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August 03, 2023

Diversity Sourcing Strategy: Addressing a Top TA Challenge

Nearly 9 of 10 leaders are concerned about reaching their DEI goals in 2023. In fact, the top challenge Talent Acquisition leaders reported in meeting their 2022 DEI goals was difficulty sourcing a diverse set of candidates. 78% of TA leaders expected the focus on DEI in hiring to increase in 2023, which may add further pressure on meeting ambitious sourcing goals. 

Top 5 DEI Goals for TA Teams in 2023

We asked TA leaders, “What are your team’s DEI goals for 2023? Select all that apply.”

52% Source a diverse slate of candidates

47% Provide internal DEI trainings 

46% Have diverse interview panels 

45% Assess & address potential bias in the recruiting process 

45% Initiate & maintain diversity partnerships


Building an Inclusive Pipeline Through Partnerships & More

A top goal for nearly half of TA teams, developing partnerships with diversity organizations can serve multiple functions for employers, such as:

  1. Sourcing diverse talent and creating a talent pipeline 
  2. Building relationships with local communities 
  3. Improving employer branding 

We asked, “What strategies has your TA team implemented to increase DEI in the initial recruiting & sourcing of candidates?” The top responses: 

54% Sourcing through diverse partnerships 

50% Attending diversity conferences 

42% Showcasing diversity initiatives 

42% Increased transparency about the recruiting process 

41% Utilizing ERGs & affinity groups in recruiting 


Re-Evaluating Traditional Concerns & Assumptions in Sourcing

Common frustrations in sourcing talent can lead well-intentioned TA professionals into believing in two common myths which may underlie the perception that diverse talent is difficult to source: 

Myth #1: TA Teams must use unique channels to source diverse candidates.

Fact: Even when comparing several groups of candidates with diverse backgrounds, most candidates use LinkedIn & Indeed. Employer branding & messaging can be critical to drawing more candidates in from these channels.

Myth #2: There aren’t enough qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds; the talent pools are too small.

Fact: While candidates from diverse backgrounds compose a large percentage of the U.S. working-age population, they are often not accordingly represented in many industries. Even when meeting the normative assumptions of being “qualified,” candidates with historically marginalized identities continue to face exclusion in recruiting. For example, Black and Latinx individuals graduate from top schools at twice the rate at which leading technology companies hire them.


Communicating Inclusivity to Candidates

If candidates of diverse backgrounds are using similar channels, what are the areas for improvement within sourcing?

The messaging used when sourcing candidates can have a profound effect on candidate engagement, and signaling an organization’s inclusive culture. There are several ways to communicate workplace inclusivity, such as within: 

Job Ads – Significantly more women than men find inclusive language in a job ad and a link to a company’s representation statistics as the most important information for indicating an inclusive and equitable workplace. 

Direct Outreach – For example, 1 out of 4 candidates report that direct outreach highlighting specific company diversity initiatives would be a highly important indicator of an inclusive and equitable workplace. 


Candidate Perspectives

We asked candidates what in a job ad makes them feel like an employer might not have an inclusive workplace. Candidates with diverse backgrounds said: 

“Using gender coded words or racially biased language in a job description would make me view an employer as not embracing an inclusive work environment.” 

“I feel like… [an] organization’s desire for equity & equitable practices really need to be stated front and center… If [it’s] not there, to me it’s a red flag.”


DEI is an ongoing priority for TA teams, but it continues to be challenging. Download our easy-to-share Advancing DEI in 2023 one-pager to check out exactly what your peers are doing to increase DEI in the sourcing, interview, and offer & sell process.

Talk to one of our experts about your diversity sourcing strategy.

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