With 2023 fresh and open like a blank page, hiring managers are lining up outside your door to fill headcounts. Despite a hiccup of a recession in the U.S. and abroad, the labor market is still tight.
A report from the Conference Board states, “recruitment and retention difficulties will not disappear, with the unemployment rate projected to remain relatively low. Once the U.S. economy starts growing again, severe labor shortages could soon reappear.”
But you know this, you’re an HR professional and in addition to hiring great people, you want a diverse workforce. But, despite your expertise and best intentions, you may be turning off the people you most want to interview.
Are your job ads accidentally gender biased?
All employee and company interactions are based on clear communication. That cliché, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, holds true for job advertisements, too.
In 2010, researchers from the University of Waterloo and Duke University published a paper in The American Psychological Association, “Evidence That Gendered Wording in Job Advertisements Exists and Sustains Gender Inequality.”
The researchers found that ads written with masculine words attracted more male applicants, and feminine words attracted more female applicants. This study didn’t include non-binary applicants, yet lessons can still be learned.
Are your hiring managers asking for more than they need?
Everyone is looking for a unicorn employee who has all the education, certifications, experience, tech, creative, communication, and leadership skills of a Fortune 500 CEO.
Hiring managers deliver lengthy qualifications lists with requests for their perfect next hire. Yet, most managers would be happy with an employee who met key job functions, and could be trained on a new piece of tech and coached in other areas. Additionally, a solid employee with room for growth may also be more affordable.
Sheryl Sandberg’s 2013 book, Lean In spoke about the problem that women only apply for jobs they feel 100% qualified for. This anecdote has been widely debated. The UK-based The Behavioural Insights Team did some research on this idea and found there is some truth.
HR and hiring managers need to communicate must-have needs versus nice-to-have needs and consider that a wider pool of candidates will yield better results.
Are you holding hiring events in the right places?
Job fairs and university hiring events are a quick way to develop your company’s presence and brand in your community. Before you pack your booth and head to the next conference center or university, consider the demographic of the community.
There are 107 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across the U.S. educating 228K students. Are you holding events at these schools for students and community members?
There are 935 public community colleges and 35 tribal community colleges in the U.S. Are you holding events at these schools?
Community colleges are an affordable education option for students, many of whom are first-generation college students, job changers and immigrants with skills who need to recertify or improve their language. By communicating your hiring needs to school career counselors, you can source a trained and diverse workforce.
Communication is the heart of strong companies. By examining hiring language and how the company brand is presented through job ads and where those ads are seen, companies can increase their employee pipeline, improve their relationship with the community, and create a word-of-mouth network that brings people to their door.