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Aiming for a Diverse Workforce: Non-Discriminatory Recruiting

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Managers are charged with maintaining appropriate staffing levels, which includes both retention and recruiting.  As a manager, you may have well-established processes that keep your facility staffed well and running smoothly.  But it’s important to evaluate those processes to ensure they are meeting your recruiting needs, including the need to recruit in an inclusive and non-discriminatory manner.

Diversity is great for business in many ways.  Non-discriminatory hiring practices are critical not only to hiring a diverse workforce that will provide a competitive advantage, but also to keeping the company out of costly legal trouble.  If not applied properly, some of your practices could have a negative impact on your ability to hire diverse candidates, even though that’s not the intent.

Following are tips to consider as you review  your selection process, being sure to give all qualified candidates a fair opportunity to compete for your positions:

Creating a job posting: A job posting should be based on requirements needed for a candidate to be able to succeed in that position.  Do not include anything that does not meet that criteria.  For example, the ability to read English may be convenient if you prefer to leave written work instructions, but it probably shouldn’t be a requirement for a dish washing position.

Where you advertise open positions:  Advertise to give qualified candidates of various groups equal opportunity to apply.  Make sure the advertising vehicle you use has a diverse audience.  If you have a certain media outlet or website you prefer but it has a narrow audience, broaden your advertising to more than one outlet to ensure a pool of well-qualified, diverse candidates.  Most outlets can share information about their audience demographics.

Employee referrals are often the best recruitment tool, but if your workforce isn’t as diverse as your community, using only these referrals may eliminate important opportunities for you to expand your diversity and bring in excellent candidates.

If networking is your primary recruiting tool, make efforts to ensure that you are networking in circles that represent the local diversity, rather than just a part of it.

How applications are accepted:  Make sure your application process allows a person to get to the job site location where the work would be performed.  For example, if you have multiple locations and require in-person applications but applicants must apply at a location off the bus line, you may eliminate potential employees that use bus transportation to get to work.  This can apply to interview sites as well.

The interview: Be sure the interview process is inclusive.  Ask all candidates the same, or essentially the same, questions relevant to the ability to successfully perform in the position. Allow all candidates time to answer the questions.

Applicant testing: Make sure any tests used in the hiring process consistently measure the candidates’ ability to do the job.  Sometimes the test content, or the way a test is administered, eliminates candidates of a particular protected class in ways you don’t expect. It’s important to know that your test isn’t going to do that.  Ask the testing vendor to show you statistically that the test you are considering predicts what you are expecting and that it doesn’t eliminate specific, protected groups.

Making a selection: Once all potential candidates are interviewed and tested (if you’re using testing), select candidates based on knowledge, skills and abilities, rather than their appearance or other non-work-related characteristic. There’s a lot of talk about how candidates “fit” with the company’s culture.  That’s important but as a manager, remember that you impact how an employee fits by creating a culture of acceptance and inclusion.  Your example sets the tone, and making inclusive hiring decisions based on an solid hiring process is one of the many ways you can model inclusion for all employees.

Call BCN Services for help about hiring in a non-discriminatory manner as well as for other HR needs.