Diversity Sourcing

How to Source Diverse Talent

Nov 09, 2021 - Cat DiStasio

Effective diversity recruitment starts with a strong diversity sourcing strategy. After all, if you want to make more diverse hires at the bottom of your recruiting funnel, you need to improve the diversity at the very top of your funnel. Investing in sourcing leads sets you up for better outcomes and more diverse talent pools.

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Your workplace diversity sourcing strategy is part of your larger talent sourcing plan, and allows you to apply broader sourcing techniques to targeted audiences of candidates. In today’s candidate-driven talent market, this matters a lot. Employers that take initiative and proactively work to attract diverse candidates to their talent pipeline will get better results than those who sit back and wait for candidates to come to them.

Here’s a look at the steps you can take to create and execute a plan composed of today’s diversity sourcing best practices.

Step 1: Create Candidate Personas for Diversity Talent

Diversity sourcing—and diverse hiring—relies on intentional strategies, not blind hiring techniques. Employers don’t accidentally stumble into equitable recruiting and hiring practices. The key to learning how to source diverse talent lies in your ability to place yourself and your hiring team in candidates’ shoes—to understand their needs, priorities, and preferences—and collect those insights in candidate personas.

Create a persona for different types of candidates with diverse backgrounds for key roles. Include details about what candidates want from the recruiting process, from their ideal employer (including benefits), what types of communication they prefer, core skills, and any other concerns that will help you locate, identify, and connect with more diverse prospective candidates.

Step 2: Meet Candidates Where They Are

Leverage niche job sites and different social media platforms, informed by your candidate personas. This step requires some research, but the time and energy you invest here will pay off. Consider job sites and partnerships with organizations that focus on underrepresented minorities and identity groups, especially those with a role focus (e.g. DiversityJobs.com, WomenHack, National Society of Black Engineers).

Another effective technique for broadening your pool of candidates is participating in diversity hiring events hosted by universities and colleges, professional orgs, workforce development agencies. This approach allows you to piggyback on the recruitment marketing and sourcing efforts another organization has already invested in, so it’s a low risk, big reward situation for your talent acquisition team's diversity efforts.

You’ll need to apply this same intentional, strategic approach to your social media recruitment process as well. Help your recruiting team develop social media strategies and messaging to target diversity candidates—from which channels you post on, to the hashtags you use, and the types of content you share. When targeting diverse candidates, create and use employee content highlighting your employee resource groups (ERGs) and existing talent that represent the groups you’re trying to attract. If they personify your company culture, even better. Authenticity and transparency matter here, so carefully consider your messaging to avoid seeming performative.

Your ERGs can help you spread the word, too. Encourage your employees within ERGs to share your job descriptions and openings within their personal and professional networks, their alumni groups, and community organizations. Internal referrals are an often overlooked resource for effective sourcing.

Step 3: Host Diversity-Specific Virtual Recruiting Events

Host a variety of virtual events that target diversity candidates. Some of the most effective formats are informational events with ERGs (“real talk” about being Black in your industry, etc), women-focused hiring events, recruiting events specific to candidates with neurodiversity—events with a narrow focus tend to do a better job at attracting diverse candidates, compared with broader ‘come one, come all’ type events. Utilizing tools that help you expand the reach of your own virtual recruiting events, like Brazen’s Sourcing Marketplace, can help you meet your diversity goals and get you even more access to diverse candidates.

Email is another tactic you can use to further your diversity sourcing goals. Use targeted email lists to diversity candidates who are already in your talent database, and create email recruitment marketing strategies for promoting the diversity events you’re hosting and participating in.

Diverse Talent Deserves Your Attention

Whether you’re working on updating your current diversity sourcing plan or designing a new sourcing strategy for 2022, there is no time like the present to get serious about finding, attracting, and engaging with more underrepresented talent right at the top of your recruiting funnel. Diversifying your talent pool takes time, and making it part of your broader sourcing strategy will ultimately prepare you to make more diverse hires, and you’ll feel more confident about having the best candidates to choose from for every open position.

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