10 campus recruitment best practices to increase candidate diversity

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) refers to the set of practices, policies and strategies adopted by an organisation to ensure that its workplace employs diverse teams that mirror the society within which it operates. Organisations now acknowledge that D&I is  not just “good -to-haves” nor are they about societal justice. These policies actually benefit the long-term productivity and resilience of the business. They result in:

  • Higher revenue growth
  • Greater readiness to innovate
  • Increased ability to recruit a diverse talent pool
  • Better employee retention

It is no wonder that organisations are focussed on changing their hiring practices to be more diverse. This is particularly significant when it comes to campus recruitment, where  Generation Z enters the workforce.

Generation Z, often forms opinions about a potential employer based on the company’s ethical practices and D&I policies. Diversity and Inclusion is not just a passing fad but a strongly held belief for this generation of digital natives. So, it stands to reason that your  campus recruitment strategies should prioritise D&I as a key deciding factor.

Let’s take a look at  some of the best practices you could employ to increase candidate diversity.

      1. Position your employer brand as one that fosters D&I to students/campuses

Make sure that your D&I policies are highlighted in your campus recruitment drive. When a student or graduate visits your website or checks out your social media pages, D&I should be front and centre. A diversity statement from your CEO, information about your diversity chapter, diversity initiatives by the company and demographic stats will help to enhance your employer brand.

       2. Enhance diversity in candidate screening 

Deploy an AI powered ATS that can be programmed to screen candidates based on keywords that point to skills and experience. By default, this removes the possibility of any sort of bias coming into play. If your pool of candidates is of a diverse nature, then candidate screening with an impartial ATS guarantees that the diversity will remain intact after screening too.

      3. Promote diversity while shortlisting and hiring

A popular method used nowadays to counter bias is to conduct blind interviews.  This method makes use of blind resumes, where  candidates’ information, especially those that could result in bias, such as name, age, sex, or race are blacked out. A hiring team can then perform blind interviews through text or a compliant recruitment platform to continue maintaining the anonymity of the candidate. Candidates’ responses can be recorded and attached to the respective profiles in a good ATS. Some AI-powered recruitment platforms use chatbots to conduct the initial interviews, thus completely eliminating bias.

      4. Organise events that target diverse students 

Sponsor events and internship programmes that will attract diverse groups of students. Create formal programmes for underrepresented students. Such events should be part of their long term hiring strategy. It would be more effective if such events are conducted at regular intervals.

      5. Look for talent in the right places

There are many local communities or online platforms that encourage a certain category of underrepresented students.  For example, a group dedicated to women in technology. Find ways to connect with such communities and groups. Look for diverse talent in such places.  Partner with multicultural professional associations and student groups.

10 campus recruitment best practices to increase candidate diversity

      6. Special referral policies for diverse employees

Create a diverse candidate referral programme to give your diversity recruitment a boost. Your diverse employees will most probably have a network of friends or acquaintances. You should be able to tap into this network for quality candidates.

      7. Recruit from targetted virtual career fairs 

Virtual career fairs that promote  diverse groups like women and students with disabilities can help you achieve your D&I objectives.

       8. Use the right metrics to monitor your diversity recruiting efforts

Your success most often depends on how you decide to measure your goals. A vague yardstick like, ‘improve diversity and inclusion in the next 12 months’ will not get much done.

Here are some critical metrics that you can look for:

      • Percentage of diverse candidates at each stage of the recruitment process
      • Percentage of minorities at the management level
      • Employee satisfaction score in terms of D&I
      • Awards/recognitions from special interest groups for your D&I efforts
      • turnover rate in percentage of diversity hires within a year

       9. Demonstrate diversity in all candidate interactions

Make diversity and inclusion your top story. Build awareness through success stories from marginalised groups in your social media campaigns. Never miss an opportunity to start a conversation about diversity in all your interactions.

      10. Be accessible in all forms

It is natural to assume that virtual touch points and interactions are enough to attract and engage students and graduates in this post-pandemic era. It is equally important to be accessible through virtual applications via your ATS. You can host virtual career fairs and networking sessions to increase your online touch points. However, it is critical to continue to be available for in person interactions on campus.

It is crucial to keep diversity and inclusion as one of your main conversation points with students and graduates. Your ability to hire the best talent out there and build a diverse community hinges on these dialogues.