5 Tips to Help You Build a More Inclusive Recruiting Pipeline

Whether you’re with a 10-person startup or a multinational conglomerate, one thing is clear: you need to build an inclusive recruiting pipeline. The business benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce are well-documented — from the bottom-line impact on revenue to greater team creativity and improved product innovation. And job seekers today increasingly expect employers to raise their game when it comes to building an inclusive workplace to drive a sense of belonging

At Indeed, we apply a proactive outbound sourcing strategy to access talent from diverse sources and locations — and we’re continuously experimenting with new ways to make sure our applicant pool for open positions is as reflective of the broader job seeker population as possible. While there’s no silver bullet, this focus on our top-of-funnel recruiting pipeline is one step toward building a truly inclusive recruitment process. 

Follow these five tips to widen your recruiting net and grow inclusivity.  

Tip #1: Train your team to identify and check biases 

We can encounter over 100 cognitive biases every day. With most recruitment and selection processes still driven by quick human decisions, implicit biases have the potential to slip in anywhere — negatively impacting efforts toward inclusivity. 

While nothing can fully eliminate bias, empowering your team to identify and check their own is the most important step you can take. Have a thoughtful, sensitive and proactive conversation about the different types of scenarios where bias has the potential to surface in your outbound sourcing. 

Common scenarios include: 

  • Academic qualifications: Over-reliance on academic history or accomplishments as an indication of merit for a job. 
  • Gender: Presuming job seekers of certain genders are better fits for specific jobs simply because that job has historically been filled by that gender.   
  • Company pedigree: Prioritizing past work experience as a measurement of a job seeker’s ability and merits for a job. 

And here are some tips for mitigating biases: 

  • Determine objective search requirements in your intake meetings with hiring partners and/or clients.
  • Build inclusive search strings focused on skills, competency and knowledge related to the job.
  • Rely on consistently standardized questions and evaluation criteria when screening candidates.

There are a number of free and paid software options that can help, too, with features such as anonymizing, hiding certain job-seeker attributes and creating blind resume profiles.   

Tip #2: Widen your recruiting net by channel and geography

As you build your outbound sourcing strategy, you need to identify groups, communities and channels to prioritize and invest in. A few sources we here at Indeed have incorporated include Meetup groups (e.g., Women Who Code Austin); Facebook Groups (e.g., Austin Urban Technology Movement); and communities that promote the advancement of underrepresented groups (e.g., Afrotech and Alpfa). 

Along with expanding your sourcing channels, you also need to expand the geographies where you find talent. From the Pew Research Center to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, there is a vast amount of publicly free data you can leverage to find areas with higher densities of underrepresented communities. 

As an extra bonus (and shameless company plug), you can increase your job advertising spend on Indeed in those locations to help increase your inbound traffic! 

Tip #3: Build diversity into your existing searches 

No need to reinvent the wheel — you can simply build on top of your existing candidate searches to include diversity. 

For example, if you’re looking for a software engineer and want to target more women, add organizations that support the advancement of women in technology into your search. You can do this on Indeed Resume. Here’s an example of a basic search for a software engineer on Indeed Resume, side by side with added criteria specifically focused on women:

Basic SearchSame Search but with Inclusion Criteria Added
(Java OR Python OR C++) title:(Programmer OR Developer OR Engineer)("Anita Borg" OR "Women Who Code" OR "Women in Technology") (Java OR Python OR C++) title:(Programmer OR Developer OR Engineer)

See? It’s simple. You can use the same framework for other areas you want to target. (For more info on how to do more targeted searches on Indeed Resume, check out this post).

Tip #4: Focus on long-term partnerships 

Sourcing isn’t just about identifying candidates. It’s also about nurturing relationships over time — and I’d argue that’s where the real magic happens. Identifying partnerships with external organizations can help you engage with a specific community while offering a more human, more personalized experience.

At Indeed, we’ve built partnerships with a number of organizations — Catalyst, Anita Borg, Afrotech, ALPFA, Disability:In and Out & Equal, to name a few — that provide access to talent from specific underrepresented communities. We’ve sourced candidates who are members of their community, recruited at their conferences and sponsored their local events. You can do the same, finding partners that fit your needs.

Tip #5: Shift your mind-set to “screen in” versus “screen out” 

Data shows that employers spend an average of six seconds reviewing a resume — and deciding whether the candidate will move to the next step in the interview process. 

The truth is, all of us are naturally in a “screen-out” mode. Our goals are to advance the candidates who are the best fit for the job and have the highest probability of interview success. The reality: This screen-out lens makes us overlook highly qualified candidates who have the potential to be our next hire. 

You’ll be surprised by the success and impact of simply shifting your mind-set to a “screen-in” mode. After all, one of the first steps of recruiting is to validate whether there is mutual interest. And there are a number of variables that make up mutual interest, including timelines, needs, goals and basic qualifications. 

By employing a screen-in mind-set, you’ll find more reasons to say yes. What’s more, you’ll uncover other great attributes about the candidate and how they can complement your team. 

Conclusion 

You have limited control over your inbound traffic and who applies. Intentionally focusing your outbound sourcing efforts on underrepresented groups will help improve representation in your recruiting pipeline from the beginning. I’m hopeful these five tips will help make your recruiting efforts more inclusive. Happy hiring!

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