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Talent Attraction: How to Attract Diverse Candidates

a meeting between three diverse people

Equality. Diversity. Inclusion. Ring any bells? If not, you’ll probably want to climb out from under that rock pretty soon, get some fresh air. Jokes aside, though, failing to keep ahead of the curve and diversifying could already be hurting your business. According to research conducted by McKinsey, companies identified as diverse and inclusive were 35% more likely to outperform their competitors. And in a study from Glassdoor 2 out of 3 job candidates look for workplaces committed to EDI. Holding off is impacting your profits, and your recruitment. So, how do you fix it? How can you diversify your talent pool?

As with most things, it starts from within.

The ‘Cultural Reset’

It’s time for a culture audit. You may already be in the defined EVP (employee value proposition) gang, with your mission and values beautifully written out, covering the office walls. But writing out and living out are two very different things. A culture audit will ground you in facts: workplace policy, the people, who’s getting promoted, how high up your efforts have reached.

two professional females talking in a work place

Listen to your colleagues, across all levels of the organisation, and start drawing up your benchmarks. Bear in mind that this employee involvement is not a one-and-done either– continue to foster a listening culture, seeking feedback through anonymous surveys, structured discussions with a HR representative, nominating a team diversity/inclusion head, even within each branch of your organisation. Find the source of any problems. Then you can move on to solving them.

But what could ‘solutions’ look like in practice? We hear you– stick with us!


Emphasise that it may take two or three years to achieve full inclusivity—but you’ll set milestones along the way.

Circulate your action plan throughout the company so that everyone knows you’re building an intentional culture, step by step. Continue to hold 'town halls' and smaller meetings, and use newsletters and other internal forums to update employees on your progress.

roadmap with pins in it

Define what success looks like for recruitment cycles and create a roadmap for year-on-year improvements.

Be honest about present shortcomings with your employees and applicants, and demonstrate your commitment to making changes→ more listening than talking, more asking questions than providing answers.

Everyday is a learning day…

Foster candid discussions around underrepresentation and the positive impact that a more diverse workforce can provide→ better serving candidates and clients from a variety of backgrounds.

  • Discuss within your workplace why underrepresentation exists and how our unconscious biases or behaviours can be detrimental to social mobility efforts.

  • Assign a leader in your team that is your expert in diversity and social mobility, ensuring all processes are built with them as a key contributor.

  • Ingrain these ideas within your in-house training and onboarding, and ensure your workplace promotes a learning culture- there's always further to go.

  • Who are you talking to? No, really, WHO?

group of young professionals in a huddle

Make use of targeted/bespoke messaging.

  • Work on a targeted level, ensuring communication to each demographic is relevant and engaging.

  • Talk to candidates on their own terms, creating individual journeys based on their career focus and the barriers to them achieving this.

  • Make bespoke reference to relevant areas in messaging, application processes, coaching and onboarding.

  • Offer insight days.

Take the road less travelled

Change up the routes to accessing your place of work; Actively diversify talent pools through embedding wider partnerships, programmes, bootcamps/courses in your company agenda.

Assess applicants for potential rather than experience, dependent on role.

Revamp your recruitment

  • Sense check your recruitment practices: what matters most to you and your organisation–do they actually need to be a ‘team-player’, or fluent in that one specific coding language? If not, get rid.

  • Focus in on conversion at each stage of your application process, to identify areas which may unfairly disadvantage or restrict access to certain candidate groups, and embed inclusion identifiers at each stage of your recruitment process.

  • Consider the questions you NEED to be asking→ well defined multiple choice answers are suggested as the most effective for parity.

  • Pre-empt stages of the application process that may cause candidates challenges and provide active coaching as part of the process.

  • Audit your current application requirements – consider removing school grade or university tier requirements. Many leading employers have already done this.

  • Consider creating a stream specifically for candidates who may not otherwise be able to access your sector.

  • Actively train recruiters to look for transferrable skills picked up during part-time job work experience.

  • Send out interview guides to each candidate, ensuring they can make an impact when we see them–what to highlight, how to prep.

Change doesn’t happen overnight: this is a process, not a quick-fix. But the most important thing is getting started. Remember too that you don’t have to do it alone, becoming an expert in all things EDI and never making another mistake again. Instead, lean on established resources– the real experts–which we can help you find. And, crucially, keep showing up for EDI.

Speak to our training team about the right solutions for you, whether that be unconscious bias training, emotional intelligence audits, or an overhaul of your hiring process.

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