Workplaces with the Best and Worst Diversity Hiring Practices

By Ruchika Tulshyan

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In theory, a commitment towards diversity in the workplace is a gold standard that many organizations strive for. In practice, however, many managers use outdated hiring strategies that result in the same types of employees receiving offers over and over again. In corporate America, this usually translates to an overrepresentation of white men obtaining these jobs, particularly at leadership levels.

In corporate America, this usually translates to an overrepresentation of white men obtaining these jobs, particularly at leadership levels.

If you’re a jobseeker who values a diverse workplace, learn the best and worst hiring practices to look out for. Good practices result in the hiring of employees from different demographics, and who are reflective of the communities the organization serves. Bad diversity hiring practices result in a homogenous work culture. If you’re looking for companies that value diversity and inclusion, you should assess each one’s hiring practices.

Best Practices

1. Blind recruitment strategies. Diversity-conscious organizations often review resumes with all identifiable personal information removed from them – such as name, age, and gender. Growing research shows hiring managers can be biased against hiring a candidate when they see ethnic sounding names or identifiably female names on a resume.

One study found applicants with an African American-sounding name had to send out 15 resumes for a callback, compared with white candidates who had to send out their resumes 10 times per callback.

By hiding identifying information, such as names, hiring managers are more likely to judge candidates equally on merit, rather than factors out of their control. More women and people of color are likely to be hired this way. Organizations such as Deloitte and HSBC are known to use blind recruitment to diversify hiring.

2. Job listings use inclusive words. Look out for inclusive words in job listings, like “collaborative” and “learning opportunities.” Women are less likely to apply for jobs that seek “rockstars,” “ninjas” or “geniuses.”

Instead, inclusive organizations use words like “dedicated,” “responsible” and “conscientious” to draw more female candidates, especially as using these words attract more women candidates, and don’t discourage men from applying. Companies like Expedia, Cisco, and Twitter use Textio, a service that helps ensure that job descriptions are unbiased.

3. You’re interviewed by a diverse panel. One of the best ways to find out if an organization values diversity in the workplace is if your interview loops consist of employees from diverse backgrounds. If you don’t find an employee who reflects your identities, it should be a warning signal.

Doing away with homogeneous interview loops were one of the reasons these companies were recognized for being great places for multicultural women to work in: Accenture, CA Technologies, Cisco, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Intel, Procter & Gamble and Verizon.

4. There’s no salary negotiation. Women are often judged more harshly than men for negotiating their salaries. Companies committed to diversity and inclusion recognize this. When offering a job to a candidate, more companies are starting to do away with negotiation altogether.

Women are often judged more harshly than men for negotiating their salaries. Companies committed to diversity and inclusion recognize this.

When Ellen Pao was the interim CEO of Reddit, she said she did away with salary negotiation so that women wouldn’t get penalized for asking for more. This practice is also one way to ensure men and women are paid equally when they begin working at a company.

Worst practices

1. Hire from the same pool. If a company keeps hiring a homogenous group of employees, it should be looking outside traditional hiring practices. If recruiters from the organization you’re applying to don’t attend or organize hiring meetups for underrepresented candidates, it’s likely diversity isn’t top-of-mind.

2. Lack an Equal Employment Opportunity statement. Companies that don’t explicitly state a commitment to diversity and inclusion are less likely to attract candidates from diverse backgrounds.

Company employees often tend to be from dominant groups when job listings don’t have an equal employment opportunity statement. If diversity in the workplace is of importance to the organization, job listings will encourage candidates of all races, genders, sexual identities, abilities and veteran status to apply.

3. Job requires a college degree. Many jobs don’t actually need a person with a bachelor’s degree to do the work, but they advertise that they do anyway. There’s been a recent and growing movement to do away with college degrees for jobs that don’t need them. People from underrepresented backgrounds face disproportionately more significant challenges to acquire a college degree.

Many jobs don’t actually need a person with a bachelor’s degree to do the work, but they advertise that they do anyway.

If a job was previously staffed by someone who didn’t have higher education, the organization should ensure that current listing doesn’t require it.

4. Ask for salary history. More companies are moving away from requiring candidates to reveal previous salaries, following legislation in states and cities like California and New York City.

Women and people of color are often penalized for negotiating their wages and can start at lower pay than white male counterparts. This perpetuates inequities throughout their careers. If a company is very persistent about asking you to declare your past salary, it should be a red flag.

Ruchika Tulshyan is the author of ‘The Diversity Advantage: Fixing Gender Inequality In The Workplace.’ She is also the founder of inclusion strategy firm, Candour. Find out more about Ruchika at rtulshyan.com.