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Posted October 19, 2020 by

10 best practices for hiring diverse college students

Recruiting and retaining diverse talent is top-of-mind for leading organizations, large and small. What has changed this year, due largely to the police killings of George Floyd and others, is why employers are motivated to recruit and retain college students, recent graduates, and others who are diverse.

Diversity hiring used to be about compliance. Now, increasingly, it is about organizations wanting their workforces to be as productive as possible. They’ve finally come to understand that the more diverse their workforces are, the more productive those workforces are.

With the increased emphasis on recruiting diverse college students and recent graduates and then retaining that talent, many organizations are looking for the best practice strategies for diversity recruitment and retention. Here are ten:

  1. Recruit your strategic hires where diversity thrives. For most Fortune 1,000 companies, government agencies, and other employers who hire at scale, a key component to their strategic hiring efforts is their college and university recruiting program. Target and build partnerships with schools, student organizations, and college job search sites like College Recruiter that are able to your desired demographic. If you’re struggling to attract enough black candidates, target black students, including those who attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). But don’t forget about the Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs).
  2. Promote your diversity brand. Do you have programs in place to improve the recruitment and retention of diverse candidates, such as employee resource groups (ERGs)? If so, prominently showcase them on your organization’s career page and social media channels. Do you have a diversity statement from your CEO? Showcase it. If you can’t think of anything like this, build some, showcase, build some more, showcase. Rakuna recommends showcasing these items:
    • Diversity Vision & Statement/ Diversity Commitment
    • Diversity Charter
    • Diversity images
    • Demographics stats
    • Testimonials/ videos interviewing minority employees from all levels
    • Any diversity award/public recognition of your organization’s D&I efforts
    • Pictures from your ERGs’ events and activities
    • Pictures which showcase your organization’s D&I efforts
  3. Partner with professional associations and student groups that foster diversity. Many of these are organized around specific minority groups. Sponsor them, provide mentorship to them, and engage at their events.
  4. Attend or even host your own virtual career events that target minority students.
  5. Leverage or create an employee referral program. Be explicit in communicating with your existing employees that you’re seeking more diverse talent. Those who know potential, diverse candidates will then be more likely to refer them.
  6. Advertise and, better yet, engage with diverse candidates through social media channels. Recruiters who want to recruit truck drivers are often told to go to truck stops and hang out with the truckers. If your target audience is hanging out in Facebook groups, then you should be too. Don’t aggressively pitch your job openings. Be a resource. This is their group, not yours. The group is there to serve them, not you.
  7. Create scholarships and otherwise donate money or other resources that supports diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.
  8. Ask your employee resource groups (ERGs) to spread the word. They can be some of the most powerful ambassadors and often just need to be asked. Many organizations use their ERGs to interview and even hire diverse talent. According to Rakuna, “Ernst & Young used their LGBT ERG to help relocate a gay partner and his spouse to Cleveland from Paris by introducing him and his spouse to members of the local LGBT community.”
  9. Organize events that target diverse students and recent graduates. A highly effective way of accomplishing this is to create a formalized, co-op or internship program.
  10. Use hiring metrics to establish your goals, measure your successes, and make adjustments. There’s a lot of truth to the adage that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Be sure that the metrics you select are not subjective such as, “improve diversity hiring efforts” as two reasonable people could easily differ as to whether your organization accomplished that goal. Instead, use metrics such as:
    • Percentage of diverse candidates at each recruiting stage
    • Percentage of minorities at different levels in your firm
    • Employee satisfaction score in terms of D&I
    • Retention rate among minority employee groups
    • Awards/ recognitions from special interest and advocacy groups for your D&I efforts
    • Percentage of job offers extended to diverse candidates
    • Percentage turnover rate of diversity hires within a year
    • Average diverse applicants’ satisfaction rate (from a survey)
    • Average manager satisfaction score (from a survey) after a diversity hire
    • Average on-the-job performance rating of diversity hires after one year

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Posted October 16, 2020 by

6 steps employers should follow to improve their hiring of diverse college students

Much has been written about why diversity should be important to employers who hire college students and recent graduates for part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level jobs. Much has also been written about tactical ways that employers can hire more diverse students and recent graduates.

Not as much has been written about strategic steps that employers should follow to increase the number of diverse students and recent graduates that they hire. But before we did into that, let us first agree that the goal of hiring more diverse students (or any other demographic) is not circular: it is not to increase diversity hiring. Employers should improve their hiring of diverse students and graduates as it is good for business, regardless of whether it also allows them to reach some compliance goals. As Ideal puts it, the “goal of diversity hiring is to identify and remove potential biases in sourcing, screening, and shortlisting candidates that may be ignoring, turning off, or accidentally discriminating against qualified, diverse candidates.”

  1. Conduct a diversity hiring audit. What potential bottlenecks and discrepancies do you have? Are they at the top of the funnel, meaning you aren’t connecting with enough diverse students? Are they middle of the funnel, meaning you’re screening out too many diverse students? Or are they bottom of the funnel, meaning that you’re presenting your hiring managers with a number of well-qualified, diverse students but they keep hiring others? As part of this process, you’re going to want to honestly assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and risks of your diversity hiring efforts.
  2. Pick one metric to improve upon. You may have heard the expression that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Similarly, it is very difficult to manage what you measure in a variety of ways as some of those metrics might indicate success and others failure. At College Recruiter, we’re big believers in managing by outcomes instead of process. Does it really matter that you increase the number of applications from diverse candidates by 25 percent if the number of hires decreases by 10 percent? If you agree, choose an outcomes-based metric that is objective, meaning that no two reasonable people can disagree as to whether you attained it. A subjective metric would be something like, “Increase the number of diverse hires in STEM-related positions”. Instead, use language such as, “Increase the number of black, females in your engineering group by 25 percent within 12-months”.
  3. Increase the number of diverse students who apply. This step is critical for those whose audit revealed that their top of the funnel (sourcing) efforts were falling short. Re-word your job postings to remove words and phrases which appeal to one demographic and, instead, make them more inclusive. Showcase your diversity to make it easy for students to picture themselves working for you. Be flexible about where you recruit students from. If you’re primarily recruiting from the same schools year after year and failing to recruit enough diverse students, be more inclusive by proactively seeking applicants from other schools. Oh, and ask your current, diverse employees for referrals.
  4. Refine how you screen candidates. Fortunately, diversity has never been an issue for College Recruiter but we still wanted to improve. We recently examined how we had screened candidates for developer positions and decided to try offering to all applicants the opportunity to go through the online assessment as we had read that many diverse candidates are screened out due to their inability to meet requirements that serve, at best, as proxies for their ability to do the job. For example, does a developer really need a four-year degree? What if they have only a two-year degree but ace your assessment? Wouldn’t you want to hire them? We were pleasantly surprised to see that our suspicions were correct: a number of diverse candidates demonstrated their ability to do the job as a result of successfully completing the assessment even though in years past we might not have considered them because we had placed too much emphasis on requirements and preferences that didn’t actually prove that they could or could not do the job. Oh, and we hired a diverse candidate for the developer position. Another way to help ensure that diverse candidates get through the screening process is to use blind hiring techniques like removing their names and addresses from their resumes as that makes it almost impossible for a recruiter or hiring manager to be impacted by their unconscious or even conscious bias against candidates who are diverse.
  5. Remove roadblocks to candidates who are being presented to hiring managers. A lot of organizations insist on recruiters including at least one diverse candidate in the slate of finalists that they present to the hiring manager, but studies show that those candidates are almost never hired when there is only one included in the list of finalists. Instead, include at least two. If you include two females, for example, the odds of hiring one increases 79 times. Not 79 percent…79 times. Even better are the odds for people of color: they’re 194 times as likely to be hired if two or more are included in the list of finalists. Another strategy is to use ranking software that might already live within your ATS to do the shortlisting for you, but be aware that the algorithms used by the software were created by people and so has its own biases.
  6. Repeat by re-evaluating your success against the metric you decided to use and decide whether to use the same metric again or adjust it.

As so well said by Ideal, “Diversity hiring is hiring based on merit with special care taken to ensure procedures are free from biases related to a candidate’s age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and other personal characteristics that are unrelated to their job performance”. It is my hope that your use of the above six strategic steps will help your organization further improve its diversity hiring efforts as the more diverse your workforce is, the more productive your workforce will be.

Posted October 14, 2020 by

Why is diversity so important to employers who want to recruit today’s college students?

A lot of workplace experts have made a lot of money by selling books and delivering presentations on generational differences. Yes, there are differences between the generations but a lot of the so-called differences are actually better explained by what I would call age-appropriate behavior. If your behavior or attitudes change as you age, it is more likely to be a symptom of your age than which generation you’re a part of.

Before we dive headlong into the discussion, let’s be sure that we’re on the same page regarding the definitions of the different generations. The starting and ending birth years are somewhat arbitrary, but generally defined as:

  • Baby Boomers are those born between 1946 and 1965.
  • Generation Xers (also known as Gen X) were born between 1966 and 1976.
  • Millennials (also known as Generation Y, Gen Y, or Echo Boomers) were born between 1977 and 1994.
  • Generation Z were born between 1995-2012. Given that the oldest of these people are now 25-years-old, they comprise the bulk of today’s college students.

I think that most readers would agree that a Baby Boomer is less likely than a Gen Xer to change jobs in order to make an extra dollar an hour and the Gen Xer is less likely than a Millennial and a Millennial is less likely than a Gen Zer. But why? Is the likelihood determined by their birth year or is it more a function of their comparative financial status? In other words, the Boomer is far less likely to change jobs than the Gen Zer for an extra dollar per hour because the dollar an hour means a lot less to the average Boomer than it does to the average Gen Zer. Boomers have been in the workplace for decades and, on average, make a lot more money and have accumulated a lot more wealth than Gen Zers.

One significant difference between generations is how they view diversity in the workplace. A typical Baby Boomer cares a lot less about whether their employer recruits diverse college students and other candidates than does a Gen Zer. We can debate the reasons why, but the impact on the employer’s need to recruit and retain diverse college students, recent graduates, and others is unmistakable.

According to the Pew Research Center, Gen Z is the best educated and most ethnically diverse generation in U.S. history. In addition to being more diverse, more believe that diversity is important. Some 62 percent believe that it is important to society that we increase racial and ethnic diversity. Employers who want to recruit diverse college students, therefore, need to understand the importance of diversity to this cohort and then tailor their recruiting strategy to reflect the views and values of Gen Z, including the very different attitudes they have toward diversity, equity, and inclusion as compared to the attitudes of previous generations.

According to research by Yello, diversity in the workplace is slightly more important to Gen Z than other generations. The importance of diversity increases as we move from generation-to-generation with it being least important to Boomers and most important to Gen Z. Not only does Gen Z talk-the-talk about the importance of employers recruiting and retaining diverse college students and other employees, but they also walk-the-walk. Gen Z is more likely to refuse to work for an employer who isn’t committed to diversity, including a lack of diverse employees involved in the interview process. They’re also more likely to quit if they felt their employer failed to demonstrate a commitment to promoting a diverse workplace.

For many members of the Baby Boomer and even Gen X generations, diversity typically means race and, in some occupational fields, gender. If you inquire further, many of them will also agree that veterans and people with disabilities are also, in most workplaces, diverse. But not to Gen Z. Members of Gen Z, when asked what they consider what types of diversity matter the most name personality as the most important followed by age, race, gender, education, sexual orientation, religion, disabilities, geography, marital status, parental status, and then veterans.

How does an employer demonstrate its commitment to recruiting and retain a diverse workforce? According to Gen Z, the most important factor is a compensation policy that ensures fair and equal pay. Other factors which are important are maternity and paternity benefits, accommodations for people with disabilities, flexible work options, benefits that accommodation employees in same-sex relationships, asking about pronoun preference, diversity training, and then mentorship and leadership development programs for underrepresented minorities.

So, when your organization is advertising its job openings to members of Gen Z or even recruiting on-campus, what are the most effective ways to communicate your organization’s commitment to recruiting and retaining diverse college students? According to Gen Z, the most important is that you have underrepresented people in management. Other important factors to demonstrate your commitment to workplace diversity are underrepresented people in your C-suite and other executive positions, a statement of commitment to diversity on your website or other publications, partnerships with student and professional diversity organizations, corporate citizenship and social impact initiatives, employee resource groups or mentorship programs, recognition from diversity organizations, positive social media posts from employees, and recognition of your diversity efforts by trade publications.

In summary, Yello’s research recommends that employers who want to successfully recruit and retain Gen Z students and recent graduates do the following:

  • Enhance diversity at your workplace – it means a lot to Generation Z and can even be the difference between whether one chooses to work for your organization or stay. 
  • Make sure there is diversity among the people in your recruiting, interviewing and hiring processes. 
  • Consider whether acquired traits – like personality and education – should be added to your definition of a diverse workforce. 
  • Evaluate whether your culture values individuality and truly allows your employees to be themselves at work.
  • Commit to and report progress on achieving pay equity.
  • Offer family-friendly benefits and accommodations. 
  • Include job boards as part of your sourcing options to reach Gen Z.

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Posted October 12, 2020 by

12 tips for hiring more diverse college students

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed by the Minneapolis Police Department only miles from my home in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His crime? Allegedly using a counterfeit bill, although if he was unaware that the bill was counterfeit then he didn’t even commit a crime.

Since Floyd’s killing, most of the large corporations in the country have placed greater emphasis on their recruitment and retention of diverse college students and recent graduates. They’re trying to make their workplaces more equitable and inclusive, and that’s all great. Some question whether these actions are merely “feel good” and therefore foolish, but the data shows very, very good reasons for employers to improve their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices. As stated by Recruitee:

So, now that you’re (hopefully) convinced that it is good for business to recruit more diverse college students, let’s look at some ways to make that happen:

  1. Be explicit in your job posting ads that you welcome applications from diverse candidates. “Let your target candidates know that you’re seeking them out, and explain why your company would make a great fit.”
  2. Use niche job boards and other sources where the diverse candidates you want congregate. If you want to hire more female STEM workers, then participate the many online and offline groups dedicated to those people. Don’t just source there. Engage. Plant seeds.
  3. Leverage your existing diverse employees by asking them to refer their friends and family. Ask them to share your job posting ads with their networks and be explicit when you do so about why you’re doing so. Oh, and paying for referrals wouldn’t hurt either.
  4. Offer internships to diverse students. Several decades ago, few college students had internships before they graduated. Now, most do. If you want to hire the best college grads, you often first need to hire them as interns. If you’re not hiring Black engineers for your internship programs, you’re unlikely to be able to hire Black engineers for your entry-level roles.
  5. Organically create an authentic employer brand that values diversity, promotes equity, and is inclusive. Too many employers talk-the-talk about DEI. Few walk-the-walk. In other words, just saying that you care about diversity doesn’t mean that you do. If you’re taking a photo of your employees and you’re trying to make sure that your diverse candidates are easily seen in the photo, then you’re unlikely to have a diverse workforce. Diversity is not separate from all of your other recruitment and retention practices. It is a part of all of them.
  6. Proactively implement company policies that appeal to candidates who are diverse, whether they’re diverse due to their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, military service, disabilities, socioeconomic background, education, or other factors. Are you struggling to recruit and retain Muslim workers? If so, would it make sense to find out if there are ways that you can make your workplace more welcoming, such as allocating a place they can pray during the day and perhaps have a separate refrigerator so their food doesn’t come into contact with pork?
  7. Remove all personal information from resumes before they’re screened. Information like names, schools, dates of birth, and addresses can all be used consciously or unconsciously to discriminate against certain groups of candidates.
  8. Interview candidates by text instead of in-person or video to further ensure that the hiring process is blind. Few organizations will be able to implement such blind interviewing practices all the way to the point of hire, but few should be unable to do so at the screening stage.
  9. Use technology to analyze resumes for skills and experience to remove the inevitable bias that humans have. Be aware, however, that there is no such thing as unbiased technology as it is all created by humans.
  10. Rethink your preferences and qualifications. Does your customer service representative really need a four-year degree? Do you really need to hire students from certain schools or even certain majors? More and more of College Recruiter’s employer customers are becoming school and even major agnostic, partly to improve their diversity hiring practices but also because they’re looking at their workforce productivity data and seeing that there is a poor and sometimes negative correlation between the perceived quality of the school and major and the quality of the employee’s work, especially when tenure is factored in.
  11. Use the screening and assessment tools built into your ATS both to exclude candidates who are poorly qualified as well as do a better job of including candidates who are well qualified. We’re now having all applicants — including those who appear to be poorly qualified — go through the same online assessment and we’re finding that some candidates who aren’t terribly impressive on paper are scoring the best. These candidates are often diverse and didn’t go to the fancy schools or even have the degrees that we’ve become accustomed to. Simply by focusing on their demonstrated ability to do the job instead of proxies like what school they went to has allowed us to hire candidates who are more diverse and productive once on the job.
  12. Have two, three, or more, qualified diverse candidates in any shortlist of potential applicants. If you’re hiring a software engineer and have five finalists with only one being female, chances are the hiring manager will choose a man. If two of the finalists are female, the chances of one of them being hired increase exponentially.

Posted October 05, 2020 by

To hire more diverse college students and recent grads, be vocal on social issues on social media

For years, career experts have been counseling students to either stay off of social media (those days, thankfully, are now long ago) or to be careful to clean up their digital footprints.

Less attention has been paid to the value of posting content to social media, whether the person sharing is doing so on behalf of themselves and is a candidate or if they’re doing so on behalf of their employer. Interestingly, sharing controversial content — what some might call dirt — to blogs, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media sites might actually be of benefit to employers.

Max Harland, CEO of Dentaly, describes himself as hands-on with his company’s human resource endeavors. He advocates for employers to be vocal on social issues on social media if they want to hire more diverse college students and recent graduates.

Dentaly.org was founded in 2014. According to its website, its founding was in “response to the lack of reliable information about the world of oral health on the internet.” It believes “that access to quality information is essential to help people understand and improve their oral health, especially as dental problems are often overlooked on general medical sites.”

Max correctly states that, “social issues are a common topic in social media.” But then he veers onto a path that many might consider to be controversial but which I believe to be spot on. “Companies should proactively voice their support to specific causes if it resonates with their company’s stand on the subject. People, especially the younger generation, love supporting organizations that share the same sentiments as them.  As such, being open about social issues is one way of attracting a particular customer demographic.”

Max cautions, however, that “brands should only be genuinely supporting a movement and not use it as a marketing tactic to boost sales. Although the audience might not know it initially, people can dig up inconsistencies and notice the insincerity sooner or later, subsequently ruining the company brand reputation.”

If authenticity and a willingness to be controversial is consistent with your brand, then weigh in on social issues. Expect to make a few enemies, but also expect to make a lot of friends and be better positioned to succeed in your efforts to recruit more diverse college students. More importantly, at least to me, is to leave this world a better place than how you found it. Maximizing the value you deliver to your shareholders without regard to the value you deliver to your employees, customers, vendors, and community isn’t going to leave this world a better place, unless the world cares more about money than anything else. Some do but, thankfully, most don’t.

Posted October 02, 2020 by

Interview expert’s tips for how to improve the recruiting and retention of diverse students

— Guest article by Portia Kibble Smith, Diversity and Inclusion Lead for Karat, which helps large tech organizations create interviewing programs that are both inclusive and predictive of on-the-job success.

  1. Cast a more inclusive net. Especially for skills-based recruiting, like hiring software engineers, ditch the resume screen that typically filter out candidates who didn’t graduate from a top-10 CS school. Resume screens often reinforce pedigree bias and will limit your diversity to the demographics of whatever school you’re filtering for. Additionally, you can open up your pipeline to more diverse college students and other candidates by starting with a competency-based assessment or coding challenge to identify interview candidates from outside your traditional recruiting networks.
  2. Make sure you have an inclusive interview loop. Leading industry experts recommend a minimum 30% baseline when it comes to diverse representation on interview panels. Having a diverse group of interviewers, candidates are able to see someone who looks like them and they see it as a place they’ll fit in. It also lets more employees feel like they have input on who is coming into the organization, which helps with retention and loyalty.
  3. Don’t treat diversity recruiting as a separate program. Companies need to stop treating how they hire Black and Brown engineers like it’s a different process. It can come across as disingenuous. Make sure to put the same effort, care, and strategy that you use to cultivate relationships with professors and students at Stanford into your programs at Howard or Morehouse, and you’ll see the results.

Posted October 01, 2020 by

3 ways employers improve their recruitment and retention of diverse students and recent graduates

Guest article by Randy Moore, COO, COOP Careers, a nonprofit focused on overcoming underemployment through digital skills and peer connections.

1. Employee referral programs may sound great, in theory, but they actually encourage companies to hire people who look the same and come from similar backgrounds. How many times have we seen internal company communications that offer monetary gain for an employee referral? Well, these programs often encourage people to refer from within their networks, which, in many cases, result in the promotion of a homogenous workforce. 

Therefore, let’s switch the methodology; the recruiting “bonus” should truly be the intrinsic value the company attains for recruiting a pool of diverse college students and other candidates, and we can only achieve that through disrupting current recruiting/hiring practices and developing (or redefining) practices that truly promote and engage diversity. We know that this also results in a positive bottom-line impact for employers. 

2. Recruiters need to broaden their focus from specific, demonstrated experiences/hard skills to competencies and life experiences when hiring. Why? Oftentimes diverse candidates aren’t able to complete prior internships–many of which are unpaid–or work experiences in the field(s) they’re applying to. Instead, they worked 2-3 jobs throughout college to satisfy a range of financial obligations for themselves and their families. 

We should instead ask about the range of skills and competencies that they’ve acquired from those jobs–and the dynamic management skills demonstrated from completing work and school committments. These are the competencies needed in many of our companies. 

If we think critically about this, those experiences easily translate into project management, customer service, punctuality–and many other competencies demonstrated most by successful employees. There is a critical mindshift needed; lack of specific hard skills doesn’t mean that diverse talent is any less qualified — quite the contrary. 

Recent graduates frequently say they learned the most on the job versus during their education, and we know their assumptions are aligned with the thinking of the very successful Swiss apprenticeship model. We need to listen. 

Additionally, we must also account for the many other employment and life skills that they’ve learned throughout their K-16 experiences. How are we accounting for those? The question often asked by employers is “What skills do I need them to know?” As opposed to “What type of employee does my company need?” Employers should take a good, hard look at their job descriptions.   

3. While there are many innovative postsecondary, community-based, and employer models addressing the college-to-career gap, we know that there is much work to do. It’s important that recruiters meet diverse college students and other candidates where they are geographically and situationally. 

Talent is not only at elite institutions. Recruiters should meet the diverse candidates where they are, either virtually or physically. HBCU and urban (city/state) colleges are great places to meet amazingly qualified candidates. Many of these students are the first in their families to attend college and have worked several jobs while completing their credentials; they are an embodiment of grit, agency, talent and resilience. These should be the qualities that employers recognize and value in their employees. 

Think about the types of lived experiences and backgrounds the candidates bring to the role and to your workplace, and how they may utilize these experiences to solve organizational problems. Think about the types of questions they may pose or innovative ideas that you may have never fathomed. It’s great when this happens — just make sure you’re prepared to recognize its importance and positive impact to your company. Diversity matters. It should be intentional. And employers can (and should) make an intentional shift in their practices.

Posted September 30, 2020 by

3 tips for recruiting diverse college students and recent grads

A lot has changed in the world this year due to COVID. A lot has changed in how employers are recruiting, including their desire to improve their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. A lot has also changed in how those employers approach hiring students and recent graduates, as COVID has made it almost impossible to engage or interview on-campus and more employers want to hire more students and recent graduates who are diverse.

Heather Deyrieux, the HR Florida State Council President, recently shared three tips with us for how employers can hire more diverse college students and recent graduates:

  1. Feature your diverse employees in your recruitment efforts. Use photos and quotes for social media, capture their personalities in video testimonials, and engage them in your job fairs and community outreach. Potential candidates want to be able to see themselves (or people like them) at your organization. 
  2. Take advantage of our COVID climate by recruiting at more schools – virtually. If travel to HBCUs and other schools across the country were not in your budget, see if they are hosting virtual job fairs as a way to connect with new talent pools. 
  3. Inclusion is key! Once your interns or new hires join your organization, make sure they are included – in every sense of the word. Make introductions in and out of the department, get them involved in your Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) or other committees, value their opinions, personal journey and insights. If you can, put their ideas into action so they can see the impact they have made.
Posted September 29, 2020 by

How do you recruit more diverse students and recent grads? Start by recruiting from more colleges.

For decades, most college students and recent graduates have been hired into their first jobs by large employers.

Those employers have typically talked about the importance of recruiting diverse college students and other candidates and some also hired a large percentage who were diverse, but almost none both hired and retained diverse candidates. This year, largely because of the killing of George Floyd, we’re seeing more employers care more about their diversity recruiting AND retention efforts. They see it is the right thing to do and also makes business sense to be more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. Yet few know how to do so.

Phyllis Mooney, Executive Director of Career Services at Pace University, believes that if companies are serious about recruiting diverse talent, they can start by recruiting from a wider range of universities. According to Mooney, four strategies can help employers of college and university students and recent graduates hire and then retain a more diverse talent pool:

  • Early engagement, very early engagement – Start building your brand with diverse student talent before they even get to college campuses.  Speak to the students about the opportunities in your organization, and what it takes to get in the most coveted and competitive spots.  Educate, inspire, and plant the seeds…even if COVID makes that more difficult!  For example, Pace hosted a virtual event in mid-July with EY targeting incoming first-year students and rising second-year students. The theme was why students should choose a career in accounting. The purpose of the event was to attract more talent to accounting while students were still undecided. In short, EY invested in its community by expanding the number of students choosing accounting, even though only some of those accounting students would choose EY.
  • Sell your company – Top employers come to campus with the attitude that all students want to work for them and therefore the students need to sell themselves in a way that makes them stand out from all the others.  If great, diverse talent is what you are after, try flipping your thinking. Pitch your brand and programs to students. Tell them why they should choose your company over others. Follow up with the students in a way you traditionally expect them to follow up with you.
  • Send more employees to campus – Along with your HR representatives, send more people from your ERGs to campus to meet students.  In addition to the technical questions, students will have many questions about the company culture, and want to figure out if they fit in.  Speaking to someone who will be able to relate to them, makes a huge difference.  
  • Mentorship is critical for retention purposes – Invest in building a mentorship program. Choose your company mentors carefully, and train them to be successful at it.