5 Diversity Recruiting Strategies Used by the Fortune 500

      Building the best team possible is about more than finding people who fit well together. A talented team consists of diverse individuals who all bring unique experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives to the table.

      However, building a diverse team of individuals is harder than many people realize. Poorly written job postings, unclear company values, and unknown biases keep companies from reaching their full potential when hiring job candidates. What they’re left with are relatively homogeneous teams full of the same perspective. 

      Many Fortune 500 companies set an excellent example of what proper diversity and inclusivity recruitment look like. Below are five strategies Fortune 500 companies use to increase diversity and improve company awareness.

      Diversity Recruiting Strategy #1: Adjust Screening & Search Practices

      A majority of job postings are filled either through internal hires or referrals. Referrals and internal promotions aren’t inherently bad, however, if the staff is made up of one demographic, you’re unlikely to increase company diversity. Fortune 500 companies have an advantage over smaller companies when it comes to referrals because the staff tends to be more diverse simply due to the company size.

      However, businesses like Boston Consulting Group also take a more active approach to diversity recruitment by partnering with impactful programs. For example, BCG partnered with Management Leadership for Tomorrow and expanded outreach to historically black colleges and universities. By recruiting from these two networks, BCG has increased its talent pool and opened its doors to promising professionals. 

      Diversity Recruiting Strategy #2: Develop Early Career & Mentorship Programs

      College campuses are a great place to start diversity recruitment. Young professionals are eager to gain experience and connect with new companies in their field. By developing specific early career programs and offering mentorship opportunities, your company can attract promising young talent to the team. Of course, make sure the language used during the job and internship fairs is inclusive to all demographics, or target a specific demographic. For example, if your company is trying to increase the number of women in the workplace, develop a program that caters to young female professionals. 

      Intel is a leading example of how to develop programs for future diversity recruitment. Intel partnered with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. Through this partnership, intel provides financial support to students as well as offering a mentorship program to participants and internship opportunities. 

      Diversity Recruiting Strategy #3: Increase Employee Awareness

      If you really want to hit your diversity goals, increasing diversity and inclusion awareness is a must. Everyone has unconscious biases that impact the hiring process. By raising awareness of these unconscious biases and practices, employees and hiring staff can start making a concentrated effort to avoid bias decisions.

      A simple way to start is by asking employees to be more cognizant of referrals. Encourage them to refer female candidates as well as people of color. Pinterest employed this simple strategy as well as implementing more active awareness measures. The company has every employee take unconscious bias training and it also requires that one woman and one minority interview for each job. 

      Diversity Recruiting Strategy #4: Update Company Language, Values & Goals

      Company language is powerful, and it says a lot to employees as well as potential employees. What does your company language say about diversity and inclusivity? It should be clear to outsiders, as well as insiders, that your business strongly values racial, gender, religious, and other types of diversity. Review the company website, job postings, and other communications and look for language that may be excluding particular groups of people. 

      Slack is a tech company that has mastered diversity recruitment by developing unbiased language for the interview process. The company uses a program called Textio to screen job postings for potentially biased language. They’ve also cut down on interview biases by developing a list of standard interview questions. Each candidate is asked the same questions to cut back on bias “gut” feelings about candidate company fit. 

      Diversity Recruiting Strategy #5: Hire Diversity Managers

      Diversity recruitment requires the development of an in-depth recruitment strategy. The research, planning, organizing, training, and implementation involved is a lot of work which is why many companies develop diversity hiring teams and managers. Diversity managers have extensive background experience and knowledge of diversity and inclusivity practices. By hiring diversity managers, your company will have dedicated resources for improving diversity practices, so you’ll see results more quickly.  

      Many companies hire a chief diversity officer while others, like Microsoft, hire a chief accessibility officer. Both roles dedicate their attention and time to recruiting and developing talent among differently-abled people as well as underrepresented communities.


      According to Glassdoor, 76 percent of job seekers and employees say that a diverse workforce is important when evaluating a company. By ignoring inclusion and diversity, you’re not only missing out on a valuable talent pool, but promising candidates are also disregarding your business as a place to work. Follow the example of Fortune 500 companies and start implementing diversity and inclusion practices today. 

      National Diversity Executive Search Firm | How We Help

      Our hands-on executive recruiters have experience working with private, public, pre-IPO, and non-profit organizations. Clients are typically $50 million in revenue to Fortune 1000’s or have assets between $500 million to $15 billion.

      Successful placements span the entire C-Suite – CEOChief Operating OfficerChief Financial Officer, and include vice presidentgeneral counsel, and other director-level leadership roles.

      Read more of our industry-leading diversity recruiting resources to see why Cowen Partners is a leading diversity and inclusion executive search firm in New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas, Los Angeles, and beyond:

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