May 28, 2024

Breaking Down Barriers: Five Approaches to Attracting Diverse Candidates 

Kendra Williams
‪Senior Director Diversity Equity & Inclusion Practice
May 28, 2024

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Fostering diversity within organizations has become a top priority for businesses aiming to thrive in today’s increasingly diverse and globalized world. However, attracting diverse talent remains a significant challenge for many companies, as traditional recruitment methods can (at times) fail to reach or resonate with them. So, what are the approaches that organizations can implement to break down barriers and attract a more diverse pool of candidates? 

Understanding the Importance of Diversity in Recruitment 

Lately, the reasoning behind diversity initiatives have been misunderstood or even ill-advised.  It is crucial that organizations understand why: Why does a diverse community matter? In brief, it brings a wide range of perspectives, experiences, and skills to the table that ultimately lead to fostering creativity, innovation, and better decision-making. Diverse teams are also more reflective of diverse customer bases, leading to improved satisfaction and market competitiveness. 

Identifying and Addressing Barriers to Diversity in Recruitment 

In order to attract diverse candidates, organization leaders must discern and address the barriers that are preventing talent from being hired (or even applying). These barriers often include, but are not limited to, applicant tracking system rejection due to subconscious criteria, unconscious bias in job descriptions, limited access to networks or resources, and lack of diversity in the recruiting or hiring panel. 

Attracting Diverse Candidates 

For increasing access to opportunity, we’ve identified five approaches: 

  1. Diverse Recruitment Panels: Minimizes unconscious bias in the selection process and signals to candidates that the organization values diversity.  
  1. Targeted Outreach and Partnerships: Collaborating with community organizations, professional associations, niche job boards, and educational institutions that serve underrepresented groups.  
  1. Unbiased Job Descriptions: Using gender-neutral language and focusing on skills and qualifications rather than traditional markers of success.  
  1. Virtual Career Fairs and Networking Events: Hosting virtual career fairs and networking events to make it easier, more comfortable, and more accessible for candidates from diverse backgrounds to connect with potential employers, regardless of their location or circumstances.  
  1. Inclusive Employer Branding: Always tell the story. Highlighting the organization’s commitment to diversity through the creation of a DEI Value Proposition, content creation plan, and publishing stories across all channels signal to candidates that value diversity and are seeking inclusive work environments.  

Measuring and Monitoring Progress 

Finally, it’s essential for organizations to measure and monitor their progress in attracting diverse talent. Collecting data on the demographics of applicants, hires, and promotions, or regularly reviewing recruitment processes for bias and effectiveness are great places to start.  

To learn more about how we can support you and your organization to reach your DEI goals, visit   

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