Hiring Beyond Diversity: How to Be Inclusive During the Hiring Process

By Dr. Jon Paul Higgins


If you ask any business professional, being valued by upper management is often a top priority. Often, said value translates into a feeling of belonging in a company or being seen as an essential part of what makes a company great. 

In recent years, businesses have worked to unpack the word “value” and what it means in a company’s culture on a grander scale, specifically when it comes to effective hiring practices. With 57% of recruiters noting that it is important to have strategies that attract diverse candidates, the struggle for said candidates to thrive at a company is still a greater issue. 

Though many organizations note that they are working to fully embrace the concept of diversity, many fail to understand that in order to have the best candidates, an organization has to go beyond the scope of diversity.  


Going Beyond Diversity 

To begin, a greater part of effective recruitment means reflecting on the hiring process and the importance that the role of diversity and inclusion plays in both of them. While several national surveys have indicated that diversity is “extremely important” to the culture of an organization, hiring professionals must understand that simply hiring an individual for who they are is not enough. It is important to note that diversity only looks at the scope of identity markers and not the things that makes a candidate stand out. 

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Professionals must understand that diversity and inclusion are simply not interchangeable. Diversity, while important, only looks at the things that separate an individual in the workplace. These things include race, sexual orientation, age and the different levels of degrees that one might hold on your team. However, in moments that we go beyond diversity and push for inclusion, we are not just acknowledging the things that make them different, but celebrating them. 

Hiring a multitude of one group of people doesn’t mean that said group feels connected to the organization at which they work. In order for folks to feel as if they matter fully to an organization, we have to begin to think differently about the ways in which we bring marginalized groups to the tables of our organization. 


Redefining Hiring Practices 

It is important to understand that hiring different means you have to think about inclusion differently. As noted in one blog, thinking about inclusion means not only having a better understanding of their lived experiences, but a better understanding as to how said experiences add to their skills-and more, how said lived experiences can be used to transform the organization.

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