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December 06, 2023

Building Diverse Interview Panels Effectively

Diverse interviewing panels are a powerful tool for recruiting teams. They drive increased excitement and engagement among candidates, especially for candidates belonging to historically marginalized groups, and they help lend credence to your organization’s commitment to DEI.

Moreover, diverse interviewing panels have large upsides for the business. Building a diverse set of voices into the candidate selection process broadens buy-in for new hires, and it can help reduce potential bias in recruiting decision-making.

However, participating in interviews, especially for high-volume recruiting sequences, can be taxing, and, if planned poorly, can backfire by burning out panelists or even making them feel tokenized.

Five steps for creating diverse interview panels intentionally and effectively:

1. Before recruiting begins, work with hiring managers to build a broad coalition of potential interviewees drawing on both the recruiters’ and hiring managers’ internal connections. This distributes the interviewing load and will help prevent panelist burnout.

2. Be clear about your “why” for asking people to participate in panels that go beyond their demographic identity. 

a. Are they a potential mentor to the new hire?

b. Would new hires be in an adjacent or related team or workflow?

c. Does the panelist have a particular frame of experience that’s relevant to this hiring sequence?

3. Ensure that panelists have a genuine seat at the table for select decisions. For example, implementing formal debriefing sessions for interviewers to give feedback on candidates is one way to ensure that panelists feel that their perspectives are reaching hiring managers.

4. Actively solicit recommendations from panelists for individuals to bring into the interviewing process to continually build your pool of interviewers.

5. As interviews progress, proactively communicate with panelists to gauge their level of continued enthusiasm and bandwidth, and adjust interview scheduling accordingly to preempt burnout.

See how we can help TA leaders develop inclusive processes

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