How to Attract a Diverse Workforce


By Danielle Look

As employers in every industry continue to struggle to fill open roles, many are coming to the conclusion that “what we’ve always done isn’t working anymore.” In response to that realization, employers are thinking outside the box for new and innovative ways to approach recruiting.

One such approach is simply to look in places they hadn’t previously considered. This means recruiting from new and different communities than the ones you’ve already tapped. Pursuing diversity in your hiring practices can put you in uncharted (and sometimes uncomfortable) waters, but the payoff will be worth it because you’ll not only be able to fill all your roles, you’ll also have a stronger team

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Here are some ideas for taking steps in that direction.
1. Define what “diversity” means to your organization and be very intentional about how you pursue it.
This tip comes from Maisha Hagan, who helps women in male-dominated industries pursue career growth. She advises that organizations take an honest look in the mirror to determine where they want to be more diverse, and to then articulate that everywhere your employer brand has a presence—on your website, in your job postings, in company meetings, and so on.

You wouldn’t start a new project without scoping it out first, right? You need to know what work has to be done, who’s going to do it, how long it’s going to take and how much it’s going to cost. The same goes for pursuing a diverse workforce. And Maisha says it’s easier than it sounds.

 “There’s no internal soul-searching that needs to happen; it’s just a business decision. If you decide that diversity for your organization means bridging the gender gap, then where and how do you put yourself into places and communities where women are watching, learning and congregating?”
2. Keep job descriptions short and concise
Once you’ve defined who you’re looking for and where you think you can find them, it’s time to revisit your “marketing materials” that will attract them (i.e. your job descriptions) and pare them down to the most essential 3-4 requirements for the job.

This tip also comes from Maisha, who points to the notion that women only apply for jobs when they believe they’re 100% qualified for the position. This idea extends to anyone from any marginalized or stigmatized group, such as disabled people and felons. Those people are likely already very self-conscious about the idea of working in a totally foreign industry or environment with colleagues who might not look, talk or behave like they do. If the prospect then sees an exhaustive list of requirements that they can’t meet, they’ll be discouraged from even applying in the first place.
3. Use an applicant tracking system to eliminate unconscious bias
SHRM defines an applicant tracking system (ATS) as a platform that “collects and stores candidate resumes as well as automates job postings and other manual tasks common to the recruiting function.” 

One of the most burdensome manual tasks in the process is reviewing resumes, which is why many applicant tracking systems use artificial intelligence (AI) to scan resumes and filter out unqualified applicants (based on keywords) before a human sits down to evaluate them.

The technology is a double edged sword, though. On the one hand, letting a machine filter out candidates based on their qualifications and experience can help reduce unconscious human bias, such as judging a candidate by their name or gender. On the other hand, it’s entirely possible to program bias directly into an applicant tracking system by setting parameters too narrowly. 

As an example, if you specify that you’re looking for five years of experience in a certain role, an ATS will only deliver people with five or more years experience. Meanwhile, people with one or two years experience in that role, or five years experience in a similar role, will be eliminated from the candidate pool. But who’s to say they couldn’t handle the job if given the chance?

The good news is that by following the advice in point #2 above and paring down job descriptions to the bare minimum, you’re more likely to keep the focus of your ATS broad. You may have ideas about what your “ideal” candidate looks like (which is great to know heading into an interview) but your ATS only needs to know the bare minimum for doing the job.

If the thought of programming a piece of software to help you find the right candidates, while also programming out your own unconscious bias sounds daunting, that’s because it is. It involves a lot of trial and error and takes a lot of time to get it right. On top of that, most applicant tracking systems try to be a one-size-fits-all solution, which overlooks the subtle nuances of hiring for a deskless workforce. 

That’s where Team Engine is different, because we’re made for blue-collar companies who need both skilled and unskilled labor to fill out their crews and teams. Sign up for a free seven-day trial (no credit card required) and take it for a spin to see the difference!

Author bio:
Danielle Look (based in Denver, CO) is the Content Marketing Manager for Team Engine. When she’s not building audience at Team Engine and keeping them informed on industry best practices in hiring and employee retention, she writes about immersive entertainment in Denver and markets for a commercial haunted house in Indiana. 

Team Engine boilerplate:
Team Engine’s software helps labor-intensive companies build, manage, and retain their blue-collar workforce by delivering proven best practices in hiring and retention, tools that get the job done, and a way to automate the repetitive (but very time-sensitive) steps in that process. With Team Engine, companies can find quality applicants, reach out to applicants first (before competitors do), reduce interview no-shows, and communicate with current field staff via text messages.

Tags: Recruiting , Team , Diversity ,