Attracting Diverse Candidates in a Full Employment Market

By Steve Quarles on July 18, 2018 in Hiring


Fostering a diverse workplace is crucial for an organization to innovate and thrive in today’s society. Without diversity, corporate climates would become stagnant, with everyone sharing analogous ideas and taking similar actions. Developing an ecosystem made up of employees from diverse ethnicities, genders, races, ages, and religions works wonders to create a well-rounded company. With that in mind, finding diverse talent is significantly easier said than done. Here’s a breakdown of how to attract diverse candidates in a full employment market.

The Importance of Creating A Diverse Workforce

On the surface, diversity may seem pretty straight-forward, but there’s much more to workplace diversity than perfecting the male to female ratio or hiring professionals that fall into different age brackets. Each team member brings various talents, skills, and experiences to the table. Sharing their unique viewpoints can result in increased creativity and a better understanding of consumers. Gathering diverse opinions and input can also make for richer brainstorming sessions and, ultimately, more effective decision making in the long-term.

Not only are diverse organizations more innovative, they’re often emotionally in tune with their colleagues. A study performed by MIT found that diverse teams outperform their non-diverse counterparts by 35%. The successful groups had two major factors in common: they gave one another roughly equal time to speak and they were more sensitive towards each other.

The combination of unique life experiences and empathy proves to result in more successful organizations that outperform their competitors. Fortune 500 companies with the highest representation of women board directors saw a higher return on both equity and sales than those with the lowest representation. They also turned invested capital into profit 66% more successfully.

Along with diversity being beneficial to an organization’s culture and bottom line, there are also specific regulations for federal contractors. Companies that employ over 50 workers and have a contract with the government resulting in at least $50,000 of business per year fall into this category. They must engage and outreach to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) protected classes as well as meet certain candidate percentage thresholds. The percentage threshold serves as a hiring benchmark that varies annually.

Challenges in the Current Market

As businesses make a conscious effort to understand and hire diverse employees, it becomes increasingly difficult to find talent. Currently, the U.S. has the lowest unemployment rate since 2000, which makes fulfilling diversity initiatives all the more arduous. Many fields simply don’t have enough diverse applicants, especially as positions get filtered down to be more and more specific. As the tech industry continues to soar, the competition in the candidate market is becoming fiercer than ever.

It’s also challenging for some organizations to balance diversity with inclusion. Inclusion is necessary to make a diverse workforce tick, and it’s easy for previously non-diverse companies to overlook the measures that must be taken for incoming professionals to feel comfortable at their job. Employers can easily end up trapped within their own inherent biases without the ability to understand how their employees’ experience differs from their own. Lacking vigilant support to sustain and maintain empathetic diversity initiatives could be driving talent away from your organization.

Federal contractors face even more potential obstacles, as they’re subject to fines or penalties for non-compliance with the government mandated diversity requirements. If a contractor is found to be in violation of the regulations, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) can cancel, terminate, or suspend a contract. In some cases, contractors may even be debarred or declared ineligible for future government contracts.

Attracting Diverse Candidates in a Full Employment Market

Developing policies that are appealing to diverse candidates is one of the first steps to enticing them to an organization but having a diverse workforce means their motivations are equally diverse. Compared to older generations, millennials place more importance on their work-life balance, and the top cultural value that attracts women is a flexible schedule. Others may find more value in better health benefits, retirement contributions, or just overall company culture. Offering an array of benefits can also assist in maintaining long-term employee retention.

On top of having pre-determined policies, networking to build a diverse candidate pipeline is another valuable method to bring in talent. Get into contact with resources that specifically cater to minorities and women, such as professional organizations representing diverse groups, diverse affinity groups at universities, and campus hiring programs. Through these avenues, there are seminars, conferences, and job fairs held across the country that make great platforms to meet candidates.

Finally, try recruiting for a different skill level or demographic than initially determined. Broadening your position requirements can make a world of difference when it comes to filtering out diverse talent. Oftentimes, there are more diverse candidates in a similar role that aren’t even considered because of the minor differences between the positions.

At KORE1, our recruiters believe that the best way to attack the challenge of recruiting for diversity is by developing a specific process for attracting and retaining this talent. Our unique methods allow us to quickly find and secure diverse talent throughout multiple IT-related fields.

Find out how we can help you meet your diversity initiatives today.