How to Source and Attract Diversity Candidates


Diversity and inclusion is again tipped as being the hot trend for 2019. The question should possibly be why is it still a trending topic rather than something that is actually happening.


Gender inclusion policies and other diversity initiatives are faltering in many organisations and in some instances the needle is moving backwards. This is in the face of the known business benefits which we continue to ignore at our peril. There is no doubt that organisations need to be more strategic to source and attract diversity candidates as well as women.

Identifying and attracting female candidates shouldn’t be a box ticking exercise. One senior VP has told her hiring team that there should be at least one woman on the shortlist. She was obviously oblivious to the fact that research shows that this increases the likelihood of rejection. Gender balanced short lists require three female candidates. The same applies to any other non-dominant demographic.


These type of initiatives to source and attract diversity candidates are easy to measure via the usual the funnel stats. Any employer brand that succeeds in promoting an image of increased diversity and inclusion will be more likely to attract and retain top talent. Millennials are set to become the dominant demographic in our workplaces in only a few years and they have a different set of expectations around diversity and inclusion. For many, the lack of concrete programmes is a deal breaker with a significant percentage saying they would not join a business that was not openly and actively committed to inclusion.

Organisations can build more highly diversified work forces with inclusive cultures to enhance their employer brand. This requires a shift in hiring practises to become more effective at sourcing and attracting a wider range of candidates.

So how can your organization attract a more diverse and inclusive workforce, and build a strong employer brand?


3Plus can help you with some simple ways to make your hiring process appeal more to women with our FREE ebook on 12 key steps to attract, recruit and retain female talent.


Here are 5 key ways to increase your ability to source and attract diversity candidates:


1. Gender awareness training

In order to successfully source and attract diversity candidates organisations need to commit to systemic change. The reality is most try to get by with only a tweak.  It also frequently requires an outside view to give an objective audit. One client in the financial services sector invested heavily in re-branding their career page to attract more female candidates. They were disappointed to see very little change in the number of applicants. Only a cursory external assessment showed that the language of the web site and ads were still very male coded. The new photos showed women in very passive roles with the men in the pictures appearing to be in active and dominant positions. Even the icons were male. New generations are tuned in to the sub text and expect inclusion to be embedded.

Systemic change requires not only investment, but all stakeholders whether photographers, web designers and even internal communications personnel all need to have gender awareness and unconscious bias training. It’s not enough to say we used women vendors. Women also exhibit gender bias.

2. Improve your candidate experience

Many organisations forget that the candidate experience kicks in at every point a potential candidate interacts with your brand. This will range from adverts and profiles, your social media activity, your web site and career page in particular and the ease at which they can apply. It also includes the company’s product and other branding. The candidate journey needs to continue with smoothly in all communication and every interaction before interviews and even more significantly afterwards, including the offer and onboarding process. The one size fits all approach should be a thing of the past.


source and attract diversity candidates

Contact 3Plus for help with Executive Search and Diversity Recruitment.

3. Segment your data base

Maintain a segmented data base specifically for diversity candidates which ever category they come into. This may include obvious and visible difference such as ethnicity, age, gender and so on but can also touch on more sensitive issue such as neuro-diversity, sexual orientation and even religious beliefs. Extreme care would have to be taken around GDPR and confidentiality issues and only information willingly and openly shared could be retained.

This means that every open assignment will begin with a data base search specifically looking for a diversity candidate.

4. Talent Banks

3Plus operates a Talent Bank where individuals opt in and give permission for their details to be proactively put forward to prospective hiring managers on an anonymous CV template. This means that we can stay in touch with our contacts to relay career opportunities to them. With their permission we represent them to hiring managers. This reduces the workload of each candidate.

5. Automatic contact with diversity platforms and agencies

If hiring managers automatically contact 3Plus this will mean that each job posted the organisation at least goes some way to attempt seek female candidates rather than using outdated manual systems to create gender balanced shortlists.


Tackle these issues head on with our Managing Unconscious Bias and Inclusive Workplace workshops.

Contact 3Plus now!

Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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