What You’re Getting Wrong About Finding Candidates of Color

Katie Augsburger candidate experience, Candidate Pool, Culture, Diversity

It is not uncommon for clients to ask me, “where should I post my open position if I want a candidate of color to apply?”

When I get asked this question, I can’t help but wonder:

“Do companies think black candidates are not using LinkedIn?” “Do organizations think their lack of a racially diverse workforce is a symptom of not posting on the right Latinx job boards?”

When we say “where should we post to attract candidates of color,” what we are doing is transferring our responsibility of making our company more diverse, to the candidate. We are absolving our responsibility for making the organization welcoming and blaming the candidate for not being able to locate us.

The underlying assumption when you ask that question is that candidates of color are less capable of finding good jobs.

If candidates of color are not applying for your open jobs, it’s not because they can’t find you, it’s because either you’re not choosing them, or they don’t want to work for you.

Your organization is at fault for the lack of diversity, not the diverse candidates you are seeking.

If you look around your company and only white faces are looking back at you, stop asking where you should be posting and start asking, “What are we doing that signals to communities of color that this is not a safe place to work?’

Move beyond, “where do I post?” and instead focus on:

  1. The Post Itself: What does your post say about who you are as an organization? How did you communicate the ways this role will create impact? Has your job listing showcased the organization as a welcoming employer? Do you center dominate culture in the way you talk about your company and the role?
  2. Your Image As An Employer: What does your presence on social media say about you? Who is featured, and what is featured? What events do you sponsor? What companies do you partner with?
  3. Your Internal Practices: Have you done internal work to make an employee experience that centers the needs of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous & People of Color)? Who was centered in the creation of your policies and practices? What is the tenure and promotion rates of people of color, and what does your leadership look like?
  4. Your Organizational History: How have you treated past employees of color? Do you have a reputation for treating employees with marginalized identities well or poorly?
  5. You: Yes, you! What have you (not your organization) done to make your workplace welcoming to employees of color? What does your personal network look like? Who do you refer to the company, and importantly, who have you neglected to refer?

If your organization is homogenous, it has been designed to be. It is important to be honest about the barriers and structures that have contributed to the lack of diversity. If you want racial diversity in your workplace, you have to create an environment where that diversity can flourish.