How to Attract Diverse Talent in a Competitive Market

In a competitive talent market, how can your institution prioritize diversity?

Diverse group of employees at a computer in a college university campus library.

DEI is a pillar for many institutions in their student recruitment practices, but according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, there is a need for colleges and universities to adopt DEI as a “core business pillar” in order to attract diverse talent to their faculty and staff—and especially in senior leadership.

In addition, the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium noted, “educating people of all backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures requires a diverse academic workforce,” which makes diversity especially important for HigherEd. Attracting talent in a competitive market is difficult already, so what steps can you take to bring diverse talent to your institution?

Embrace technology – Create a modern experience

There is no doubt about it: to attract talent, and to reach diverse job-seekers, your institution needs to embrace technology. Today’s candidates expect a modern, seamless, user-friendly application experience—so an outdated applicant portal won’t cut it. Job applications submitted via mobile have surpassed applications submitted on desktop computers, and millennials prefer that employers use familiar technology. In addition, you’re likely to lose top candidates if your application and interview process are too slow. The baseline for attracting talent today is a user-friendly, mobile-accessible candidate experience—once your team has embraced that, you can start thinking about technology to increase diversity.

Technologies like artificial intelligence are being used by recruiting teams in many industries. In fact, 43% of DEI technologies are used for talent acquisition. Some examples include:

Quote: You’re likely to lose top candidates if your application and interview process are too slow.If you’re hoping to utilize video interviews or other modern hiring tools, make sure you think about how those connect with your current HR technology. PeopleAdmin’s Marketplace of Connectors offers integrations with many tools, including video interview technologies, to streamline your team’s hiring process.

The Marketplace of Connectors enables another important aspect of hiring with DEI in mind—cross-posting open roles. 90% of all recruiters today use social media to share open positions, and your team should also post on a range of job boards to ensure that a more diverse group of candidates know that you’re hiring. PeopleAdmin’s connectors allow your team to post job descriptions on multiple platforms with the click of a button.

Actively advertising your brand

Most institutions have an active brand marketing strategy when it comes to students. Your admissions team knows that they are selling the culture and story of the institution to attract students who want to embrace that culture, and they work hard to create a recognizable brand. Human resources should take a page out of that book: it’s important to create a recognizable employer brand, increase awareness of your institution as an employer, and proactively market to create a pipeline of talent.

Brand awareness is also vital for DE&I. According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, “86% of female and 74% of male millennials say an employer’s policy on diversity, equality and workforce inclusion is important to them when deciding whether or not to work for an organization.” If your employer brand doesn’t include an emphasis on DEI or a sense of the DEI initiatives you’re undertaking, you’re going to miss out on a lot of top talent. Tell your DEI story and showcase inclusivity with your institutional branding. A customizable candidate portal allows you to do that—your team can include video messages from community members, campus and community tours that showcase your culture, and other personal touches that help candidates understand your institution.

Create an inclusive culture

According to research by CUPA-HR, “we can no longer assume that the U.S. workforce considers higher education to be a great place to work…. most under-25-year-olds have poor perceptions of higher education culture and compensation… [and] 70 percent of Black Americans and 60 percent of LGBTQ+ Americans do not perceive higher education as a comfortable place to work.”

This is an urgent issue. Recruitment marketing and technology can only go so far if a majority of candidates don’t believe higher education is the place for them. It’s time to take a hard look at yourQuote: Take a hard look at your campus and examine how you can create a culture of belonging, representation, and inclusivity. campus and examine how you can create a culture of belonging, representation, and inclusivity. A culture of inclusivity often starts at the top, so make sure leadership understands the importance of DEI in workplace culture. Be sure to look at your performance management practices through a DEI lens to better understand retention. Make sure to embrace professional development and learning, since lack of growth opportunities is a top reason employees leave their jobs. Create an inclusive and unbiased culture from the start with inclusive language on job descriptions and diverse hiring committees. Look for areas of improvement by interviewing current employees about what keeps them engaged.

Final thoughts

DEI in the workplace is a many-sided challenge to tackle, but HigherEd HR teams have a lot to contribute. Between digital transformation, impacting workplace culture, and embracing recruitment marketing, your team can make a difference. Reach out to PeopleAdmin to learn more about the future of the HigherEd workforce.