Decisions made during your recruiting and hiring processes have a profound impact on the quality and diversity of employees you bring into your organization. Of course, we’ve known this for 100+ years, but the landscape has changed and employers must pay more attention to the inclusivity of their recruiting and hiring practices. With the recently renewed focus on improved diversity and inclusion of many employers, you may be pressed to answer questions like, “How inclusive is our recruiting practice?” and “Are we bringing enough diversity into our applicant pools? It seems like we’re not hiring very many women and people of color.” You’re not alone. Fortunately, we have a few things you can do to evaluate your recruitment and hiring program to answer these difficult questions.
If you are a government contractor, your affirmative action plan (AAP) can be a useful framework for evaluating your recruitment practices. If you’re not a government contractor, consider the AAP framework as a great foundation for evaluating, among many other DEI-related things, your recruitment efforts. In either case, below are some helpful ways of evaluating your recruiting practice.
Determine the Current Composition of Your Workforce, Identify and Prioritize Areas of Opportunities
This is fairly straightforward and should be the first item on your “to do” list. Compare the gender and race/ethnic representations of your workforce to the Census labor market data (this may be eye-opening for you!). Determine where underrepresentation exists for each job or group of jobs. If you are closely matching the available market with your current workforce, that’s excellent! If not, now you know that you need to step up your recruitment game. Either way, you may wish to keep drilling down to better understand the mechanics of your recruitment practice.
Evaluate Job Requirements
Evaluate the job requirements for the position(s) in question. Ask yourself, are these requirements absolutely necessary for job performance on day one of the job? This is an area where you could unnecessarily be filtering out applicants and which can significantly hinder your efforts to bring in more diverse applicants. The National Center for Education publishes data that may speak to your requirements.
Evaluate Recruitment Sourcing
This is where the hard work of your recruiters can really be leveraged to maximize the effectiveness of your outreach. Take a look at your recruitment sourcing and start with a few key questions: What is your recruitment area (e.g., nationwide, by surrounding metro area, internal)? What are your recruiting sources (e.g., online job boards, college fairs, employee referrals)? Who is being reached by your outreach? Do you have a target group? The length of your reach could be a significant factor limiting the available labor market you have at your disposal (remember the Census data can tell you the composition of the labor market in your area). Consider specific sources to achieve your desired recruitment goals. For example, there are countless societies and groups that organize specifically to gain more visibility (e.g., the Society of Women Engineers). Consider advertising your job postings with these types of organizations – targeted recruitment works.
It is equally important to evaluate your recruiting sources. Are your current sources helping you get to your desired goals? If not, then consider augmenting or completely revamping your current sources and practices.
Evaluate the Composition of Your Applicant Pool
Similar to determining whether there is underrepresentation of gender and/or race/ethnic groups in the workforce, you may also want to determine if your organization is able to attract a pool of applicants that is representative of your labor market area(s). For example, let’s say the Census data tells you that the available labor market for a Chemical Engineer job is 26.1% people of color and there is only 15% people of color in your applicant pool. This gap could indicate a need for better outreach and recruitment efforts that will target people of color.
Evaluate Selection Process Steps
Lastly, you will want to make sure that all your hard work and effort to bring in a diverse and qualified group of people to your applicant pool is not lost on a poor selection process. While there are many other things you’ll want to evaluate with each specific step in your selection process, a great starting place is to evaluate how well candidates are moving through your pipeline. For example, let’s assume you have several steps in the selection process, including:
- A screen of basic qualifications based on the resume
- A personality assessment
- A general skills-based interview
- A final interview with the hiring manager
You will want to evaluate the “pass/fail” rate for race and gender groups at each step in your pipeline. A critical note here is the need to accurately document dispositions of your applicants as they move through your pipeline (i.e., What happened to each applicant at each step? At which step was the applicant is eliminated in your process?). With this powerful data, you can now look at disparities in passing/elimination for race and gender groups at each step in your pipeline. You may uncover that there is a particular step in your process that is serving as a substantial barrier to a particular group of people entering your organization. If that’s the case, you’ll want to closely scrutinize that step to determine if the practice, procedure, or test you’re using is valid or consistent with business necessity, or if there is an equally valid but less adverse practice you can use. When the disparity you’re seeing is significant, you may be in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which could also expose your organization to legal risk.
To sum things up, you’re going to want to follow these steps to evaluate the effectiveness of your recruitment efforts:
- Understand your current position with your workforce vs. the labor market
- Understand your current position with your applicant pools vs. the labor market
- Determine if you have an outreach or selection problem
- Look at your entire selection process through a pipeline analysis
If you want to learn more about how to evaluate your recruitment efforts or need assistance with conducting the necessary analyses to do so, please reach out to our People Insights group: Brian Marentette, Ph.D. (email@example.com) or Julia Méndez-Achée (firstname.lastname@example.org).