The recent and long-awaited awakening of systematic racism in the United States has prompted a focused attempt to create more equitable opportunities in the labor market. Organizations are spending time reviewing their historical selection and performance data, creating new strategies to attract candidates from historically underrepresented groups, and investing resources to ensure continued support and inclusion for all team members. their community.

Startups that are in the early stages of hiring staff and building an organizational culture have the advantage of starting from scratch and can benefit from implementing recruitment and selection strategies which have proven useful in increasing diversity.

Internal Review

Before developing a strategic recruiting plan, companies should first conduct a thorough internal review of the company’s culture, values, and future plans for growth and evolution. Defining these organizational attributes will help the business better understand the types of individuals that will thrive in the environment so that it can 1) market the business accurately and 2) maximize person-organization fit (OP fit). ). PO fit describes the extent to which an individual’s skills, values, and preferences are compatible with the organization’s core values ​​and offerings and have been linked to greater job satisfaction, performance to work and organizational commitment as well as reduced turnover. Defining the company’s current and desired culture, values ​​and growth goals can serve as a starting point for accurately marketing the company to potential candidates, understanding the attributes and values ​​of candidates who will be the best fit to the business and create awareness and selection. methods accordingly.

Information sharing

Once an organization has done a thorough internal scouting, they can then start sharing relevant information with potential candidates. Overall, much of this information is gleaned by applicants from organizations’ websites. Indeed, organizations’ websites are often the main source of information for candidates and can provide a positive first impression and communicate its culture to leverage the PO fit. Research also suggests companies can’t go wrong by sharing too lots of information about the organization on their website and via social media.

Companies can also ensure that information provided on their websites and social media pages demonstrate pictorial diversity, as the inclusion of minority images has been shown to increase organizational attraction among Latinos and black people. Including video testimonials from any current employee that reflects the diversity the organization is trying to attract can also improve employer attractiveness. Finally, organizations looking to increase diversity – but with little core diversity – need to be honest about their current diversity climate with potential candidates. Being transparent about current diversity numbers, as well as future growth goals and specific strategies being taken to improve the diversity climate, can also be an effective strategy. It is far better for an organization to provide an accurate snapshot of the current environment so that informed decisions can be made, as inflated and inaccurate expectations among new entrants can lead to job dissatisfaction and turnover.

Targeted recruitment

Companies looking to increase the demographic diversity of candidates can also engage in targeted recruiting through targeted advertising and promotion to schools that graduate high numbers of underrepresented minority degrees. For example, partnerships with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), such as Prairie View A&M University, Texas Southern University, and St. Phillip’s College, can ensure broad reach. Creating virtual tour days, offering student lectures, and other educational outreach programs with these institutions can broaden awareness and interest.


Organizations should continue to ensure fair opportunities for all, even after receiving applications from a diverse group. Screening applicants based on certain pieces of information in the application may run counter to efforts to create a diverse workforce. For example, relying on standardized exam scores, such as SAT and ACT, can have a negative impact on underrepresented minority candidates. Letters of recommendation are also often used for selection, despite their discriminatory background and evidence showing differences between genders and socio-economic groups. Finally, the use of unstructured interviews can also increase sensitivity to biases against minority groups. Thus, companies should only integrate selection tools and processes that will not disadvantage candidates from different backgrounds.

Other selection methods can help programs achieve their diversity goals. For example, the inclusion of structured interviews can ensure that interviewers avoid common interview mistakes and provide unbiased assessments. Often, small details can have a big impact on hiring decisions. For example, candidates with ethnic accents and names are often at an interview disadvantage, receiving less favorable interview scores. Similarly, overweight applicants receive significantly lower performance ratings in interviews, compared to average-weight applicants. Finally, studies have shown a general bias against pregnant women in interviews. Fortunately, these studies have also shown that structured interviews reduce these biases. Thus, it is essential to standardize the questions asked and train interviewers to avoid inappropriate and potentially illegal questions.

In conclusion, companies looking to increase the diversity of their workforce need to consider their recruitment and selection practices and policies. Unfortunately, there are no “quick fixes”. Creating a thriving culture for diversity, equity and inclusion requires intentional focus and allocation of time and resources.


Aimee Gardner is the co-founder of SurgWise, a technology consulting firm for hiring surgeons, and associate dean at Baylor College of Medicine.