4 DE&I-Focused Best Practices Recruiters and Employee Should Know: Part 1

Recruiting and retaining highly competent employees are key factors to the success of any company. And as the search for healthcare talent heats up and more and more job seekers look for a place that will value their authentic selves, DE&I efforts are more important than ever.

Whether you’re looking for a job or searching for someone to fill one, here’s what you should know about how diversity, equity, and inclusion influences hiring and retention.

1) Recruit with DE&I top of mind

According to a recent survey, 65% of respondents said DE&I initiatives rank as a vital factor when deciding to accept a job offer. It’s now fairly common to see a few lines on the bottom of a job description stating that the company will not discriminate based on protected factors like gender, race, or disability. If you’re recruiting for a role, make sure to get your point across more clearly: Mention this topic early in the interview, or add an additional section to the post. Looking for a new job? Search for any additional call-outs or attention to DE&I matters in posts or company websites.

2) Be more aware of bias, especially unconscious bias

Unconscious bias can affect how you conduct interviews and make critical hiring decisions. According to a recent study by Project Implicit, an organization that develops psychology-based tests, “While 80 percent of respondents indicated that their organizations had a formal DE&I policy, less than half (47 percent) said their company had specific DE&I training programs for managers. That potentially sets a less-than-inclusive precedent for hiring managers who are not yet aware of their implicit biases.

You might be surprised to find that most bias isn’t intentional. It’s an unconscious response to something you’re not familiar with. In recruiting specifically, unconscious bias can look like a preference for one candidate or another because they shared something in common with them or could see themselves “getting a beer” with them after work.

As Harvard Business School professor Professor Youngme Moon noted, “There are so many industries that have a history of relying on the soft stuff, and the soft stuff has worked in the favor of a particular kind of individual. The truth is the soft stuff is often a euphemism in many cases for bias. For people being able to use their discretion to hire people who are just like them — that they are comfortable with, that look like them, that act like them, that talk like them.”

“80 percent of respondents indicated that their organizations had a formal DE&I policy, less than half (47 percent) said their company had specific DE&I training programs for managers.”

3) Watch your language

The language you use in your job description posting provides more information than you’d at first assume. Make sure you’re not unintentionally excluding anyone in the process.

For example, you’ve probably heard the statistic that women apply to jobs when they meet nearly 100% of the job requirements, while men feel that they’re adequate candidates at closer to 60%. To eliminate potential gender inequality, you can start by making your job descriptions more vague and only listing the absolute must-haves for the role. Instead of “3 years of management experience,” why not try something like “proven track record of managing successful teams”?

3) Remember that application of DE&I best practices should be a continuous process

It is important for recruiters and HR managers to take the time to outline their DE&I best practices, including what they are, who is involved in the process, when they are applied and why they are important. DE&I doesn’t stop at recruiting: It’s an ongoing process and a group effort that DE&I-focused companies will keep holding people accountable to. If you’re a candidate that wants to make sure you find such a workplace, ask questions like, “I noticed that you had a diversity page on your website. Would you mind explaining what that means to your team and how you continue to uphold that mission?”