How to hire ethnically diverse employees?
May 16, 2016 5:30 PM   Subscribe

Small firm looking for salespeople-- how can I get a more diverse group of candidates?

My firm is hiring salespeople. As the hiring manager, I have a lot of influence over who gets hired, though not final say. Unfortunately I do not have control over what the job listing says, which is entirely skills based, and senior staff at the company would likely not support a focus on diversity rather than experience being explicit in any way. Outside of that I am able to post the role anywhere I please, and I am willing to go out of my way to ensure that we give special consideration to people who are not straight/white/able-bodied.

We have very few candidates overall and almost no candidates from diverse ethnic or other backgrounds. We are located in a major Northeastern US city and there are surely thousands of applicants who might be interested in this role, especially given that it is relatively entry level and we are open to a wide range of experience.

What can I do to increase visibility of this position in the right places to get more applicants from diverse backgrounds (ethnic or otherwise), keeping in mind that as a small firm we have 0 budget for recruiters?

What online resources should I peruse? What about offline? Where can I learn more about increasing our firm's capability to hire for diversity?

If you have city-specific suggestions for cities in the Northeast than aren't NYC please post in the thread, I'm sure it will be helpful either way.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (16 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Can you reach out to places that help people find jobs? Such as Job Services in Massachusetts. You can register there as a business.

Here is a list of career centers in MA that would probably love to hear about your jobs, especially entry-level ones.
posted by Adridne at 5:39 PM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

Advertise in non-English language media.

Advertise in places serving various disadvantaged populations: Community centres, (physical) job boards at supermarkets and such in poor neighbourhoods. If you're interested in people without secondary school education, send your posting to HS guidance offices. It is graduate season and they will have fresh crops of graduates who are not necessarily continuing their schooling.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:43 PM on May 16, 2016 [4 favorites]

Can you include a statement in the job posting that you don't discriminate based on [groups]? Free, easy, can increase response from those groups and you can maybe sell it as compliance with employment law?

Are your customers diverse and are they likely to know people who have the expertise you need?

Are there relevant professional organizations that have diversity committees? Passing the posting to the chair might be worth a shot.

Other than that, look for cultural organizations both to see if they have job boards and to get a sense of where the folks you'd like to recruit get news.

If you're the only person in the org pushing for this, consider that diverse applicants might feel uncomfortable with office culture. You're fighting an uphill battle without an inclusive office culture.
posted by momus_window at 5:46 PM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

If you're recruiting recent college grads, you could advertise the position/recruit students at universities with diverse student bodies.

If fitting for the position, you could list a preference for candidates who are multi-lingual (Spanish, Arabic, etc.)

If applicable, you could state that you're interested in candidates with strong connections to the surrounding community.

You could advertise the position at professional organizations that represent diverse populations.

You can personally invite diverse candidates that you feel would be a good fit for the position.
posted by smorgasbord at 5:48 PM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

You should reach out to diverse sources of candidates. HBCU alumni/career offices. Black Fraternities and sororities (which often have strong alumni networks). Depending on what kind of sales, you might send the listing to professional organizations like the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers or to more general organizations like the National Association of Asian American Professionals
posted by Jahaza at 5:49 PM on May 16, 2016 [10 favorites]

If you have current or ex-staff on good terms with the company who have diverse backgrounds, ask them to reach out to their own networks to spread the job posting. They will be the most likely to find and recruit good matches who are diverse AND who would fit the company culture.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 5:54 PM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

College recruitment. It's summer vacation now I think but you can talk directly with college placement offices.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:02 PM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

To momus_window's point, make sure the job description is actually welcoming to a broad set of affinity groups: See, e.g., this article about words that deter women from applying.

Does your office culture support work-life balance? Do people actually use their PTO or is there an unstated assumption that you get PTO but shouldn't ever take a day off? Flexible work hours? Work from home? Are people expected to be available after-hours or on weekends (when some folks have religious and family obligations)? Can people take time off for cultural/religious holidays without getting the side-eye? Et cetera.
posted by Schielisque at 6:19 PM on May 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

Anonymizing resumes/cover letters for the first round is one of the best things you can do to increase diversity in hires, so that unconscious bias doesn't affect which candidates your team selects to interview. If there's any way you can influence that part of the process, it will make a huge difference.
posted by capricorn at 6:33 PM on May 16, 2016 [5 favorites]

Do you personally know a couple of people from the demographics you're hoping to attract? You could mention the job and/or privately forward the job posting to them, and they might be willing to spread it. Getting the post into the hands of even one "hub" type person could spread the post very effectively and yield a great response.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 6:43 PM on May 16, 2016

Some thoughtful searches on Twitter would probably yield a couple of those hubs mentioned above.
posted by COD at 6:46 PM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Paying attention to the language in the job posting can really help. Like not using "hacker". Or the difference between required or desired qualifications. Also make the salary range transparent to applicants.
posted by kendrak at 7:56 PM on May 16, 2016 [4 favorites]

In the tech industry, events by/for underrepresented groups often have networking happy hour things where recruiters are welcome. People notice which companies make the effort to show up at these things. I'm guessing such events exist in sales. Go yourself (or convince colleagues to go) if you don't have a recruiting department.
posted by hoyland at 7:57 PM on May 16, 2016

You have to be careful not to discriminate against white, young, non-handicapped men. Because you can get sued and it's no fun.

I would offer internships and give discriminated-against groups the opportunity the get training. Pay your interns fairly, and genuinely train them.
posted by theora55 at 5:20 AM on May 17, 2016

"Women and minorities are encouraged to apply."
posted by tango! at 6:49 AM on May 17, 2016

The word "minorities" is white-centric, as it posits white people as the majority and "others" everyone else. I would personally avoid a job posting that used that word (I am a woman and a so-called minority) because it would suggest that ye olde corporate culture was non-progressive and would be a hard road. Make sure to use appropriate terms that welcome people rather than tokenizing them. Maybe "we are committed to achieving gender parity and diversity in all areas." Etsy is a company making very strong steps in this area of their hiring practices- Google their statements about their commitments for some language and strategic
posted by pseudostrabismus at 12:45 AM on May 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

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