Having a plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) is essential in today’s workplace. Focusing on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the recruiting process helps attract top candidates and builds a dynamic team. A diversity of experience, background and thought strengthens an organization and promotes innovative thoughts. During the recruiting process, candidates want to hear more than just what the job entails. They really want to learn about the company culture and what is important to the organization's leadership. Students are attracted to companies that share more about their DE&I efforts during the recruiting process. It is important to have a plan and actions in place so your organization can successfully incorporate information about your DE&I efforts before you start a campus recruiting cycle.
The McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin offers degree programs such as the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Master of Professional Accounting (MPA) and Master of Business Administration (MBA). Master of Science programs include finance (MSF), marketing (MSM), business analytics (MSBA), information technology management (MSITM), and technology commercialization (MSTC). McCombs has a diverse student population with a strong interest in DE&I involvement and initiatives. Below are some examples of how your organization can improve your recruiting strategy and be inclusive of DE&I throughout the campus recruiting process.
One way to recruit diverse talent is through Leadership Development programs. More and more companies are offering these programs over the course of 1-2 days to target students who want to learn about various career paths and industries before the companies officially start recruiting. It is a great way to introduce students to your company, showcase available opportunities and share DE&I initiatives or employee resource groups you offer. In addition to building your talent pipeline, some of these programs are open for all to attend, but are often targeted toward women and underrepresented minorities.
In campus recruiting, whom you send to campus is crucial. Students know the people they meet with during the recruiting process are a representation of your organization, and they are looking for representation and individuals they can relate to. When looking at potential employers, they are asking themselves, “Can I see myself working here?” “Would I fit in with this company culture?” “Are women and underrepresented minorities involved in the hiring process to show their voices and opinions are valued?” Students also relate more to alumni or representatives who are recent graduates. Being mindful and strategic about whom you send to conduct information sessions, career fairs, interviews and other events is key when planning your campus engagements.
If your company has a strong value of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, show this throughout your entire recruiting process. In order to reduce any biases in the interviewing process, add structure to your system and have a standard interview process and questions for all applicants. To avoid any unconscious biases in job postings, run your descriptions through a gender decoder and make changes as needed. This will help ensure you don’t lose applicants at their first glance and to have equal percentages of masculine/feminine language. Focus on hiring based on transferrable skills and seeking candidates who are looking to grow from other nontraditional backgrounds and industries. This will naturally diversify your workforce and can help minimize turnover. You can also provide candidates with feedback after the interviews so those with fewer resources or nontraditional backgrounds will know what steps to take in order to improve and succeed.
Lastly, participating in Diversity Programming and Events will help you get engaged and connected with student populations to grow your pipeline. Students are able to get involved through numerous student organizations targeted by demographics or participate in semester-long diversity programs through McCombs Career Management. There are many opportunities to get involved with the McCombs student population, from connecting with student organizations to getting involved in formalized diversity programs across McCombs. The McCombs School of Business has many student organizations for students to join, and we have diversity programming at the BBA and MBA levels including the BBA Women’s Council, McCombs Diversity Council, Target Your Future, and the MBA Diversity Panel to name a few. If you are looking to connect with students to support your DE&I initiatives, we are happy to connect with you to help with your recruiting strategy — whether you are looking to connect with veterans, women, first-generation college students and/or underrepresented minority business students. Partnering with a student organization or sponsoring a Career Management diversity program gives students early exposure to your company and is another opportunity to share your DE&I initiatives and goals.
No matter your starting point, the actions you take today will mold the future of your organization and bring you closer to your goals. Build your pipeline and put energy and effort into engaging the talent pool you want to target. In addition, put in work to see where they are networking and spending their time. It will not happen overnight, so keep showing up and be genuine and open-minded in your efforts. Eventually, you can turn your Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts into hiring outcomes.
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