Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have become increasingly important in the workplace. Companies are recognizing the value of having a diverse workforce that includes individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. However, achieving diversity at the executive level can be challenging. In this blog post, we will explore how companies can ensure that DEI is a top priority for recruiting leaders.

1. Start with the job description
The job description is the first point of contact with potential candidates. It should be written in a way that is inclusive and welcoming to candidates from diverse backgrounds. Avoid using gender-specific language and focus on the skills and experience required for the role. It is important to remember that if you stick solely to skills and achievements specific to a very small pool of candidates this will diminish your ability to find appropriate diversity candidates. Make sure you are looking for people who have the skills and ability to perform the work, not necessarily have accomplished 100% of everything you are looking for. Know what is essential and what is nice to have to have the largest pool of candidates.

2. Establish a diverse search committee
A diverse search committee can help to ensure that the recruitment process is inclusive and equitable. The committee should be comprised of individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. This will help to eliminate unconscious bias and ensure that all candidates are evaluated fairly. One way to accomplish this when you are starting is to ask board members and advisors who are diverse if you do not have the right mix in your company already.

3. Broaden the recruitment channels
To attract a diverse pool of candidates, companies should broaden their recruitment channels. This can include approaching associations that cater to underrepresented groups, attending networking events, and working with diversity-focused recruiting firms. By expanding the recruitment channels, companies can increase the visibility of the job opening to a wider audience.

4. Conduct blind resume reviews
To eliminate unconscious bias, companies can conduct blind resume reviews. This means removing personal information such as name, age, gender, and ethnicity from Curricula Vitae. This can help to ensure that candidates are evaluated based on their skills and experience, rather than their background. Just be sure that the skills and experience you are looking for are not so rare, or traditionally only achieved by one ethnic group that you inadvertently keep the candidate selection criteria too restrictive.

5. Incorporate diversity in the interview process
During the interview process, the interview jury should incorporate questions that focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. This helps to evaluate a candidate’s understanding of these issues, point of view, and their ability to lead a diverse team. It can also help to ensure that there is alignment with candidate and company’s values.

6. Ensure diverse representation in the final candidate pool
To ensure that diversity is a priority, companies should aim to have a diverse pool of final candidates. This means selecting candidates from different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. By doing so, companies can ensure that their executive team reflects the diversity of their workforce and customer base. One way to do this to keep the finalist criteria to 6 or fewer accomplishments, and focus more on “fit” attributes, which relates to communication style and values alignment.

7. Develop a DEI-focused onboarding process
Once the final candidate is selected, it is important to have a DEI-focused onboarding process. This includes training on unconscious bias, diversity, and inclusion. This will help to ensure that the new executive is aligned with the company’s DEI values and can lead a diverse team effectively.

In conclusion, ensuring that diversity, equity, and inclusion are top priorities in the executive recruitment process is critical for building a strong and inclusive workforce. By starting with the job description, establishing a diverse search committee, broadening the recruitment channels, conducting blind resume reviews, incorporating diversity in the interview process, ensuring diverse representation in the final candidate pool, and developing a DEI-focused onboarding process, companies can attract and retain top-tier talent from diverse backgrounds.