4 Tips for Attracting Underrepresented Candidates

ThinkstockPhotos-483321645The stats tell it all: Nearly half of all stay-at-home mothers report that they would like to work at least part-time. A staggering 90 percent of military spouses report being underemployed. And about 65 percent of Boomers plan to work after age 65 — or don’t plan to retire at all.

As a hiring manager, you want to ensure that you have the strongest workforce possible. One way to achieve that is by having a mix of candidates from various backgrounds, each bringing their own unique set of talents and experiences to the table. Despite your best efforts, though, you might be missing out on many underrepresented job candidates, such as people with disabilities, Boomers, Millennials, military spouses, stay-at-home parents, and even caregivers.

The job candidates above are all equally qualified to work, but you need to know what they’re looking for in terms of work options and where to find them. Here is how you can attract underrepresented job candidates — in four simple steps.

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Advertise diversity on your company’s website. It’s not enough that your company has a diverse workforce — you need to advertise this information or else potential job candidates won’t know it exists. You can start by putting your company’s diverse hiring practices on the company’s website, either on the About Us page or on the jobs page. Highlight how diversity is evident throughout the company’s hierarchy, from entry-level positions to managerial jobs, to show potential employees that your company is serious about hiring all types of job candidates.

Offer work flexibility. By far, one of the greatest ways to attract top-tier talent is by offering work flexibility. Currently, one in five U.S. workers works remotely, and that number is rising. For potential employees who are all qualified to work but need the ability to work from home, offering flexible work options (such as remote work, contract jobs, freelance gigs, etc.) can help strengthen your workforce. Flexibility in the workplace has been shown to consistently be a win/win for both employer and employee. For the employer, it means reduced operating costs as well as a decrease in employee turnover. For the employee, it equals being able to continue working despite any personal challenges, which results in a more productive—and loyal—worker.

Use keywords in job descriptions. For many job candidates, a job description can be like trying to decipher a code. So take the guesswork out of the posting by clearly stating if the job can be done from home. You can use words such as “telecommuting,” “remote job,” or “virtual position” to help job candidates understand that it is a position that can be done from a home office. (But keep in mind that the phrase “work from home” is often associated with job scams, so stay away from using those words.)

Recruit where the diverse candidates are. Job seekers who require a position that will allow them to work remotely are not going to be on traditional job search sites. That’s why it’s important to go where hard-to-reach job candidates already are. For example, you can try posting positions not only on your company’s site, but on niche job boards (such as FlexJobs), where job seekers know they can find positions that offer workplace flexibility. You can even approach professional associations that cater to specific segments of the population (such as Boomers, caregivers, or military spouses) who are looking for flexible work options.

By broadening your hiring practices to include job candidates who are not being served, employers stand to not only make their workplace stronger and more diversified, but also attract top-tier talent from all walks of life—and from all over the world.

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Sara Sutton Fell

Sara Sutton Fell
Sara Sutton Fell is the CEO and founder of FlexJobs, an career website for telecommuting, flexible, freelance and part-time job listings, the 1 Million for Work Flexibility initiative, and remote.co.

Sara Sutton Fell

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