If You Need More Diverse Hires, Start by Diversifying Your Candidate Pool

Goal Setting in the New Year

We talk to so many employers that want to create a more diverse workplace, but are struggling to hire diverse talent. We often hear, “There just wasn’t enough diverse candidates that applied for the job. We considered the everyone that applied and hired the best person…who happens to be a white male.” There are even employers that believe hiring more diversity means a quota system that prioritizes skin color over qualifications or achievements. That’s not what we’re suggesting – or recommending. 

If you want to hire more diverse talent, you have to diversify your candidate pool. Take a recent client we helped with a search:

The organization was a highly visible nonprofit organization looking for a C-level executive. They engaged us at The Center for Leadership Excellence, because they wanted more women, particularly women of color, in their candidate pool. That required us to look very intentionally for qualified candidates who met their narrow criteria, candidates that likely weren’t on the active job market or wouldn’t necessarily apply for the job if posted on Indeed or ZipRecruiter. After about 3-weeks, we produced a short list of top candidates of six women, 50% of them non-white. Five were selected for interviews, three were invited to the second round. Two finalists were vetted and presented to the board as great candidates, one of which is now happily and successfully in the role. 

When you’re looking to hire more diversity in your organization, companies must work harder to build a more robust and diverse pool of high-quality candidates to choose from. That means evaluating job descriptions and postings for gendered language, posting jobs on different sites and within different networks, looking at how you are evaluating candidates for the role (not just qualifications, but also looking at accomplishments), and looking for individuals outside the active job market. 


At The Center for Leadership Excellence, we track thousands of candidates in our data base, including women and minorities who are not actively on the job market, but are often interested in hearing about an opportunity that is a career enhancement. With our services, you put your organization in the position to be able say – “I hired the best talent available from a diverse pool of candidates!”

 For more information, contact Richard Butz at rbutz@cciindy.com or by phone at 317-506-4164.

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