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Hi, I'm a Diversity Candidate!

Hi, I'm a Diversity Candidate!

I was honored to be asked to co-author a blog for the Fox School of Business at Temple University. The topic was centered on minority recruitment in the private sector. Check it out! 

Diversity Recruiting remains one of the hardest challenges in workplace recruiting and retention initiatives. There are numerous diversity career fairs, targeted diversity job boards, and myriad diversity associations that work towards building synergy for diversity candidate talent pipelines. From my past experience in diversity recruiting, this was a sample corporate diversity recruiting plan:

  • Obtain buy-in from executive leadership as well as introduce a culture change internally
  • Recruiters can become a Certified Diversity Recruiter
  • Corporate recruiting team attends career fairs aimed at recruiting diversity candidates
  • Allocate a marketing budget towards diversity initiatives including posting jobs on diversity job boards
  • Establish internships and partnership programs at designated diversity universities and colleges

NOTE:
I want to highlight that currently, in some states in the United States, employees can be fired for disclosing themselves as LGBTQ, and legislation such as the Employee Non-Discrimination Act is currently pending passage. The hurdle for diversity candidates here is jurisdiction.


However, with all of the career related resources out there for diversity candidate, I wanted to know more about their job search behavior. I reflected on my own experiences as a diversity candidate (and recruiter), and then I sought out a diversity expert, Victor Santana-Melgoza, to get his perspective and insight on the topic.

Together we discussed the following questions about what we believed were the most pressing questions regarding diversity recruitment:

(Begin Interview)

1. Do diversity candidates know how to search for ‘diversity jobs’ i.e. jobs posted specifically on diversity job boards?

Vaughn:
I have searched for diversity jobs, but I only truly became aware of diversity job boards when I was a diversity recruiter i.e. way past graduating college. The closest I came to becoming aware of this new way of thinking as a “diversity candidate” was when I attended a targeted career fair / conference in New York City, NY (which I was invited to – I didn’t proactively seek it out): http://www.outforundergrad.org/our-conferences/business/

Victor:
I would agree. I have studied and worked at a Hispanic Serving Institution, and even within their Career Services office, and before this conversation I hadn’t even heard of a diversity job board. I think with the lack of awareness of such boards, it makes it that much more difficult to search for them. My questions would be what the diversity job boards are doing to promote themselves? Where are they targeting their existence to say, “Hey, look for jobs here if you are a diversity candidate.”

2. Do diversity candidates search for jobs differently than ‘regular’ job seekers?

Vaughn:
I do not think diversity candidates search for jobs differently than ‘regular’ job seekers, and I think this is kind of the disparity complex I believe exists. An obvious example I can think of is: Veterans. I think they perform a job search as anyone would.

Victor:
I think there is some difference in how diversity candidates search for jobs as opposed to their ‘non-diversity’ counterparts. I think diversity candidates may (or should) do more homework on the company’s culture and how it might impact their ability to work there. For example, if a company does not have a nondiscrimination clause that includes sexual orientation/gender identity, LGBT candidates might think twice, or have concerns, about applying for a position with them.

3. Do diversity candidates begin a job search with, “I’m a diversity candidate therefore I should search like a diversity candidate” OR do they even self identify as a diversity candidate?

Vaughn:
I think diversity candidates are aware they are a diversity candidate and would self identify when they attend professional organizations, such as Society of Women Engineers. However, I think once leaving those organizations they would fall into a “standard practice” of job hunting.

Victor:
I would agree. As the previous questions have hit on, it depends on how the candidate sees her/himself. Specifically in job searches, I think how you are recruited can have some impact on what kind of candidate job searchers see themselves as. For example, at my university, many companies come because they know we serve a high proportion of Hispanic students with very high skill levels. So in that case, candidates already know why they are being recruited, and probably see this as an advantage.

4, If diversity candidates think of themselves as traditional candidates, should they begin to think of themselves as diversity candidates?

Vaughn:
This is a really hard question. I think currently on my resume there is not anything that would identify me as a diversity candidate. Therefore, unless I applied via a specific portal or got an internal referral where the referral mentioned I was a diversity candidate, I would fall short in a diversity recruiting initiative. Ultimately this hurts me and the company trying to expand diversity in their workforce.  To answer the question – I think diversity candidates just need to have more “awareness” of resources that exist for them along with “traditional methods” of applying for jobs.

Victor:
This is a great closing question. I agree that it is a complex issue. I think there are several considerations that diversity candidates have to answer for themselves. Does the ‘targeted’ identity (e.g. race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) have much bearing on how they seem themselves. Maybe a lesbian candidate does not consider her sexual orientation as a leading factor in her job search. Does being a diversity candidate give a different perspective on how others might see them? If companies are simply filling quotas, or not invested in truly creating a culture of diversity, seeing oneself as a diversity candidate might be burdensome on them.

One side comment: I think it’s interesting Vaughn mentioned that nothing on his resume indicates he is a diversity candidate. I know for myself, my name is an instant indicator of my racial/ethnic origin. This in itself has historically (and currently) presented its own issues on how job recruiters view prospective applicants, and candidates are very aware of this. Questions like, “Does my name sound too ethnic?” or “Should I put that I am chair of my LGBT alumni group on my resume?” are very real concerns diversity candidates must face.

Click here to see the blog post in its entirety on the Fox Alumni website.

 

 

 

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Diversity Talks | Victor Santana-Melgoza | Ph: (541) 231-4768 | victor@diversitytalks.com