Your company’s professional network of investors, advisors, and contacts is by far the best place to start when looking to recruit new team members.
By harnessing the power of your network you can connect with higher-quality, more well-suited job seekers, save money by relying less on inefficient methods like combing through resumes and job boards, and run your hiring process in a more intentional and organic way.
However, one challenge many companies encounter with their networks is a lack of diversity. It’s no surprise — we typically surround ourselves mainly with similar people, so our networks tend to be biased in one direction or another. Companies can almost always benefit from a more diverse range of employees, people who are different in terms of background, education color, age, sexual orientation, years of experience, and much more.
A more diverse network can be incredibly beneficial for your recruiting, allowing you to connect with a much broader range of qualified candidates and build a more diverse company. In this article, we’ll look at why a diverse network is so valuable, and show you how to build one.
Why is it a good idea to diversify your recruiting networks?
Here are some of the key reasons to consider diversifying your recruitment networks and recruitment process in general — something often referred to as diversity hiring.
- It helps you build a more diverse company in the long term. More diverse businesses have a broader range of skills, perspectives, and experiences. They’re fairer and even perform better financially than less diverse competitors according to many studies. Also, more diverse companies have been shown to have better employee retention rates.
- You’ll connect with a wider range of talent. A more diverse candidate pool means more potential leads, allowing you to cast the net wider and maximize your chances of meeting that new, perfect hire.
- You can expand your recruitment globally. A recruitment network that spans the world means you can make inroads into new markets and cultures, paving the way for future expansion or partnerships with companies abroad
- It improves your employer brand, showing that you’re open to hiring in a more diverse and equitable way
How to leverage recruitment networks
When it comes to talent acquisition, your own professional network is the best tool you have. In fact, research by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics suggests that 85% of jobs are filled as a result of networking.
So how can you tap into your network to connect with the best candidates?
- Focus on influential people first. If you connect with influential figures in your network first, they will be able to amplify your outreach even further, giving you more bang for your buck in terms of reach.
- Reach out to people with capital. Investors, venture capital funds, and others are likely to be well-connected and have valuable insights and contacts to share with you.
- Don’t forget your own employees. The people in your company are part of your network too, and can often be excellent sources of information and contacts. You could consider building an employee referral program to leverage this part of your network.
How to diversify your recruiting networks
A more diverse network means a more diverse pool of people to connect with and recruit from, and ultimately a more diverse workforce. So how can you make your recruitment network as diverse as possible? Here are some tips.
- Build a network map to identify where you need to branch out more. By visualizing your existing network in this way, it will be easier to see the groups and demographics that the majority of your network belongs, helping you pinpoint areas that could use more diversity.
- If your company is diverse, talk to your existing teams. They may have suggestions on how to expand your network and bring more diverse talent into it
- Seek out outliers in your network. Recruiters often gravitate toward people like themselves within their network, and their network is already typically composed of people similar to them. Look at the outliers in your network who stand out from the norm, and approach them first.
- Use different channels. It’s common for recruiting networks to focus heavily on one or two core channels, for example, social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, which tend to be biased toward certain groups. If you branch out to different channels and spaces you can connect with a much broader range of potential candidates.
- Seek out discussions on unfamiliar topics. The online space is filled with opportunities to start and join discussions on a basically endless list of topics. Instead of focusing on the handful that you’re familiar with, consider joining conversations and groups based on new topics to connect with a more diverse range of people.
- Consciously connect with new people from different groups on a regular basis. Try setting a goal to deliberately connect with a certain number of people from different groups and more diverse backgrounds on a regular basis. It’s easy to slip into old habits and focus on people similar to yourself, so hard goals like this can keep you more focused and accountable.
- Hire a more diverse recruiting team. When your recruiters and hiring managers come from a more diverse mix of backgrounds, it stands to reason that their networks will also be more diverse, making your company’s collective recruiting network much richer and wider. This also makes your company culture richer and helps mitigate unconscious bias in the hiring process.