DEI Recruitment Best Practices

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DEI Recruitment Best Practices

Over the last 2 years, we've seen a lot of controversy around DEI practices in the workplace. DEI, which stands for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has become a buzzword many organizations use to generate popularity and clout in the marketplace, but this use case falls far from the original ideals of the term.

What is DEI in the Workplace?

DEI is a fundamental element of building an inclusive team in today's multicultural world. Global companies and connectivity to the internet, decentralization of education, and wide adoption of certifications and skills training courses have given opportunity to everyone with WiFi. It's not unusual today for a company to have teams from all over the world working together towards a common goal.

This is incredible for productivity, specialization, and talent acquisition, but it also has its challenges. Different backgrounds, cultures, beliefs, and language barriers can create misunderstandings and conflicts among team members if not addressed correctly. This is where DEI recruitment practices come into play. Today's workplace is dynamic- and the hiring policies we implement need to keep pace with the ever-evolving business world and the challenges that come with that.

DEI Recruitment Best Practices

So how do you build an inclusive workforce? Going back to our opening statement, simply using DEI as a buzzword will not cut it. We've seen the divisiveness this causes, and it's not a good look for any organization. To truly embrace inclusion in the workplace, we need to first acknowledge that there is a problem with representation and create actionable steps to address it. This must come from the top down, with leadership leading by example and setting the tone.

Embedding diversity as a core value in the DNA of a company requires us to start with our hiring policies. DEI Recruitment Best Practices in 2024 begin with making sure our job descriptions are unbiased, our hiring policies and procedures support a wide range of candidates, and our interviews are fair and objective for everyone.

Luckily, this is easier than it's ever been. There's an entire marketplace of consultants, tools, and training to help you achieve this goal. Inclusive job-post text analytics tools like Textio Loop, Interview intelligence solutions like Pillar, and Implicit Bias tests like Project Implicit's free test created in conjunction with Harvard University. If you want to solve these problems at a core level, there's plenty of support out there for you.

Diversity Recruitment Best Practices

Best practices in recruitment and retention require you to go a level deeper. According to, 86% of tech recruiters think they have solid DEI policies in place, but 59% still struggle to keep diverse talent. The question on many people's minds is, "Why?"

Recruiting diverse talent is just the first step. Creating an inclusive culture where everyone can thrive is "next level." While recruitment focuses on outreach and acquisition, retention depends on representation, voice, and resources. Effective retention requires a company to take a hard look at how its culture and policies support things like work-life balance, transparent communication, representation, and the celebration of different cultures. This requires a total rethink of ongoing policies and open lines of communication that can be uncomfortable at times.

Diversity recruitment best practices won't retain diverse talent - it's a great first step, but it's not the only ingredient in an inclusive culture. To make DEI truly work, organizations need to have a long-term vision for growth and improvement. This means constantly reviewing policies and procedures, listening to feedback from employees of all backgrounds, and making necessary changes to ensure everyone feels valued and represented.

Virtual Recruitment Best Practices

The hiring ecosystem is the easiest place to "get DEI right," however, many companies are still making mistakes that are costing them great diverse talent. Here are some virtual recruitment best practices that will help you mitigate these mistakes:

  1. Standardize hiring criteria and implement structured interviews: We begin here rather than with the job description because the hiring criteria will inform the job description. This is often the first point where candidates who see bias can enter the hiring process.
  2. Job Descriptions: The guidelines for creating unbiased job descriptions apply to all roles. Internally, documentation should inform everything from objective executive recruitment best practices to those of individual contributors. Gendered language, exclusive verbiage, or any form of preference in the wording can greatly reduce diversity and should therefore be removed before a job is posted.
  3. Blind Resume Review: Remove your location, postal code (if not needed), name, surname, gender, and even education in a resume- this means that the interviewer will see skills and experience before personal traits that could affect their first impressions.
  4. Unconscious Bias Training for Interviewers and Hiring Managers: Unconscious bias can be an invisible wall between your company and the diverse talent it needs to thrive. Training hiring managers and interviewers to spot unconscious biases in themselves and their colleagues is crucial for creating a fair and inclusive recruitment process. Project Implicit's free test is a great place to start.
  5. Utilizing Virtual Recruitment Tools: Virtual recruitment best practices require the use of the best online tools available. These include interview intelligence software, text analyzers, and video interview platforms that support candidates who may be physically unable to attend an in-person interview.
  6. Networking and Outreach: In addition to posting jobs on job boards, actively reaching out and networking with diverse candidates is key. Attend virtual career fairs, join relevant online communities, and partner with organizations that support diversity in the workplace.

Whether you're hiring an individual contributor, for sales, or an executive, implementing a few best practices can make all the difference in the quality of talent you attract. For example, sales recruitment best practices can help attract diverse candidates by emphasizing the importance of teamwork and collaboration over individual achievement. Removing words like "Rockstar" and "Ninja" from job descriptions and replacing them with inclusive language and skills-based terms that highlight the company's values will completely shift a candidate's perspective on your mission.

Recruiting Best Practices For Hiring Managers

We could literally write entire books on best practices in recruitment and selection- but as a hiring manager, you probably have more information today than you know what to do with. Open communication alongside the implementation of a few key strategies will do more for your inclusion strategy than more information. So let's dive into some key strategies you can implement today.

A. Develop a Lean Inclusive Recruitment Strategy:

With a goal, a small budget, a few tools, and some free training, you can build an inclusion strategy that will dramatically reduce your time to hire and improve the quality of candidate flow. One simple data point you could leverage today is your internal recruitment analytics. Review your last 10 hires, did they meet or exceed your inclusive hiring goals? If not, maybe it's time to make a few small tweaks to achieve those goals.

B. Identify an Internal Champion:

Having an internal champion passionate about diversity and inclusion can significantly enhance a company's diverse hiring strategy. This respected individual advocates for inclusive practices drives the DEI agenda, mentors hiring managers, and fosters accountability, ensuring diversity initiatives are prioritized and integrated throughout the recruitment process. This leads to a more inclusive environment where diverse talent can thrive.

C. Implement Best Practices for Hiring Managers:

Inclusion has a trickle-down effect. If you start with hiring managers, you're already setting a precedent for an inclusive culture. This means ensuring they are trained in unconscious bias, have diverse interview panels, and are utilizing unbiased job descriptions and hiring criteria.

D. Create Regular Feedback Loops:

Employees of all backgrounds should feel comfortable providing feedback on the recruitment process without fear of retaliation or dismissal. Actively listen to their feedback and make necessary changes to improve the process. This creates a culture of inclusivity and shows that the company is committed to ongoing growth and improvement.

E. Utilize Hiring Tools and Data to Track Progress:

Tracking data on recruitment efforts can provide valuable insights into how well diversity and inclusion initiatives are working. Interview insights are a great tool to help you understand if bias is creeping into the hiring process. But you should also monitor metrics such as the percentage of diverse candidates interviewed, time-to-hire for diverse candidates, and retention rates.

Finally, remember that this is an emotionally charged issue. So give people grace in making these transitions. This isn't a one-time project, it's an ongoing effort to constantly improve and create a more inclusive workplace. Keep learning, stay open-minded, and continue to actively work towards building the culture you envision.
And, if you'd like to see how interview intelligence and other Pillar tools can help you create a more inclusive workforce, book a demo today, or chat with someone from our team to learn more.