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Workplace Diversity

2 Big Mistakes HR Makes When Recruiting Diverse Employees

Aug 25, 2016

2 mistakes recruiting diverse employees2

Last week, national news was made when Oprah declared she was going to stop using the word diversity. This trend is spreading and the word diversity is getting an increasingly bad reputation.

But it doesn’t mean your organization can ease up on the quest to hire diverse candidates. In fact, it’s almost more of a reason to focus on diversity because at this point, it’s almost assumed you have a diverse workforce.

The truth is simple: sourcing diverse talent never ends.  No matter what happens to the word diversity, you still need to bring in diverse candidates.

And to help you get the right potential employees in the interview seat, we’ve put together a list of mistakes you might not even realize you’re making when it comes to recruiting diverse candidates.

1. Your Careers Page Doesn’t Reflect Diversity

One of the first places potential employees look when they are researching your company is your careers page. And you might think you’ve done a great job crafting an all-inclusive job description, but then you look at the pictures on the page and realize everyone in the photos is the same race, gender or age.

If potential employees don’t see anyone in the pictures that looks like them, they are going to be much more hesitant about pursuing the job opportunity. And these are people you may never even hear from. So in effect you’ve turned them away before they could even apply.

Another mistake is listing too many “perks” such as ping pong tables and happy hours instead of declaring your commitment to diversity. This is especially important to do if you are just getting started with increasing diversity at your organization.

A great example of a company that expresses its commitment to diversity and inclusion is Accenture. Within the company’s website is a section devoted to the company’s values surrounding diversity.

Use this as a wakeup call to intensify your diversity efforts. Create a formalized diversity plan and make sure to go outside of your comfort zone and test other avenues for recruiting—something you should be doing anyway.

If you want to learn more about where you can find diverse candidates, check out our whitepaper: Attracting and Maintaining a Diverse Workforce.

2. Your Department Managers Aren’t Trained

Let’s say you manage to attract diverse candidates and get them in for an interview. You are ready with your questions about their relevant experience, compensation requirements and knowledge about your company. You walk into the room ready to get to know the candidate.

On the other hand, the department manager takes one look at the candidate and proceeds to spend the whole interview staring at their phone completely disengaged.

After the interview is over, you ask the manager what happened. And all they can say is that they knew right away that the person wouldn’t fit in with their team.

While this could be a legitimate reason, it could also be a case of unconscious biases affecting their decision. For example, if the person didn’t fit the idea of what someone in the role should look like, it’s possible the manager rejected them simply because of that—and not because they aren’t qualified.

This is why it’s important to train your managers on diversity when it comes to practicing inclusion in the interview process (and beyond) and teach them how to remove unconscious biases and stereotypes from the process.

Read our e-book, How to Prevent Subtle Forms of Discrimination from Affecting Your Workplace, to learn more about the impact unconscious biases can have on your organization.


No matter what Oprah says, the word diversity does not deserve a bad reputation. But it is also important to focus on inclusion. Because the more inclusive you can be during the hiring and recruiting, the the more diverse your workforce will be.

2 mistakes recruiting diverse employeesWant to learn more about our diversity and inclusion training courses? Schedule a demo today with one of our compliance specialists.

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