just that much easier to attend.
5. Why are you recruiting?
Are you just looking to fill your bucket and check-mark an item off your list? Candidates can tell when they're being yanked around and scoured for information. Reassess why you are recruiting. If you really need market research, don't waste a candidate's time that a job prospect might actually come through. People talk. So don't think that these antics aren't shared among the community. If you're truly looking for an outside source and perspective, say that upfront in the interview. There are plenty of consulting firms willing to give you their business to help you with this endeavor. In the meanwhile, save the interviews for when you're actually filling a position, and not giving false hope.
Be honest with yourself. Change is often uncomfortable, but it is necessary to be uncomfortable in order to change.