Diversity and inclusion in hiring have been a focus for many of our partners, but events of the last few years — in particular George Floyd’s death in May 2020 and the nationwide and global protests that followed — have taken it from a focus to a top strategic priority. Many companies are now making investments toward specific measurable goals and initiatives — and they’ve also realized that in order to make a holistic change, they’ve got to hold their vendors, supplies, customers, and partners to the same standards they have.
However, DE&I work can be a challenge, because there’s no easily measured metrics, no box to check. It’s the kind of change and work that takes time because the qualitative culture at large needs transformation and that kind of work is never really done. Theresa Balsiger, our VP of Candidate Relations, has been helping partners and companies work through these culture shifts from a hiring perspective for over 10 years as a Certified Diversity Recruiter (CDR). The CDR certification helps Theresa find and recruit the most robust and diverse pool of candidates for our Carex partners in a number of ways — investing in diversity-focused job boards, using boolean searching, and networking with diversity groups.
Theresa can’t really point to when her interest in diversity and inclusion began — she says it’s always been with her from a philosophical standpoint. “The idea that some individuals are provided with advantages because of how, where, and under what circumstances they were born has always struck me as a topic that wasn’t getting nearly enough thought or discussion,” she says. “When I began my career in recruiting, I was struck by two things: how homogeneous the pool of candidates was, and how many times those candidates were assessed based on their appearance, pedigree, or what school they attended. These characteristics weren’t judged explicitly — but the bias was certainly there.” She wanted to change that, and the CDR certification has been incredibly helpful in that quest.
For partners wanting to shift their thinking when it comes to diversity and inclusion in hiring, Theresa has these five tips:
- Get comfortable with a remote workforce. Don’t let geography be a limiting factor in recruiting a diverse candidate pool.
- Review your position descriptions. Are you asking for a list of qualifications that are “nice to haves” or “need to haves?” Is there a training or professional development opportunity for job candidates who are missing one or two of the skills you’re looking for, but have a ton of potential?
- Assess your application and interview process. Is the process inclusive and flexible? Are you asking all candidates the same questions, and comparing them horizontally instead of one by one? Are you moving fast enough to secure top talent?
- Be active — not passive — when it comes to the recruitment process. A talent acquisition team should be proactively reaching out to candidates that represent a diverse pool. Simply posting the role and screening candidates that happen to see it won’t move the needle on making your workforce more diverse.
- Resist the urge to do things how they’ve “always been done.” These changes can be tough to make at a company-wide level, especially at an established company with a specific way of doing things. However, in order to achieve true change, you need to be willing to take on some risks, try some things, and be okay with failure. We know that’s difficult, especially after the year we’ve had — but it will reap benefits for your company in the long term.
We mention this above, and we’ll mention it again — if you’re curious about working with Theresa and the rest of our team to help you with strategic thinking about diversity and inclusion in hiring at your company, go ahead and drop us a line. In addition to the work we’re able to help with, we can also suggest additional partners to reach out to for a broader approach to DE&I education and action.