The PathMotion Guide to Diversity Recruitment

Diversity in the workplace is an initiative that aims to increase the intersectionality of your workforce. From gender and sexuality to experience, skillset, and ability, a diverse employee collective should reflect the society around you. The issue of a diverse workforce is more complex; diversity is more than an inherent characteristic – tied to fixed elements of identity like race and age. Diversity is also acquired – with variables including education, experience, values, skills, and knowledge – and with this comes fluidity as they are subject to change with time. 

Diversity recruiting strategies are far more than a check-box activity. Despite companies increasing their efforts to enhance their diversity and inclusion initiatives to reflect their role as an integral part of the workplace culture, challenges around subjects related to diversity continue to trouble many companies. Indeed, two-thirds of the 10,000 leaders surveyed as part of Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends cited diversity and inclusion as “important” or “very important” to business.

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Why is diversity in the workplace important?

To put it simply, it’s because there is both a business and a moral case for diversity. Let’s start the business case:

  • Better business performance: those in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to report financial returns that sit above the national industry median1.
  • Increased agility and decision-making: decision-making processes are significantly improved by a diverse team; outperforming individual decision-makers up to 87% of the time2.
  • Improved ability to innovate: A 2013 report by PwC found that this reached 83% on diverse groups3.
  • Diverse employee retention: Staff and volunteers are more likely to perform well, feel motivated and committed should they feel they are respected and valued.

And the moral case for diversity? The intuitive answer is that it is the right thing to do for your current diverse employees and customers. But let’s dig in further:

  • Diversity attracts diversity: A company is more likely to attract people from the diverse talent pool if it explicitly communicates and demonstrates a commitment to diversity through workplace initiatives that bring awareness and understanding of differences, and why they matter, and celebrate them.
  • Feeling included: A diverse workplace where everyone is treated with dignity and respect fosters the spirit of inclusion, resulting in less conflict and insecurity amongst employees
  • Participation: Encouraging active participation from all employees allows values to be heard as each employee demonstrates and implements their social and moral responsibility
  • Public Engagement: Excellence in diversity gives organisations the means to meet and exceed social obligations, helping all companies to engage with a wider number of communities .

And so, the impact of diversity in recruitment is incontestable – the benefits that it provides your company with presents the reason why diversity is needed in company workplaces.

Now that we have established the case for diversity, let’s delve into what’s preventing companies from achieving the diversity they need to benefit them:

What is the main issue with diversity strategies in the workplace?

As it turns out, the development and implementation of a robust diversity recruiting strategy is a pressing issue for recruitment professionals. In fact, 85% of employers acknowledge that their efforts need improvement. The need to develop and implement such strategies is augmented by evidence of the tangible benefits for performance, innovation, and productivity.

If the importance and need for diversity are so obvious, why is your company (and others) struggling to get diverse talent through your door?

Where is your diversity recruitment going wrong?

The starting point in all of this is recognising why the acquisition of diverse talent is a problem to begin with.

And at which point is the acquisition going wrong? The root of the problem, so to speak? Well, from our survey of 200 TA/EB leaders, 57% believe they lose most of their diverse candidates after visiting their career site, but before applying. This is the point where diverse talent attraction is failing.

In an effort to find out why these strategies are failing, we conducted our own research across the UK, US, and France. And we found out that it’s what your company isn’t saying that is putting candidates off.

We found that two things are missing:

  1.       You’re failing to provide content that answers diverse candidates’ questions – a content gap exists.
  2.       You’re not answering questions  in the right format – a persuasion gap exists.

And the careers website, which is the first touchpoint diverse candidates encounter in their company research efforts, is the platform on which it is failing.

The career site is your most powerful candidate attraction tool as it provides considerable insight into the employer brand and associated employer value propositions (EVP) that drive talent engagement.

Specifically, 60% of diverse candidates are heading to the careers site to determine whether a company really delivers on its diversity recruiting strategy.

For diverse candidates, your career site is a pain point. And by extension, so are your recruitment collaterals – your social media pages, job board postings and in-person events.

In collaboration with Talent Board, we conducted an in-depth review to determine that 57% of TA/EB leaders surveyed believe they lose most of their diverse candidates after visiting their career site, but before applying. Based on this, we took a deep-dive into just why companies are losing diverse candidates early in the recruitment funnel – and provide actionable insight into the directions that companies should be taking to ameliorate this effect. Alon Laniado, Co-founder of PathMotion has weighed in on the issue in this podcast with Talent Board5, an organisation focussed on the elevation and promotion of a quality candidate experience:

It’s not all doom and gloom–this challenge can actually be your champion with the right changes to your diversity recruiting strategy to attract the diverse talent out there.

How does a diversity recruiting challenge create a recruiting opportunity?

The diversity challenge —let’s break it down. Your diversity recruiting strategy is falling short of meeting targets, and the point at which this happens is well-defined, as we have established – is early in the recruitment funnel. 

Evidently, the challenge lies in your communication efforts – on both the content and persuasion fronts.

From our analysis of over 25,000 questions submitted across PathMotion deployments – combined with data obtained from a survey of 200 HR leaders and 1000 candidates across the UK, US, and France – we found three key actionable diversity insights that your company can implement right now in order to achieve the diversity goals you have set out:

  1. Go the candidate-driven content route rather than generic in your approach to recruitment content.
  2. Use storytelling to get the specific content – narrated by your representative workforce.
  3. Spread your specific stories via your collaterals to achieve scale.

Keep reading for best practices for creating candidate-driven content, implementing storytelling and scaling via social media to help you achieve your diversity goals.

Best practices for diversity recruitment

 1. Produce candidate-driven content

The need to provide specific information to candidates appears to be an exercise in futility – you may wonder how specific answers are sufficiently relevant to a very diverse audience with varied interests.

Well, its importance lies in the fact that candidate driven conversations translate to detail. By holding a microscope up to topics, areas of interest and specialties your company is known for, you will increase the likelihood of attracting a larger audience through your content.

Highly detailed content is powerful –  it increases relevance; relevance increases how diverse candidates engage, and ultimately, this engagement drives conversion of diverse applicants. There is a content gap that prevents diverse candidates from being able to gather the answers to the questions that they are looking for.

Why is candidate-driven content essential?

Diverse candidates that visit your first point of contact come up against generic statements that succinctly convey the employer brand – but do so with little specificity. This specificity can only be generated when getting into the mind of the diverse employees.

And in practice?

Create content that offers genuine value to your ideal candidates. To do this, you need to ask – what’s on candidates’ minds? The answers you provide should include detail – extending from the typical career background to the solutions to challenges they may face at work, their aspirations, motivations, interests, etc.  When written well, the content reflects what the company is actually like from the inside. Better yet? Ask your candidates to tell you what they want to know. When they drive the strategy around your recruiting content they get the information they want and are more likely to submit an application to join your staff.

A career page worth taking inspiration from comes from the tech company The Student Hotel6,  a hybrid hospitality company. The company ethos stresses personal growth, diversity, and open-mindedness while sharing common goals, and creating fun opportunities along the way. They place their culture at the heart of their brand – and do it by placing candidates in the driving seat to steer the direction of content towards  that is highly refined – and indefinitely so. And their career site is carefully constructed.

Their career page showcases a vibrant photo collection of the team in action. With quirky messages sprinkled across a dynamic and engaging site, their inclusion of narrow, focussed content, driven by candidate questions communicates their team vibe authentically.

Smiling faces and employer benefits aside, they are not the only important component.

The Student Hotel also provides social proof from their employees; the quotes from real employees, along  their with names and faces, increase the chances that prospective candidates will convert and apply for a job.

This is one benefit of many – aside from the conversion of diverse talent, you can nail your employer branding by providing the authenticity – delivered by content that is generated by them. And of course, the overall candidate experience is enhanced.

Perhaps the best way to provide detailed content that addresses the specificities of diverse talent comes from a Q&A based approach, like PathMotion provides. Candidates of diverse backgrounds ask actual employees about the subjects that matter most to them. Before committing the time and effort to write a cover letter and submit an application, they can seek guidance and reassurance that their life experiences, abilities and backgrounds will not deter employers from accepting them. And this recurrence is best given by employees themselves:

 “When applying do I need to disclose that I’m dyslexic?”

“I have two young children – does anyone have experience balancing the scheme with family commitments?”

“What does Lazard look for in applications for the summer analyst internship program?”

Through the generation of candidate-driven content in this way, the control of content creation is placed in the hands of a representative workforce and diverse candidates. A repertoire of highly specific content is then generated –  and expands organically. This bottom-up approach additionally enables your company to yield greater SEO results and drive incoming traffic to optimise the discussion pages for search engine rankings.

Content stimulated by candidate questioning provides the solution to your content gap  – but the persuasion gap requires something more. That something? Storytelling.

2. Implement storytelling to win over diverse candidates

Stories sell. They are used across all sectors to hone the focus onto an individual with the effect of producing impact that drives action.

Consider Unicef’s approach as an example; they have switched their approach from a third-person overview to an individualised approach. They place storytelling at the core of their marketing and communications strategy. By leveraging the versatility of video as an engaging and increasingly popular medium, they have built an understanding around their cause, and enabled their brand’s core story: ‘Children in danger. Together we can make a safer word for every child’ to be communicated authentically.

And storytelling works in HR.

By leveraging this approach, you can focus diverse talent acquisition by delivering a more personalised experience for both candidates and employees. Companies have an identity that is constructed by the diverse workforce they employ. This company identity can be harnessed to create a candidate experience by communicating and behaving in a way that reflects the lived experiences of its diverse workforce.

Why do you need storytelling?

This forms the first impression and is the deciding factor that determines whether or not a diverse applicant will want to go ahead in their job search with a company. Customers don’t buy into the company, they buy into the story. A personalised story enforces the company identity, which allows job seekers to identify something they can relate as they can visualise their experience with your company.

Here’s a fact: a study in the Journal of Brand Management stated 40% of employees struggle to communicate the brand of the company they work for because they lack a clear understanding of it. Storytelling overcomes this issue by conveying a company, brand, people, and ideas giving employees a clear picture and a better understanding of what the company stands for.

In this way, stories allow the persuasion gap to be addressed effectively. Listen to Siham explain how diversity, delivered through employees themselves are compelling evidence of both diversity and inclusion programs…in practice:

And in practice?

Storytelling is still an emerging competency in recruiting. But there are still some examples of best practices out there. For example, KPMG sought to reframe their employee experience in a recent campaign. They connected their employees to their campaign by producing and sharing digital posters based on their ‘Inspire confidence. Empower change.’ campaign. This is something that Deloitte also take on board – upon a visit to the Deloitte’s career site, a ‘Life at Deloitte’ section for employees that share insights from their jobs are categorised according to realm of work – which enables candidates to be fed specific information delivered in the form of a story.

The benefits of implementing this best practice?

Candidates can gain first-hand insight into specific opportunities and enable them to make more informed decisions about whether that role aligns with their interests. It humanises the corporate front that companies portray – this has the power to transform the candidate experience which gives the company an authentic voice and resonates with prospective diverse candidates.

Diverse employees have stories – and they provide your means of delivery. Stories have the ability to bring all voices into a conversation in a manner that other approaches are sometimes cannot. Cognitive research consistently supports storytelling and the use of narrative as an important strategy to improve engagement. Using diverse stories and narratives encourages discussions that further satisfy the diverse candidates’ need for highly specific content . By encouraging diverse employees to share, the wheels of the next step – advocacy – can start to turn.

3. Scale your narrative-based candidate-driven content

The refined content need not be constrained to only to the careers site – because diverse candidates are looking even further to satisfy their concerns, other key touchpoints they are consulting also need to feature this . From review websites, social media content and campus-based events,  these platforms are particularly attractive as they provide the social proof diverse candidates are seeking.

And you can seamlessly pull these together by using a candidate engagement platform; it allows questions to be posted by diverse candidates anywhere at any time, and ‘Insiders’ (your dedicated employee representatives) can answer at their convenience. 

A platform achieves scale through integration which begins on the career site and could extend further to social sharing via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook; re-targeted content generated by a chatbot; plug-ins which integrates both the microsite on the careers page and vacancies currently available and through SEO, the candidate-driven content promotes the career site and associated recruitment channels on the search engine results page.

These features enable you to scale your efforts and increase the authenticity of your brand, resulting in greater engagement, retention and candidate conversions. Also, as all content generated on the platform is optimised for search engines, diverse candidates can find exactly what they are looking for.A Note about SEO:The career website provides content that underpins your SEO and SERP. With a shift towards dynamic and user-oriented SERPs that define the success of your company’s career site in finding its way into the forefront of diverse talent’s view. People tend to execute search queries, called keyword buckets. Your brand can influence the tone of the career website tone. Long-form, in-depth content about your company and departments is a great way to generate top-funnel visibility and begin a recruitment pipeline. And fresh, relevant contentis gives your website a pull-up through search results page. Combined with the fact that Google doubles as a plagiarism software, old and copied content will send your career page falling to the bottom of the search stack;  in various locations, on or off your site. So fresh, dynamic content is a necessity And what better way then to provide candidate-driven content that organically expands as you provide the specificities of diverse employees day-to-day experiences.

Why is it so important to scale your candidate-driven content?

Diverse employees face logistical limitations when approaching their candidate engagement efforts in real-life scenarios (at university fairs and interviews) but through the medium of a digital platform, their efforts can be maximised through the reach it affords.

Rather than investing all your time on your career site, and LinkedIn, consider expanding to your lesser prioritized collaterals – your social media channels, academic programs, or networking events where you can source your diverse talent.

And in practice?

The starting point of diverse talent acquisition is your existing diverse. They present the most compelling evidence of your commitment to Diversity – and their persistent tenure at your workplace indicates your inclusion. They are the means of solving your diversity recruiting challenge. Which together will bring diversity initiatives for recruiting into play. 

  • Deliver: Consider providing your story told relevant content in video format as well as written – after all, compared to traditional blogs, Generation Z views digital video six times more6
  • Make your stories authentic: Our storytelling eBook details the science behind the persuasive nature of stories – ultimately they need to have a purpose, foster an emotional connection and drive decisions.

As a result, highly specific content is scaled across several platforms, enabling it to expand organically. This enables companies to keep up with the avalanche of content creation and allows your company to overcome the inefficiency challenge.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some best practices and their benefits

Create A Multifaceted Approach

Taking a leaf out of the higher education faculty recruiting book,  one example comes from Vanderbilt University’s recruiting strategy. It has garnered attention due to concerted recruitment efforts which have been behind the growth in not only the diversity and size of the applicant pool but the universities’ geographic diversity as well. Underpinning their success is their rare diversity recruitment excellence; scaled advocacy.  Vanderbilt makes use of numerous direct contacts in our outreach efforts – including those recommended to them by their diverse students. They also leverage the power of social proof, with PR strategies that involve outreach efforts directed at influential administrators and diverse-group colleges to showcase graduate education and summer research opportunities. And of course, campus fair opportunities are not wasted – with Vanderbilt scheduling travel visits across new agencies and schools hosting their target demographic.

Use your employee advocates 

Our diverse workforce offers the most appropriate means of showcasing your diversity and inclusion policies. The best examples of companies that are doing this include the likes of Google who have broken down barriers to encourage creativity and collaboration. By formalising a 20% dedication of time to doing something outside employees’ normal work function, John Lewis calls their employees partners in a similar vein to Hyatt’s ‘associates’ who are developed via problem-solving and the synthesis of creative solutions.

And the best way to scale is by marketing your diverse employees. Because to achieve your diversity goals, you require their advocacy. This advocacy is realised in the form of employee ambassadorship – diverse employees are able to share their experiences of both the job and the company they work for via social media.

Here’s a fact: This form of advocacy addresses the challenge that comes with the use of these platforms – namely producing tailored content across an average of 7.6 social accounts per internet user. Circling back to the diverse candidate, 32% are using social media posts, groups and networks to figure out whether your company is serious about diversity recruitment. So leveraging its potential provides an intuitive way to scale

Our tips allow you to make the most of diversity recruitment. We have gone even deeper and broken down 5 concrete ways that you can leverage the power of highly specific, candidate driven content via different media to maximise the impact of your content – captivating the attention of your diverse talent.

With this in mind, we have suggestions for processes you should put in place:

  • Participate: cut through the noise and find your diverse talent. Maintain an active presence on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to get your diced-up content in front of the diverse candidates you hope will apply.
  • Softly does it: Share the content that demonstrates that your company culture and provides the proof of your diversity initiatives
  • Involve every diverse employee: Be an evangelist for your brand on social media; allowing your employees to talk about their work experiences in a responsible manner can pique the curiosity of a diverse candidate.

How is technology bridging the gap between HR and the struggle for better recruiting content creation?

Given the importance of candidate-driven content creation in attracting diverse talent, it’s time to figure out how exactly you’ll hire for diversity. The answer? Seek out a recruiting software solution that places the candidate at the forefront and allows you to implement the engagement methods that work best for your diverse candidates. 

By leveraging both analytics and artificial intelligence, today’s software can ensure the best-fit diverse talent is placed in the sights of your company. 

Remember: For diversity recruiting to be effective, you can’t treat all diverse candidates the same. You must tailor your talent acquisition approach to each diverse segment—which is why using software fuelled by analytics and attuned to candidate behaviour is so important.

What results can you expect with your diversity recruitment strategy ?

Instead of providing you with generic statements about how exactly a candidate engagement platform can deliver results for your diversity recruiting strategy, we present three key instances that showcase measurable success: 

  • Lazard: 64% of the candidates they hired who used the platform where women, and 48% were from a BAME background. These ratios are significantly higher than the hires who did not use the platform
  • Citi: 47% of candidates who participated in live chats focused on diversity (Meet the women at Citi, LGBT at Citi etc.) ended up applying after using the platform.
  • NHS: 67% of new hires said the discussions on the platform affected their decision to accept the offer

So, Support the digital transformation of your Talent Attraction by providing candidates with credible content they miss with the outcome of improving your careers page content and improving the candidate experience by keeping them engaged.

Want to learn more about improving your diversity recruiting efforts? Check out these posts:


  • blog

    How to Create a Stellar Diversity Recruitment Strategy

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  • blog

    Why You Should (Social) Proof Your Diversity Recruitment Strategy

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  • blog

    Representing Diversity: Giving Employees a (Scalable) Platform to Advocate

    Read more
  • blog

    Catering to Diverse Candidates: Actionable Solutions to Implement Now

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Diversity Recruiting: What’s on Candidates’ Minds?

PathMotion conducted proprietary research to help businesses understand what candidates from diverse backgrounds want to hear from organisations. In doing so, we have set out exactly how Talent Attraction and Employer Branding leaders worldwide should adapt their communication efforts across their key touchpoints for attracting diverse talent.

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