Recruitment & Selection

Is Your Company Putting the Best Face Forward When Recruiting Minority Candidates?

In recent years minority recruitment has become more and more imperative for companies. A diverse company can avoid legal woes, improve public image, and legitimize itself to minority customers. With the increased importance of a diverse workforce, it has become important to consider the best practices for recruiting minority candidates. While it may seem that the same guidelines for recruiting majority candidates should be used, this is not entirely accurate.

Selecting an Employer

Consider yourself as a minority candidate deciding between two companies that have each extended a job offer. The companies are similar in a number of aspects, but they are not identical. Company A overtly displays the presence of minorities in the organization through recruitment literature, while Company B exhibits no such minority presence. Additionally, you were pleasantly surprised by the prevalence of minorities whom you were introduced to during your site visit at Company A, and you were equally disappointed to see minority representation only existed at the lowest levels of the organization in Company B. As a minority candidate, which company would you perceive as more friendly? When minority candidates are selecting an employer they will, either implicitly or explicitly, more likely choose the company they perceive as the most positive toward minorities. While a company may try to portray an image that discrimination against minority candidates does not occur, the perception of a job seeker can be drastically different.

Changing Impressions

To make your company appear more favorable to minority job seekers, it is important for the job seeker to see that your company hires and promotes minorities. While this can be advertised through recruitment literature, it will not be fully accepted by the minority job seeker until the candidate visits the company.

The Site Visit

Site visits are generally a late step in the recruitment process, and candidates who have reached this point are more likely to be offered a job. However, this step in the process is also the point at which 75% of job seekers decide whether or not to accept an offer, if one is extended. With the site visit being so important to a candidate’s choice of accepting an offer, it is important to maximize the chances of the candidate choosing your company. To ensure minority candidates view your company favorably during the site visit, it is important for them to notice a minority presence in the company, both with potential coworkers and supervisors. This can put the candidate at ease, because they will see that your company has a culture that accepts and promotes minorities. Additionally, the candidate may be more at ease knowing that they are not the only minority in the workgroup. The final important aspect of the site tour is meeting with the potential supervisor. While the recruiter cannot change who the supervisor is, the recruiter can take steps to ensure the supervisor’s behavior is inviting to the candidate. Many people can unknowingly display negative non-verbal reactions to minority candidates, like blinking excessively, being physically avoidant, or maintaining poor eye contact. Recruiters can help ensure that the supervisor avoids these pitfalls by discussing them with him or her in a tactful manner. For instance, the topic of minority recruiting does not need to be broached with the supervisor; instead, just remind the supervisor that the applicant is interviewing the company as much as the company is interviewing the applicant. In that context, the recruiter can remind the supervisor of some potentially negative non-verbal queues that should be avoided with all applicants. Remember, recruiters have more contact with the candidate than anyone else in the company pre-hire, so recruiters should pay extra attention to avoid exhibiting negative body language and be as friendly and inviting as possible.

Interpretation by:

David Daly

DeGarmo Group

This was a summary of the research and practice implications from: Mckay, P. F., & Avery, D. R. (2006). What has race got to do with it?  Unraveling the role of racioethnicity in job seekers’ reactions to site visits. Personnel Psychology, 59, 395-427.