Are you in the Know with Diversity Recruiting?

by Michelle (Shelly) Wallace Johnson

diversity recruiting

It is a known fact that diversity recruiting has been a high priority amongst most talent acquisition professionals and organizations. Many people will agree that diversity is good for business. Not only bringing fresh ideas, but various perspectives as well.

According to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program’s website, “OFCCP holds those who do business with the federal government—contractors and subcontractors—responsible for complying with the legal requirement to take affirmative action and not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran. In addition, contractors and subcontractors are prohibited from discharging or otherwise discriminating against applicants or employees who inquire about, discuss or disclose their compensation or that of others, subject to certain limitations.”

Gender discrimination has been a prominent issue for many years. Women have not occupied a large portion of the workforce. Now, according to the Pew Research Center, “The U.S. workforce overall is majority male by a narrow margin – 53% of all workers were male in 2017, while 47% were female. But the gender composition of many occupations varies markedly from the overall distribution.”

Don't Get Sued for Screening Candidates Online! Follow These Policy Tips

Legal Ramifications

What types of legal issues are there? One issue often overlooked is overcompensating to make up for past discrimination and a lack of diversity, resulting in reverse discrimination. Discriminating against a male, specifically a white male, to increase a diversity quota the organization has created can lead to legal ramifications. Reverse discrimination is just as illegal as discrimination against a person because of their gender or race.

For example, a lawsuit against Google was filed after an employee, James Damore, was fired. The Wall Street Journal states, “Mr. Damore and a co-worker sued, accusing Google of being a hostile workplace for employees with conservative views and alleging it unfairly favors women and certain minorities when hiring and promoting.”

Carre Corbin, Director of Employer Brand at Dell, shared how she stays compliant with the OFCCP and Affirmative Action is by not having quotas. Corbin stated by “understanding the diversity gaps and reporting those gaps instead of quotas.”

Where to start?

As organizations ramp up their diversity, many do not know where to start. Corbin suggests

  • Create the ‘why’ for the C-suite
  • Build partnerships with people in the organization that have access to the data
  • Understand the data
  • Present a compelling business plan based on the ‘why’

Whether a recruiter, hiring manager, or CEO, understanding where the gaps are in the organization is the number one place to start. Utilize different departments to gather data, not just human resources.

Once it has been determined where the organization is lacking in diversity it is time to look at the applicants. Are there only certain races applying for certain positions? Are the executive level openings comprised of only male applicants? The metrics can assist in answering these questions. Take a look at the job ads and your marketing material. Is it welcoming to all?

Corbin suggests with diversity recruiting you want to “reduce the barrier to entry.”

According to Lori Sylvia, Founder and CEO of Rally Recruitment Marketing, when creating a recruitment plan for diversity you should “Set goals, make them public and hold people accountable for achieving those goals.”


A few of the metrics to be taken into consideration are:

  • Application numbers: are you receiving 200 applications per position or ten?
  • Demographics of the applicants: are they half male, half female?
  • Out of the number of applications, how many are invited to interview?

If your organization is an affirmative action employer then you will have this data from the candidates application.


Another avenue to staying compliant and learning how to increase diversity, amongst other topics, is to attend the Social Recruiting Strategies Conference in San Francisco on January 30, 2019. Carrie Corbin and Lori Sylvia are two of the speakers at this conference as well!

Staying on top of current recruiting trends, technology, and tools are all part of how organizations attract top candidates and grow to become more diverse. The SRSC is an interactive workshop conference that provides hands-on knowledge to leave with and start implementing in your organization today.

Recommended: 8 Ways to Close the Gender Gap

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