Keys To Receiving A Diverse Pool Of Job Applicants

By Gretchen Kernbach on April 29, 2016

Diversifying job applicant pools is more important today than it ever has been. Between all the protests that pin men against women or whites against blacks, gender and race are two sensitive topics in today’s culture.

As a job recruiter, it is vital to attract all kinds of people from different backgrounds. This will bring variety to your company and increase application interest as well.

Notre Dame’s strive to become more diverse.
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According to, “As you establish yourself as a company that appreciates diversity, more candidates may submit their application materials. The diversity strengthens your workforce by providing experience and background knowledge from different perspectives.”

So what steps should you make towards expanding your candidate pool?

First off, make sure your company is committed to an anti-discrimination policy. It defeats the purpose of inviting a more diverse crowd to work for you if they will be harassed at their job. No one wants to work in an unequal environment; those you hire will just quit immediately if they sense they will be treated unfairly because of their ethnic background or sexuality. In order to create change, you must be the first one to implement change.

Teach for America’s 2015 applicant pool.
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The next step is to advertise your company’s stride towards honoring different points of view. According to, “Update your company website and materials to reflect the emphasis on diversity with concrete examples of your existing diversity. This shows potential candidates that you are actually committed to diversity.”

Reach out to different organizations to help you advertise job openings to their members. This could include networking through groups like Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education (, Women in Higher Education (, or The Affirmative Action Register ( Placing ads on their websites will broaden interest shown in your company. said this about faculty searches:

“For faculty searches, write to women and minorities one year prior to their completion of a Ph.D program to inform them of upcoming job openings. Letters should clearly state needs and interests of the program and be followed by telephone calls … write to women and minorities who have just completed their Ph.D programs … consider women and minorities who have performed successfully as lecturers, instructors or research associates in the department and at other institutions.”

Easier options for reaching out to diverse populations involve newspaper ads or assigning colleagues of diverse backgrounds to create their own personal recruiting campaigns. Such colleagues can even submit recommendations for other individuals interested in working. Locate and target diverse publications other than newspapers — for example: trade journals, magazines, radio stations, or neighborhood bulletins.

Just like the first step in generating a diverse pool, when recruiting you must be fair and equal, straying away from stereotypical assumptions. After all, that is what this whole process is fighting against.

Never assume that anyone you hire will feel unwelcome. If you already judge their presence, it will poison your view on the qualifications that really matter. In addition, assuming someone is not serious about their studies because they pursued their degree part-time is an unfair conclusion (especially if that someone is female). Do not consider ruling out a candidate because of their age either. It is biased to think someone of older age is “out of touch” with current technology, or someone of younger age is not experienced enough. It is important to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

Each job position for hire should require minimum qualifications regardless of background. No exceptions should be made for differing ethnicities or genders. Everyone should be treated the same.

Along with the official job description, it is necessary to “include a statement about the company’s commitment to a diverse workplace. Emphasize the need for diverse, qualified candidates” (

Duke University suggests companies make a recruitment plan checklist. It includes four parts: preparation, committee/panel process, selection and conclusion, and evaluate/rank candidates.

Under preparation, suggestions involve establishing recruitment files for each applicant pool ad establishing “diverse committees/interview panels.” It also suggests that each committee is well aware of the company’s hiring objectives and values.

Under committee/panel process, Duke proposes recruiters create interview questions as well as organizing an interview area and schedule. Following that, under selection and conclusion, interviews and reference checks should be conducted. Notes should be taken about each candidate that will be used later to finally assess the positives and negatives.

Finally, under evaluate/rank candidates, finalists are submitted with his or her recruitment file. To find the entire version of Duke’s Sample Recruitment Plan Checklist, click here.

The overall key to receiving a diverse pool of applicants is reaching out to a variety of organizations. You cannot recruit from the same region and expect changes. Stepping out of your comfort zone is the first step to change. And the rest will follow.

By Gretchen Kernbach

Uloop Writer
Virginia Tech

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