Diversity Recruitment: Start with Your Employer Brand

The Symphony Talent Team
May 29 ․ 8 min read

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made headlines recently when asked what his company was doing about its lack of diversity. Facebook, despite its efforts to reverse the situation, has struggled to hire more minority employees; for example, according to its Equal Opportunity Employer form, only 145 of its 8,446 tech employees are African American as of July 2015. Zuckerberg’s response to the question has been criticized, but something he said in that response should strike a chord with recruiting departments wondering why they aren’t achieving the diversity in candidates they are hoping for:

“A lot of people who think that they care about diversity actually still have a lot of these biases that hold them back.”

In other words, just because a company and its recruiting and hiring departments say they are committed to diversity recruitment doesn’t mean they have figured out the path to achieving that goal. Although some organizations have taken bold steps for improving diversity in their workforce—Marc Benioff at Salesforce, for example—others aren’t sure where to start.

We have a suggestion on a starting point: employer brand. Your recruiting process should tell a story, but for many companies, the story is too narrowly focused, failing to find a common denominator among the diverse candidates you hope to attract. Here is a closer look at how your brand can be a valuable asset in improving your diversity recruitment efforts:

Beware of Bias

Mark Zuckerberg is right on target about how bias permeates into hiring. Usually, the bias is inadvertent—few companies develop talent acquisition strategies with a goal of hiring only white males or another narrow demographic—but it does happen, thus leading to candidates who aren’t meeting the diversity goals recruiters have set. What these strategies may lack is a focus on personalization, i.e. aiming each candidate experience to each individual candidate. Loren Nelson, VP of Solutions Engineering recently offered his opinions on this personalization for us:

“We know that there is an inherent emotional connection that people feel about a career and a workplace that indefinitely plays a huge role in candidate attraction and employee retention. A unique connection like this drives better business performance, which is particularly important in today’s state of talent play.”

Personalization doesn’t guarantee you’ll avoid bias, but it does help you think about how your talent acquisition strategies connect with candidates on an individual basis, rather than in just broad terms.

The Role of Employer Brand

B2C companies go to great effort in crafting a brand that appeals to consumers they want to purchase their products. The same consumer approach should be taken with an organization’s employer brand: Design and refine it to attract, impress, and inspire potential candidates. You want to tell a story about the experience of working at your company; brand delivers that story, across multiple channels (and potentially customized for each channel), and ideally convinces candidates to become part of it. This strategy is about finding a common denominator that will spark a personalized, meaningful experience with candidates. Consumers expect amazing from companies to ultimately buy their product; candidates are no different in order to apply.

Diversity Branding

When companies treat candidates like consumers, they must identify key traits of those candidates, target the exact audience, and deliver relevancy. All three are vital to diversity branding—incorporating inclusion and a far-ranging yet unique appeal to each candidate you are telling your company’s story to. You must know who you are targeting, how to reach them, and what messaging will resonate with them. Because branding helps create a candidate experience all the way through hire, anything you can do to make diverse candidates feel they are fitting into that experience (which should be personalized to each candidate) goes a long way. Moreover, AI-driven media spending solutions ensure you are strategically,  precisely, and even automatically posting the right content to right channels—and retargeting diverse candidates as necessary. In this way, diversity recruitment goals are optimized and can become a priority.

Brand with Care

No single brand approach will work across diverse groups—a common denominator may be evident but not personalized enough to speak to each candidate. A thought diversity recruitment strategy must reach the rational and the emotional for each candidate; the brand must be just right to send candidates further into the hiring experience. If this sounds tricky, it can be, but partnering with employer brand experts can help companies perfect their messaging. Often, establishing a diversity recruitment brand strategy is the toughest step, but once you do, maintaining it becomes second nature, and the results speak for themselves.


What measures has your company taken to boost diversity recruitment?

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