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What Is a Diverse Slate in...

What Is a Diverse Slate in Recruitment?

Companies looking to build more representative workforces are turning to a diverse slate strategy. So, what is diverse slate hiring? Read more to find out.

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An image with a diverse group of eight people in a yearbook style format, with one candidate circled to indicate they're selected for a job offer. This represents a diverse slate in employee recruiting processes.

Diversity and inclusion are a must for any company that wants to attract the best talent and remain competitive. Having a diverse slate when hiring is a great way to ensure you prioritize DE&I. Here’s how to use it to your advantage.

What is a candidate slate? 

A candidate slate is a list of individuals who have been selected or nominated as potential candidates for a certain position. It can contain names, profiles, resumes, and even portfolios. 

When you advertise a job opening, you’ll receive several applications. The ones who make it past the initial screening become your candidate slate. These are the people you are considering for interviews, evaluations, or other steps you include in your talent acquisition process.

What is a diverse slate? 

A diverse slate is a list of individuals who come from a variety of backgrounds, identities, and experiences and who have been selected as potential candidates for a position. 

With a diverse candidate slate, you’re ensuring the people shortlisted for a position have different talents, perspectives, or demographics. Starting the hiring process with a diverse slate provides equal opportunities for everyone. It also promotes inclusivity and fairness in the selection process.

The term is not new. The NFL helped make it “famous” in 2003 when it created the Rooney Rule which requires minority representation among coaching staff. Thanks to this rule, minority representation grew from around 6% to 22% in only 4 years. Soon after, other US businesses followed their lead.

What is a diverse candidate? 

A diverse candidate is a person who, thanks to their various talents and experiences, contributes to a broad representation of backgrounds and perspectives within a group. 

Diversity can take a wide range of meanings and dimensions in this context and includes:

  • Racial and ethnic diversity

  • Gender diversity

  • Disability and neurodiversity diversity

  • Sexual orientation diversity

  • Educational diversity

  • Socioeconomic and cultural diversity 

When creating a diverse candidate slate, you shouldn’t limit yourself to one dimension. Include people from different backgrounds to benefit from their diverse talents and perspectives.

Diverse slate hiring: definition and process 

Diverse slate hiring is a talent acquisition strategy where recruiters start with a diverse pool of candidates. A lot of this process falls down on the human resources team. They must choose skilled candidates with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and talents.

Diverse slate hiring will help you create an adaptable, engaged workforce, with fresh perspectives that can drive true business value. But diversity isn’t something that will happen overnight. It is a nuanced process and you’ll need to follow some steps to make it happen.

1. Set your DE&I goals

You can’t get to your destination if you don’t know what that destination is. The same is true for DE&I. Before you can start thinking of having a diverse candidate slate, you need to set your DE&I goals

Make them as specific as possible, thinking about the particular dimensions you want to look at. Of course, your goals should be measurable and achievable, so choose a few metrics to track to see if you’re on the right path.

2. Make job descriptions inclusive

If only people from one demographic or one gender apply to a position, you can’t create a diverse slate. The first thing candidates see when looking for a new position is the job description. This is your best chance to attract a wide variety of candidates. 

Emphasize the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, but don’t stop there. Avoid any biased language that might discourage demographics from applying. 

If possible, ask several people from different backgrounds to look at the job description. Sometimes, biases slide in without us realizing it, so an extra set of eyes can help eliminate them.

3. Diversify recruitment channels

Don’t stick to a single recruitment channel, especially if it hasn’t brought you a very diverse candidate slate in the past. Advertise your offer on different platforms, like job boards, social media, universities, and community organizations. 

4. Remove biases while screening applications

To create a diverse candidate slate, you need to select the right people. Be sure to eliminate biases that could make you reject someone because of their background. 

For instance, you may notice someone graduated from a school with a bad reputation. Resist the temptation to think they’re not as good as the others. The school may have a bad reputation, but that doesn’t mean the candidate won’t be good at their job.

Techniques like blind resume screening can also help to remove potential biases around race and gender, helping to ensure that all candidates are given an equal opportunity to succeed.

5. Ensure an unbiased interview process

The standard interview and evaluation process can be unfriendly to disabled and neurodivergent people. It is also a moment when subconscious biases can make their way into a recruiter's mind, causing them to reject an otherwise qualified candidate. 

One example is expecting everyone to make eye contact during the interview. Most people have the preconceived notion that not making eye contact is a sign of deceit. You think the other person is trying to lie, that they’re hiding something. 

The problem? The inability to make eye contact is a trademark of autism. If you lead the interview with that bias in mind, you might reject someone who is stellar at their work but simply can’t make eye contact. 

Nobody expects you to be aware of every trait of neurodiversity or how each disability presents itself. Keep an open mind and let go of preconceived notions that will make you judge someone before getting to know them.

Structured interviews are a great way to ensure that all candidates are screened and scored in the same way during the interview phase. This technique requires that interviewers ask each candidate the same questions, in the same order, and grade their responses using a standardized scorecard. 

While not perfect—especially in the cases mentioned above—structured interviews help to ensure that all candidates, regardless of background, go through the same screening process, and are graded in the same way.

6. Analyze and improve your process constantly

A few times a year, look at your metrics and see if you’re making the progress you were hoping for. Reassess the hiring process and see how you could improve it. Don’t be afraid to ask for employee feedback. You might be amazed at what valuable insights they will offer.

How effective is diverse slate hiring? 

Diverse slate hiring is complex and nuanced. Diversity is more than ticking a few boxes and getting the numbers to look all right. It is a commitment to the company’s growth, equity, transparency, and fairness. 

It is also not a one-person or even a one-department effort. It’s not enough for HR to be committed to making a change if the stakeholders aren’t on board. That’s why diversity slate hiring works best when everyone is committed to DE&I. That could include DE&I training, discussions, and just a general increased awareness of what diversity looks like.

Despite more companies committing to DE&I, the statistics show there’s room for improvement. For instance, at the moment, only 29.2% of those in chief executive positions in the US are women

The NFL’s experience back in 2003 shows that progress is possible. How fast and how well this progress comes depends on each company’s commitment. 

The role of people analytics in diverse slate recruitment 

People analytics is an effective solution for any company that wants to make informed, data-driven decisions. It helps you look at the data related to the people in your company to better understand them. It can also guide you in improving your talent acquisition, development, and retention processes.

In the context of diverse slate hiring, people analytics plays a crucial role in optimizing your recruitment processes and maximizing your DE&I efforts, by assisting in several areas.

  • Offers insights about the candidates and the hiring process. Metrics can include data on candidate sources, application rates, time-to-hire, and more.

  • Uncovering biases. Unintentional biases are one of the biggest roadblocks when you’re trying to create a diverse candidate slate. People analytics can help you detect biases at various stages of the recruitment process, taking you one step closer to your DE&I goals.

  • Identifying bottlenecks. Have you ever looked at your candidate list only to realize somewhere along the recruitment process, the diversity rate dropped significantly? People analytics can help you identify when this happens so that you can address the specific challenges and improve your diverse slate.

With people analytics, you can also measure the effectiveness of your diverse slate hiring efforts and make improvements where necessary. Careful planning and analysis will help you improve diversity and reach business goals, even if it's not easy.

On the Outsmart blog, we write about workforce-related topics like what makes a good manager, how to reduce employee turnover, and reskilling employees. We also report on trending topics like ESG and EU CSRD requirements and preparing for a recession, and advise on HR best practices like how to create a strategic compensation strategy, metrics every CHRO should track, and connecting people data to business data. But if you really want to know the bread and butter of Visier, read our post about the benefits of people analytics.

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