Building a Diverse Candidate Pipeline for a More Inclusive Workforce

Diversity and Inclusion programs aim to narrow the gap by placing candidates from underrepresented groups into leadership positions and specific job categories and roles across the organization. Over the past year, the number of diversity, equity and inclusion roles in organizations has increased significantly, but a lot remains to be done to narrow the gap further. Building a more diverse workforce goes beyond hiring candidates from underrepresented categories. Unless the organization adopts a holistic approach to diversity hiring, it is likely to see a continuous turnover of employees who join but subsequently leave as they don’t fit into the existing work culture.

Top 5 things companies do to build a Diverse Candidate Pipeline

1. Devise strategies for diverse recruitment

The first step is to have a plan in place for hiring diverse candidates. It could be through referrals but communicate the specific categories you want to hire. Enlist employees from underrepresented groups to refer candidates as they are more likely to know those who fit a specific profile. Identify institutions from where you can hire to get a more diverse workforce. Use blind recruiting when evaluating different candidate profiles by removing non-essential fields from resumes for fair and inclusive candidate screening. Instead of waiting until you have a position to fill, be proactive and establish contact with candidates from marginalized or underrepresented groups to make it easier to reach out to them when you need to hire.

2. Adopt tools for equitable recruitment

For more equitable hiring, you need to look beyond the familiar places or channels you use for recruiting candidates. Explore a wider range of job boards and sites, especially those that target specific sub-groups, to reach out to a more diverse candidate base. Besides using social media filters to make sure your advertisement reaches different audiences, consider using intelligent software to remove the subconscious biases of internal recruiters.

3. Unconscious bias training

Almost everyone makes decisions based on unconscious or implicit biases without being aware of them. These biases occur due to thought patterns built over the years and become automatic, resulting in discriminatory or prejudiced decisions even if we think they may be fair or rational. Small biases can multiply in a workplace where several employees or team members are involved in decision making as each person contributes their biases to the decision. Imparting proper training on unconscious bias will help your team make more open-minded decisions about recruiting a more diverse team and daily operations, whether discussions or accepting ideas.

4. Build an inclusive company culture

Diverse hiring needs to be clubbed with inclusion for success. While hiring candidates from underrepresented groups can contribute to a more diverse workforce, they won’t have a reason to stay unless every employee feels included and develops a sense of belonging and loyalty. Moving towards an inclusive environment calls for changes across all levels of the organization through training, openness and altering habits.

5. Capture and review the data

The impact of diverse recruitment should be periodically assessed by capturing relevant data, such as employee demographics or opinions through personality tests, surveys, focus groups, or employee feedback when they leave the organization. Reviewing the data will present a better picture of the organization’s diverse recruitment and equity and inclusion initiatives to take corrective measures to resolve issues.

Building an inclusive and more diverse candidate pipeline should not be a one-off effort to fill a specific job role. It needs to be a continuous process that fosters real change through training, altering habits, open communication and resolution of DEI initiatives and issues so that candidates across the organization feel they belong to an inclusive community.

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Recommended Reading

Harward Business Review : Don’t Give Up on Unconscious Bias Training — Make It Better

The Diverseek podcast aims to create a platform for meaningful conversations, education, and advocacy surrounding issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in various aspects of society.


Diverseek serves as a platform for meaningful conversations, education, and advocacy surrounding issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.