Want to improve your diversity recruiting? Here’s what you need to stop immediately

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4 mins, 3 secs read time

Companies have had a lot of time to reflect on their diversity hiring practices these last two years. At Greenhouse’s Open Conference, attendees were able to learn new strategies on inclusive hiring practices in community with talent acquisition professionals from all over the world, some even getting certified through Credly.

One question presented by Jackye Clayton, VP of Talent Acquisition and DEIB at Textio, in her keynote, challenged attendees to reflect on the statement, “Is everything you’ve been taught about diversity recruiting wrong?” The identically titled session during Open 2022 quickly gave us an answer in the first few seconds of the session…


If you missed it, don’t worry – we’ll recap all of Jackye Clayton’s “hot takes” on how companies can promote diversity in partnership with their talent acquisition teams.

As talent acquisition professionals, we’ll need to reprogram our thinking on diversity recruiting by focusing on the needs of the communities we want to hire. Clayton quickly gets attendees to embark on that journey through discussion and recommendations on what we need to STOP doing so that we can START building a culture of safety and freedom for all.

#1 Stop prioritizing your “Time-to-hire” recruiting metric

Time-to-hire is a commonly used metric for measuring the efficiency and speed of the recruiter through the hiring process. However, for businesses that emphasize this goal, there can often be a tradeoff with building a diverse pipeline of candidates through sourcing efforts. Clayton proposes to instead emphasize Greenhouse Reports to understand pipeline demographics through Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and self-identification to show where the breakdown is happening through the hiring process.

At Greenhouse, for instance, recruiters commonly delay posting roles for one week to prioritize sourcing a diverse pipeline and they schedule Demographic Reports in Greenhouse to send to hiring managers on a weekly basis.

#2 Stop limiting yourself with boolean strings

Often, recruiters will create boolean searches on LinkedIn to find alumni who graduated from HBCUs (or Historically Black Colleges & Universities). What many in the talent acquisition space don’t realize is that this only accounts for 3% of higher education students in the United States. Additionally, HBCUs are all concentrated on the East Coast and the South, making it difficult for companies outside of those regions to hire from those schools.

Clayton, a black woman, exclaims, “I didn’t go to an HBCU, I wasn’t a member of the Divine IX, my name is Jackye and I spell it weird… so I knew no one was going to find me. And I am important.” This moment highlighted the importance for us talent acquisition professionals to recognize the limitations of the tools we use to recruit diverse talent.

#3 Stop relying on unconscious bias training to change behavior

Bias training can help organizations develop a plan, but Clayton encourages attendees to consider building a “Flywheel” of Belonging in their organizations to promote action. Textio developed the Flywheel of Belonging framework in order to create and sustain a culture of belonging in their organization.

It includes “a virtuous cycle of practices, communications, policies, and accountability structures that fosters inclusion and creates an environment that appeals to people who hold inclusive values themselves.” This approach attracts people who value inclusion to their company and reinforces every employee’s experience of belonging.

#4 Stop relying on ERGs to solve your company’s diversity problem

ERGs (or Employee Resource Groups) can have many benefits in a diversity recruiting strategy, as shared in our “Take Action” blogs, but these efforts are meaningless without thoughtful collaboration with leadership and managers at every level. If your goal is to build an ERG for historically underrepresented communities, that also should be a sign for more dialogue between all employees. For many organizations, a Diversity & Inclusion Council can help foster conversation amongst many different backgrounds and levels.

#5 Start ensuring a sense of safety and freedom in the workplace

In a political climate where voting rights and women’s rights are being challenged, alongside hateful violent acts against Black, Asian, and Latino historically underrepresented groups, employees want to feel safe in their workplace and have the freedom to show up as their authentic selves. Quoting thought leader and inclusion strategist Verna Myers, “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” It’s not enough for companies to focus on diversity recruitment, but to create a culture of inclusion and belonging for everyone to thrive.

If you're interested in tangibly learning how to improve your diversity recruiting process, download these worksheets.

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