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Related article: Recruitment Tips for Building a More Diverse Workplace

The Equal Opportunity Employment regulations, or EEO, are a set of federal laws that prevent discrimination against job applicants on the basis of race, religious beliefs, age, and many other factors. However, having a diverse workforce is about much more than meeting a quota. Having employees of many different backgrounds, with many different skill sets, can actually be advantageous for a company. And for growth industries that are seeing more competition, such as healthcare, recruiting should be about driving top candidates regardless of their cultural background or gender.

The first step in the process of acquiring a more diverse workforce is making a diversity plan. Step back and take a look at who you have working for you right now. Who or what is missing? Try to fill vacant positions from within first, if at all possible. Are certain skills or people underrepresented? Are you a global company? If so, you may want to add a more global scope with new hires. Once you have a solid idea of what you do and don’t have, you can begin the recruiting process. This is when you should also make sure that hiring managers are trained and involved in the recruitment of new employees.

Now is the time to ask if your company culture really promotes diversity. This should be more about meeting EEO regulations. The most important thing to remember is that marketing your company as diverse, just like recruiting new employees, is an ongoing process. Being constantly involved in cultural-diversification of your organization is the only way to show potential hires that you have more than a passing interest in them to fill a quota.

Make the job description more than a description. Regardless of cultural background, a top-tier employee is unlikely to pay much attention to an online job posting if he or she is not compelled by the job or company. Describe the cultural make-up of your organization. Don’t just present a list of necessary skills and requirements for the position; rather, show your potential hires the potential that the job holds. Make them aware of what they will do on a day-to-day basis, and, if they stay with the company, what they have to look forward to.

Show a potential employee what your company is about. Have a clear, concise diversity statement that ties into the vision and strategy of your organization; don’t make it seem like you’re trying to meet a quota. Stand by this diversity statement, and make it prominent on your websites and advertisements. Stress the importance of diversity, both in the actual words, and the way the words are said.

Use recruiting tools that are targeted to minority talent. Online job boards, like, can promote your job openings specifically to diversity audiences. Connect with professional organizations that focus on the demographics of candidates you seek. Join these professional networks to source potential job candidates. Exhibit at career fairs that target a diverse group of candidates looking for jobs. The rising popularity of social networking and websites like LinkedIn provide additional tools to find diverse hires.

Finding a diverse, top-tier employee is only half the battle. The interview process comes next. Be aware that when it comes to desirable employees, they are usually interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them. The point of a job interview should not be simply to assess a potential hire’s competency, but to see if the challenges that you are offering are relevant to previous work, and if the employee’s individual skills, characteristics, and life experience will help him or perform better in the workplace. The candidate must earn the job, and must want the job just as badly as you want to offer it to him or her.

The significance of diversity in the workplace is sometimes overlooked; this means that top-tier hires can get lost in the mix, and their talents and experience get lost as well. It’s imperative to push forward, even after hiring a top-tier employee; don’t just stop at one. Treat recruitment just like anything else: an ongoing, dynamic process.

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