Diversity Recruiting

The Ultimate Diversity Recruiting Guide


At this point, diversity recruiting has moved beyond being an industry buzzword—it’s practically par for the course if you want to be competitive in today’s talent market. Starting with the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the concept of diversity within Corporate America has seen a meteoric rise in popularity, especially among newer generations, with 87% of Gen Z workers saying D&I is “very important” when choosing an employer.

Despite this rise, many organizations out there are still struggling to implement any meaningful changes that result in real increases in talent from underrepresented groups (URGs) in their workforce, which is understandable given that this is a complex issue without one specific solution. In Gem’s latest Recruiting Trends Report, we surveyed more than 500 Talent Acquisition (TA) professionals and found that diversity hiring ranked as teams’ number one priority for 2022. Still, teams were (and still are) struggling to make progress on diversity goals—citing issues ranging from finding diverse talent (57%) to tracking diversity (18%) and even retaining diverse talent once they’re onboarded (13%).

On top of this, TA teams face unprecedented challenges as we navigate an unpredictable economy, hiring freezes, layoffs, etc. In light of this, it can often be tough to get buy-in from key stakeholders, and it can feel like an overwhelming task to implement company-wide changes, but that’s ok—we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about recruiting a more diverse, equitable, and resilient workforce. 

What is diversity?

Before we address how to improve your diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEI&B) recruiting efforts, let’s first talk about how we define “diversity.” We’ll be the first to admit that diversity is a broad topic, but in the context of talent acquisition, diversity refers to the range of experiences, backgrounds, values, and perspectives within a given group. Some of the dimensions of diversity include (but aren’t limited to): 

  • Race/ethnicity
  • Disabilities/special needs
  • Veteran status
  • Socioeconomic background
  • Age
  • Educational experiences
  • Gender identity and expression
  • Skill sets
  • Sexual orientation
  • Neurodiversity

The problem with “diversity recruiting” 

While we wholeheartedly support what diversity recruiting represents, we find the term “diversity recruiting” somewhat problematic, and here’s why: 

Diversity recruiting is often used to mean recruiting underrepresented groups or increasing diversity in the hiring pipeline.

And there’s nothing wrong with that—we believe it’s critical! However, the term “diversity recruiting” is reminiscent of traditionally less inclusive terminology like “diverse talent” or “diversity hire.” These terms have negative connotations and can insinuate that a person was hired due to their “diversity” and not their qualifications for a role.

Instead of diversity recruiting, we refer to it as “inclusive recruiting.” 

“Technically, diversity recruiting is what I would consider inclusive recruiting–ensuring that one's recruiting process is fair and intentional in mitigating the bias that may reduce representation in the hiring funnel.” – Sheilesha Willis, DEI&B Director at Gem

Inclusive recruiting is about expanding one's perspective and providing a welcoming and fair process for candidates that creates a bidirectional evaluation of role and value-alignment between candidate and company.

Inclusive recruiting aims to increase the pool of qualified talent by debugging the hiring process (sourcing, interviewing, and selection) and ensuring that the process is fair, equitable, and structured to enable all candidates to show up as their best selves.

It’s important to note that diversity recruiting (i.e., inclusive recruiting) does not mean ignoring viable candidates from traditionally majority groups (ex: white males). Instead, this process focuses on taking steps to ensure that all potential candidates have an equal opportunity in your hiring process. This involves actions like: 

  • Removing conscious and unconscious biases in the interview process 
  • Encouraging more applications from talent from URGs
  • Building job descriptions with inclusive language
  • Expanding your candidate search outside of traditional talent hubs