How Virtual Recruiting Helps You Build a More Diverse and Inclusive Candidate Experience

Jun 02, 2022 - Cat DiStasio

We’ve talked a lot about how virtual recruiting helps employers tap into new talent pools and reach far beyond the geographic limitations of traditional in-person recruiting events, while providing a better and more engaging candidate experience. One of the often overlooked benefits of virtual recruiting is its impact on underrepresented populations, which means virtual recruiting events should be a key component of your diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) strategy.

Consider this finding from NACE Center for Career Development and Talent Acquisition: “Virtual recruiting provides a better job-search experience for historically marginalized populations than in-person recruiting, according to results of the NACE 2021 Student Survey, making it a viable tool for employers that want to develop a wider, more diverse pool of candidates.”

Many of our customers see firsthand how virtual recruiting allows employers to source more diverse talent (a top challenge for recruiters according to our joint research with the Talent Board), and virtual events enable a more accessible recruiting experience for people with seen and unseen disabilities, neurodiverse individuals, and others who may not feel as comfortable with traditional in-person career fairs.

Talent Board Research CTA

Let’s dive a little deeper, and take a look at how virtual recruiting makes this possible and what your talent acquisition team can do to get the most out of your virtual recruiting strategy.

How does Virtual Recruiting Support Diversity and Inclusion?

There are many, many different reasons that a job seeker from underrepresented populations might prefer (or be more likely to engage with a potential employer through) virtual recruiting. Here are just a handful of the most common:

  • Geography: Virtual recruiting means you can reach diverse candidates even if you’re not located in an area that includes a lot of diversity. (This doesn’t just apply to skin color and socioeconomic background — perhaps there is a lack of women engineers in your local area, for instance, and that's why it may be challenging to get them in your hiring process via traditional means.)
  • Flexibility: Virtual hiring events allow high-quality candidates to more easily access, attend, and have conversations with hiring organizations because they don’t require the arrangement of travel, time off of work, childcare, elder care, and other burdens of the traditional hiring event or onsite interview process. This means using virtual hiring events, recruiting software, and online interview tools allows a broader range of people to attend your hiring events and also help you to avoid delivering a poor candidate experience due to logistical concerns alone.
  • Reach: Similarly, compared to hosting or attending onsite career fairs, which by their nature limit the audience, location, talent pool, and groups who will be invited and able to attend your application process, virtual hiring events vastly broaden your reach, helping you extend more opportunities to a more diverse group of people.
  • Accessibility: When thinking about accessibility, it’s important to consider the wide range of experiences of people with seen (or physical) and unseen disabilities. Many people with physical disabilities may not be as flexible to travel, even across town, for an in-person recruiting event, especially for remote roles. Candidates with unseen disabilities (such as visual or auditory disabilities, chronic illness or other conditions) may find in-person recruiting events similarly challenging. Virtual events make it easy for all candidates to attend from a space where they feel comfortable and supported.
  • Sensory: Large in-person career fairs can be an assault on the senses. Qualified candidates who are negatively impacted by this kind of sensory input can benefit greatly from virtual events, where they can control their surroundings and limit known triggers and distractions.

DEIB Best Practices for Virtual Recruiting

Using virtual recruiting effectively will yield better results, both for your DEIB progress and the candidate experience you deliver when promoting future roles. Here are three key best practices to follow when leveraging virtual recruiting for DEIB.

1. Communicate. 

A lack of communication is highly counteractive. Be proactive and transparent about your commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout your recruiting content and recruitment process. This includes your careers site, social media posts, email campaigns, virtual events, automatic applicant tracking messages, and even direct verbal conversations with job applicants. Ensure that everyone involved in the recruiting process is trained on DEIB best practices, including anti-discrimination and legal requirements, the use of inclusive language, appropriate interview questions, and strategies for limiting the impact of implicit bias.

    2. Concentrate. 

    Consider hosting virtual events that focus on specific diverse subgroups within a talent pool (i.e. people with ADHD and autism, Black women, etc). Candidates from underrepresented groups may feel more comfortable attending virtual events where they know they won’t feel out of place or risk feeling ‘othered.’ Similarly, people with neurodivergence may feel more comfortable attending events specifically designed for them, since they recognize how differently they interact with the world compared with neurotypical people. Personalization is key when trying to hone in on an exceptional candidate experience for your target job candidates, and even passive candidates can benefit from these additional arrangements and considerations.

      3. Choices. 

      Future candidates from underrepresented groups may feel disempowered by traditional recruiting tactics or job opportunities, especially if they find some part of the process difficult to navigate comfortably. Start off with a positive experience and delight candidates simply by allowing them to choose whether to use video or text virtual interviews during a job application. Video meetings can be distracting for some neurodiverse people, while others may benefit from visual cues, so try to be flexible in your communication with candidates during the entire hiring process. Also, actively collect candidate feedback regarding interview experience to further refine your process over time.

        Supporting Diversity and Inclusion Across your Organization

        Understanding how virtual recruiting impacts the candidate experience for diverse individuals and following the best practices we outlined above will help you maximize the benefits of your employer branding and DEI-focused employer brand strategy, but your efforts shouldn’t end there. The truth is, you can’t ‘solve’ your organization’s diversity and inclusion challenges through recruiting and hiring alone. You must cultivate a strong company culture and company values where potential candidates of all sorts of backgrounds and life experiences can thrive. And if you don't have an inclusive company culture, your recruiting can’t be. Whether it’s part of your official job description or not, you can help influence progress by engaging in difficult conversations and standing up for people who may not be at the table, in the room, or even in the building—yet.

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