Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Series: Identifying obstacles within your hiring system–and how to address them

by Susan Mullin

Part 2 of our interview with Jennifer Tardy, Career Success Coach and Certified Diversity Executive and Practitioner

Jennifer Tardy posing in yellow dress with her hand on her chest

Read on for concrete ways employers can identify and address obstacles to diversity, equity and inclusion in their overall hiring system in part 2 of Stephanie Ranno’s interview with Jennifer Tardy, career and diversity hiring expert.

So, how can employers best identify areas within their hiring process that create an obstacle course for candidates?

Jennifer: One of the best places to start is to measure outcomes. Even if your organization has the best of intentions, you need to pay attention to what the data suggests could be the problem.

For example, I believe that there aren’t enough organizations that implement self-ID campaigns within their applicant tracking system. Start there. Ask candidates to voluntarily self-identify race, gender identity, ability status, sexual orientation, etc.

On the other hand, if you do already have a self-ID campaign, review the data. to get an idea of diversity within your candidate pools. If you have a high level of diversity within the candidate pools, then research where are they falling off during the hiring process.

Is there a certain milestone in the hiring process? Are they withdrawing or being rejected? If they are being rejected, are there patterns in the reason codes? 

If you look at the data and find that there’s little or no diversity among the candidate pool, then you’ve identified a new barrier. Also, if for some reason candidates aren’t applying to your open positions, it’s time to focus your audit on sourcing platforms, your referral program, and recruiting partnerships.

So often, hiring managers and leadership teams only think about DEI from the perspective of one or two underrepresented candidate populations. As we close out, give us a few more top tips for how companies can begin to dismantle the hiring system obstacle course?

Jennifer: Well, there are many ways but here are three tips that I share with employers often:

Tip #1: Avoid actions that create barriers to employment at your company.

It is not only about what you as a hiring professional must start doing in order to increase diversity. It is also about what you must stop doing too. I actually created a checklist for hiring professionals which highlights my top 10 tips.

Tip #2: Check Yourself.

Make sure that your recruiters and hiring managers are properly trained in diversity recruiting. Effective training goes far beyond where and how to source for talent and includes additional important elements like understanding effective language to use, cultural competence and working through one’s own resistance to people who are unique to them.

Tip #3: Understand that hope is not a strategy.

Being “a good person” is not enough to increase diversity. If you are not actively working to identify and remove areas within the hiring process that are creating an obstacle course for candidates, then you are preserving the system. Let me repeat this again  for the folks in the back of the room. You are either actively dismantling systemic bias or preserving it through inaction. 

Jennifer, this has been an amazing conversation! Thank you—for your truth-telling, your encouragement and your actionable steps for our client companies to take as they try to dismantle the obstacle course of their hiring process.

If you missed part 1 of Stephanie and Jennifer’s interview, you can find it here.

Additional resources from Jennifer Tardy:

Platinum Checklist for Hiring Professionals: 10 Things Leaders and Hiring Professionals Must Stop Doing In Order to Increase Diversity.
Well How Did That Happen? (+The Systemic Recipe for Workplace Underrepresentation).

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