As your organisation continues its way towards a more diverse and inclusive team of employees, it’s important to ensure you are relying on the most up-to-date information about recruiting the right people and meeting their needs and behaviours in your hiring process. While there are many assumptions that have become part of accepted recruiting wisdom, are these methods still effective for interacting with those who want to join your company? When employers have wanted to recruit from under-represented groups they have traditionally relied on limited media targeting, but this doesn’t take into account what we know about candidate behaviour.

For example, we know that just because a person looks at a certain type of media in their everyday life, it doesn’t mean they will use that specialised media in their job search. Research has shown they will look at media offering roles related to their profession and then assess employers to ensure they are inclusive. So employers should focus on targeting the right professional channels with the right messaging. When candidates from underrepresented groups are searching for jobs, the right job title might be enough to get them to review an advert – but whether they apply is influenced by what they read and hear about how an organisation treats its people. To ensure an inclusive process, the right language used in job postings is essential. It should feel inclusive and should also reflect the career level of candidates.

Many talent leaders are familiar with the research that shows women are less likely to apply for roles where they do not meet 100 per cent of the criteria, whereas men will apply if they meet just some of them. Often, women just don’t want to waste their time on an application they believe would be automatically rejected. To overcome this, employers should list only the essential criteria required and note that as the list of criteria gets longer, the applicant pool for that job will become less diverse. If we stick with the example of attracting more women, recruitment communications should include voices and stories from women at all levels to demonstrate they are welcome and will have the opportunity to progress. The same principle can be applied to any demographic group. Change won’t happen overnight.

When it comes to engaging with  candidates from under-represented groups, it’s about building an employer brand that appeals to multiple demographics and fosters a sense of belonging in an organisation – and making sure that each part of the process supports individuals from all walks of life who are the best people to fill your roles.