8 ways to improve candidate sourcing to build more inclusive teams

June 26, 2023

8 ways to improve candidate sourcing to build more inclusive teams

One element essential for long-lasting change, no matter where your business is in its diversity and inclusion process, is candidate sourcing. Candidate sourcing is the process of finding top talent for open positions in your business or your client's business that matches your ideal skills, education, and interests. The process involves searching for active and passive candidates and trying to recruit them for relevant open positions.

While hiring managers, recruiters, and HR departments may have good intentions regarding actively prioritizing hiring more diverse candidates and implementing diversity and inclusion program ideas, the company-wide policies these individuals support and implement tend to fall short of having a significant impact.

So, why are current diversity and inclusion initiatives falling short of their full potential? Two reasons. First, most organizations depend on tried-and-true recruiting and candidate-sourcing strategies and methods with little variation in approach. In comparison, other businesses jump headfirst into recruitment without a strategy and don't make the targeted changes necessary for a lasting transformation. If you want your approach to building more inclusive teams to succeed, it's important to consider new strategies you can take to improve your candidate sourcing.

Importance of diverse employees in the workplace

An inclusive workplace with diverse employees offers substantial benefits to employers, including:

  • Increased innovation
  • Increased performance and productivity
  • Higher revenue
  • Increased customer base
  • Employees with a broader range of skills and experience
  • Increased language and cultural awareness
  • Larger and more diverse candidate pools

Using candidate sourcing to hire diverse employees

If your company is dedicated to creating a more diverse workforce and inclusive workplace, it's important to actively seek out such candidates outside of your standard recruitment channels, from professional associations and universities to specialized job sites. The following eight candidate-sourcing strategies can help your business find applicants with a wide range of perspectives, experiences, skills, and identities:

1. Have a clear candidate-sourcing strategy

Before sourcing candidates, you must develop a plan or strategy. Determine your goals, objectives, and metrics first. Next, decide how you'll assess your progress or measure your success. Specify the specific actions each employee, from recruiters and hiring managers to supervisors and managers, should take in your plan.

2. Diversify your traditional candidate-sourcing channels

Rather than using your favorite job board, use niche job boards that align with the specific talent you're looking for, such as veterans transitioning from military life or LGBTQ+ creatives. There's even a tool that allows you to select which boards to post your jobs to automatically.

Data from your applicant tracking system can help you find candidates from a broad range of backgrounds. Supply and demand data, for example, will provide information on ethnicity and location, enabling you to locate the candidates you want and provide context for issues such as pay and education, skill expectations, and market competition.

"Diversify your hiring process and attract a range of candidates by creating a clear candidate-sourcing strategy with various sourcing channels."

Prioritize connections with local colleges and universities. Historically Black colleges and universities and traditionally Black sororities and fraternities are a great way to diversify your candidate pool. Many professions also have groups that cater to specific demographics to help underserved or marginalized groups advance their careers.

Be deliberate in your search for the individuals whose backgrounds and perspectives you want to represent on your team. Check out job boards for disabled employees run by disability advocates or associations for women in business.

3. Expand your candidate pool through networking events and job fairs

Attending career or industry-specific conferences and events, even virtually, or hosting your own job fair or networking event can increase your candidate pool and connect you to job seekers with specialized skills. Tabling at job fairs hosted by local colleges and universities or professional organizations also allows you to engage candidates you wouldn't typically interact with.

4. Nurture partnerships with the media and other businesses

Reach new candidates and convey your company's culture and brand while building a talent network of interested job seekers by partnering with media outlets and companies in various industries. Look for businesses that cater to the particular demographic groups you seek.

5. Use your employees' networks for sourcing candidates

Companies can increase their talent pool tenfold by recruiting through their employees' networks, whether professional or personal. Conduct candidate-sourcing meetings with your team to determine whether anyone in your staff members' networks is a good fit for one of your open positions. Your employees can increase response rates from candidates they're familiar with and help you find undiscovered talent.

6. Personalize your messaging to candidates

Personalize your messaging to ideal candidates by including at least two remarkable facts about them, whether it's a particular skill or something you have in common. A personalized message has been shown to improve response rates.

7. Develop a robust internship program

Many businesses have started internal diversity and inclusion program initiatives that offer internships to candidates from particular backgrounds to reach entry-level and ambitious job seekers. You can also reach out to local schools and community organizations to learn how to connect with emerging and diverse talent.

8. Update your job descriptions

It's important to remember that candidate sourcing involves more than being in the right place at the right time to find diverse candidates. To attract candidates from various backgrounds, ensure your job descriptions include inclusive language, such as gender-neutral terms. Limit the job's requirements to those that are absolutely necessary and concentrate on critical tasks and responsibilities.

A diverse workforce is necessary for creating a successful company. You can diversify your hiring process and attract a range of candidates by creating a clear candidate-sourcing strategy with various sourcing channels. Remember that developing an inclusive team requires time and effort, but with the right candidate-sourcing tactics, you can build a diverse, creative, and successful team.

Related reading: More tips for building inclusive teams

Increase the diversity of your candidate pool. Learn three suggestions for hiring more diverse candidates.

Use these three practices to reengage candidates in your talent network.

When creating a job posting, learn how to attract the next generation of workers.

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