Launching Competitive Opportunities in Talent Acquisition

Historically, men have held the advantage over women in the workplace. In the modern work climate, there’ve been inroads made to create more equality within this unbalanced paradigm. However, to gain clarity to its prevalence, we must identify where these disadvantages begin and pervade and most importantly; how to solve them.

I spend my work days working with female clients teaching them how to excel in the interview process or identifying strategies for them to advance in a male-dominated workplace. One thing has become clear to me: women are much more passive when it comes to selling and presentation skills than our male counterparts. So, how can organizations ensure that they are guaranteeing equality in their talent acquisition processes?

Avoid Gender Wording

Studies have shown that gender-neutral wording in job descriptions are essential to attracting an equal amount of male and female candidates. Other research has established that women’s form of communication is more communal, using more emotional and social words than men’s style of speech. Perceptions of subtly used ‘gendered’ wording in job advertisements have a been proven to have a negative impact on female applicants.

In fact, in a USDOL database, researchers have linguistically coded job description based on gender-themed words. Findings have shown a majority of these listings dominated by male-themed words. Examples of these include: active, ambitious, analytical, competitive, dominate, challenging, confident, decisive, determined, independent, leader, etc. Comparatively, feminine-themed words were identified as committed, connected, cooperative, dependable, interpersonal, loyal, responsible, supportive, etc.

This research confirmed that job descriptions for historical male-dominated jobs contained more masculine-themed words associated with male bias than those job descriptions from female-dominated positions and vice versa. Taking these findings into consideration, to provide equal opportunities in the hiring process employers must realign their language to create unbiased listings.

Apply the Rooney Rule

The Rooney Rule requires “at least one woman and underrepresented minority to be considered in the slate of candidates for either every open position or every open senior position (the details vary from company to company).”

This rule is essential to talent acquisition. More inclusive and diversified hiring practices are critical components to a company’s success, offering a higher potential for innovation while creating economic parity in the workforce. Additionally, McKinsey & Co. studies have shown that ethnically and gender diverse companies are more likely to have financial returns above national industry medians.

Pay Equity

Although it has its detractors; a ban of salary history questions can prohibit discrepancies in compensation. At the federal level, the EEOC proposed that employers with 100 or more employees submit salary data beginning in 2018 to address any pay inequality issues.

Track Your Data

One of the best ways to measure your company’s long-term success of diversity in talent acquisition is to monitor your metrics. The following are examples of what parameters that you might want track.

Who Is Getting Interviewed?

To ensure that a diverse group is getting on your roster it is necessary to assure that the applications that you’re receiving in fit into your diversity and inclusion requirements.

Monitor the diversity of candidates whom are interviewed. It is essential to keep track of the demographic details of those at the interview stage of your hiring process and then use this data to show how ethnically or gender diversified your talent pool is. This data is an excellent source of information to re-evaluate any sourcing channels and/or screening tools that are applied. Be open to revamping your approach depending on your data.

Who Is Moving Through Each Stage?

It is important to continuously monitor candidates progress to see whether diversity increases or decreases as they move through the pipeline.

Ethnic and Gender Diversity by Hiring Stage

Assess this metric from the application stage to screening down through interviews and offers accepted. By doing so, this will make it clear where in your hiring process you are losing diverse candidates. A decrease in diversity at different stages will require a different response.

Who Is Getting Hired?

Pay attention to how many women and minorities are getting hired in comparison to your existing workforce and the industry standard.

Diversity Goals

Carefully monitoring this data will show whether you are meeting your business’s diversity goals and keeping in line with industry best practices.

If your statistics are low, this is an indicator that your recruitment process needs to be reviewed to determine where there is room for improvement. If your hiring process is doing well and bringing in a new, diverse talent but there still is not any change in the organization’s overall diversity, then it is necessary to review the retention of the diversity of the current workforce, outside of the hiring process.

Employ the Use of Tech

The commitment to workforce diversity is essential. However, it is common for organizations to put a lot of energy into hiring diverse candidates only to find that they are not retaining them. Employing the use of HR tech can provide analytics and planning capabilities that make this process easier to manage.

Talk it out

We as a society cannot make continued progress if we do not keep an open and continuous dialogue to discuss diversity in hiring practices with other industry leaders.

Successful diversity in talent acquisition requires organizations to be strategic, proactive, and open. It can also enhance an organization’s competitiveness within its industry for the best and most diverse talent available.  Most importantly, when companies ensure equality in their talent acquisition processes, they are providing an equal playing field for all candidates and employees seeking advancement.

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