All businesses say they want diverse leadership, but few know how to go find and hire diverse candidates. These tips for finding diverse executive-level talent should help search committees organize a search that will attract a diverse candidate pool.
Diversity and inclusion efforts should establish the parameters of what those terms mean for the search. Recruiting will naturally focus on talent from traditionally underrepresented groups, but in addition to race and sex, consider neurodiversity, like people on the autism spectrum, as many technology businesses have done. Also, consider persons with physical disabilities and experienced candidates who are older than the average age of your employees.
Remove opportunities for subconscious bias to creep into the search process. Consider a “blind” review that focuses on experience, professional accomplishments, and how candidates express their interest in the position. That way, you won’t know the appearance, names, dates of birth, graduation dates, the names of colleges or universities, and the names of affinity groups while conducting the review.
Skills Rather Than “Fit”
“Not a good fit” has become a code for discrimination based on race, sex, religion, age, national origin, sexual orientation and disability. Suppress the impulse to recruit based on organizational culture, which may be homogenous and unwelcoming to diverse candidates.
Focus on the skills you need to add to your team and work to create an inclusive workplace that welcomes candidates from different backgrounds. Diversity can pay off with a 35 percent greater likelihood of improved financial performance.
Present a Diverse Picture
One of our most important tips for finding diverse executive-level talent is to demonstrate that your company has already hired a diverse workforce, including, and especially, at leadership levels. Faking it won’t make it: featuring your one female or Black face in every image of your leadership roster just shows how little effort you’ve put into creating a truly diverse leadership team. If your team presents as homogenous, admit it up front and emphasize your determination to diversify your workforce.
Understand the Competition
Look around at businesses in your industry that have successfully created a diverse leadership team. Observe their recruiting efforts and read the bios of team members for hints about why they chose to join that business.
Experienced diversity executive recruiters will have data on industry success in diversity recruiting and on tactics that work to develop diverse candidate pools. Don’t waste time flailing around when it’s plain you don’t know where to start. Professional recruiters who can streamline your search and get you a pool of exceptional candidates more quickly than you could develop internally.
Expand Beyond Your Industry
Look for talent outside your industry and for remote candidates who can manage from far-flung locations. Familiarity with your widgets, clients, or processes may be less important than curiosity and an exceptional ability to communicate. Many managerial and leadership skills are highly transferable, even between radically different industries and the pandemic has shown us that remote management can be as successful as in-office leadership.
As a diversity recruiting firm with decades of experience, Battalia Winston becomes part of your team. We offer in-depth analysis and a highly developed network to identify a diverse pool of candidates able to lead your organization toward a more inclusive, successful future.