FACT: We Can’t Find Great Women or Minority Candidates: Regardless of whether you have gender equity goals for your organization, the rationale for not hiring more women and/or minorities is often, “We just didn’t have a large enough pool of female and diverse leaders to consider for this position. We needed to fill the position as soon as possible, so we hired the best person for that role and it just happened to be a white man.”

Sourcing Women and Minority Candidates:  Sourcing women and minority candidates is an art form that requires the organization to have a proactive sourcing strategy. Traditionally, HR professionals and hiring managers look for this talent inside their organization to promote, but seldom do they have candidates who are rated “ready now” for as role. Postings on job boards or referrals from friends or business associates seldom produces the desired number of qualified candidates, let alone enough women or minorities. In addition, most in-house recruiters have not created and/or maintained a database of women and minorities that they could call upon when a position within the organization opens..

Solution:  Partner With A Search Firm That Sources Women And Minorities: One of the most effective ways to invest wisely in identifying women and minorities is to hire a search firm that has a competent research departments and/or has a large data base of women and minorities who are not actively looking for a job but always interested in a career enhancement.  These firms can leverage their network and database to provide a diverse pool of candidates or compliment your existing pool of candidates with women and minorities.

Set Goals:  A “Short List” of 3-5 Candidates Must Include Women and Minorities: As part of any gender equity goal, organizations must set goals for the diversity of talent that they expect HR or search firms to present as their “short list” of candidates to be interviewed. For example, an organization might require that one out of every three candidates in the talent pool be a woman or minority. Another organization might require the percentage of female or minority candidates be 50% of the pool. Setting these goals requires each leader to have an effective strategy to enhance/build a diverse leadership team that outperforms the competition through thoughtful and intentional hiring practices.  We know one of the core ways you create gender equity and diversity in your organization is through sourcing more diverse candidates in your hiring process.

Accountability: Hold your HR department or search firm accountable for achieving the aforementioned goals. Yes, it will take more work on their part, but the results will have an exponential positive impact on achieving your diversity and gender balance goals.

Richard Butz, Founder of The Center For Leadership Excellence has written and lectured extensively on selection issues.

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