How to Create a Diverse Candidate Pool for Leadership Positions
As companies strive to build more inclusive and innovative workplaces, building a diverse candidate pool is critical. Yet, many organizations struggle to attract and hire candidates from underrepresented backgrounds. In this article, we will explore practical strategies for building a diverse candidate pool.
1. Crafting an Inclusive Job Description
Developing an inclusive job description means avoiding language or requirements that could unintentionally discourage candidates from diverse backgrounds from applying. For example, instead of listing “bachelor's degree in [relevant field]” as a requirement, thoughtfully include a candidate profile in the job description that lists the qualities, skills, and experience that would allow a candidate to succeed in the role.
To craft an inclusive job description, consider:
Using gender-neutral language.
Re-evaluating educational requirements that may eliminate candidates that have the experience and skills needed to succeed.
Highlighting the company's commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Making it clear that a candidate does not need to meet every point of the description in order to apply
2. Sourcing Candidates Beyond Traditional Channels
Posting job openings predominately on Ivy League business school job boards or relying heavily on referrals from colleagues or members of the existing team may inadvertently limit the diversity of your candidate pool. For example, you may reach out to professional organizations that focus on diversity, such as the National Black MBA Association or the Association of Hispanic Professionals in Finance and Accounting. By exploring alternative channels for sourcing candidates, you can tap into a wider range of talent and build a more diverse candidate pool.
To reach a wider range of candidates, consider:
Posting job openings on job boards that target diverse candidates such as NBMBAA.org or EPIP.org
Partnering with community organizations and nonprofits that serve underrepresented populations
Attending diversity-focused career fairs and events.
Partnering with external consultants specialized in sourcing diverse talent
3. Considering Transferable Skills and Experience
While there are many benefits to hiring a leader who has already been in the nonprofit or philanthropic space, only considering candidates with this experience can severely limit the diversity of the pool. A leader from a socially responsible corporation may have the skills and leadership experience required, as well as already having demonstrated their passion for working in a mission-driven organization.
To do this, consider:
Identifying the essential skills and qualities necessary for success in the role.
Looking for candidates who have demonstrated those skills and qualities in other settings, such as through being on a board, advisory committee, or fellowship program
Offering training and development opportunities to help candidates with transferable skills gain the specific technical knowledge they need to succeed in the role.
3. Building a Diverse Hiring Team
A diverse hiring team helps to reduce bias and ensure that a wider range of candidates are considered. By involving people with different backgrounds and perspectives in the hiring process, you can identify and address potential biases and create a more equitable hiring process. For example, if all 3 people on the hiring team identify with similar beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, then they are likely to favor the same candidates and discount people who are different.
To build a diverse hiring team, consider:
Identifying people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives who can provide different insights into candidates.
Training your hiring team in best practices for reducing bias in the hiring process.
Ensuring that your hiring team reflects the diversity of your candidate pool.
In conclusion, building a diverse candidate pool requires a multifaceted approach that involves crafting inclusive job descriptions, sourcing candidates from a range of channels, considering transferable skills and experience, and building a diverse hiring team. By implementing these strategies, you can attract and hire a more diverse range of candidates and create a more inclusive and innovative workplace.
Maneva Group is a woman and minority owned national executive search firm focusing on the social sector with expertise in completely managing the recruiting process, curating diverse and exceptionally qualified candidate pools, and advising C-suite executives and board members through crucial hiring decisions.
If you need assistance in hiring a leadership position for your organization, please reach out to me at sshah@ManevaGroup.com. We will schedule a no-cost, no obligation 30-minute consultation to discuss how to supercharge your recruitment efforts.