Companies that pursued domestic emerging markets were among the first to realize the importance of employing a workforce that reflected their customer base. Usually clustered in direct service industries such as retail, banking and finance, food, hospitality and healthcare, these organizations understood that hiring employees who spoke the language of new and diverse consumers (both linguistically and culturally) were more likely to succeed in attracting and retaining these customers.
A clear connection to the bottom line was firmly established, especially when it came to the ever-expanding Latino market.
Today’s pioneering companies also see the wisdom of employing diversity at all levels of an organization. For example, if product development managers understand the needs and wants of diverse customers, they have the power to make strategic decisions that lead to the creation of such products. A Latino employee of a retail company once told me that he would have bought a large serving platter from his own employer if such a product had been available in its stores. Instead, he purchased a platter from a competitor who clearly understood that large Latino families had different food serving needs and made the decision to meet those needs.
However, many hiring companies are discovering that finding and attracting management-level Latinos and other diverse talents can be a recruiting challenge, and candidate availability is only a part of the problem.
The following diversity recruiting tips will help you reach the management-level Hispanic candidates you need to remain competitive and meet your recruiting goals:
- Build a Strong Corporate Reputation within the Latino Community
In general, diverse candidates approach the job search differently. Latinos, in particular, tend to look for work primarily through networks of friends and family. Even when attending career fairs or using online job search sites, Latinos are likely to talk to their trusted sources about a company before considering employment there. Thus, if you wish to hire Latinos, you must develop strong relationships with–and build a solid reputation among–Latino professional associations and key Hispanic organizations.
- Expand Your Time-to-Hire Expectations.
Employers who are not familiar with these job search approaches tend to give up too soon. Developing a diversity sourcing strategy through networking takes time and dedication, but it is an effective way to reach minority candidates and develop a diversity recruiting pipeline.
- Become a Competitive Employer.
The number of diverse professionals is relatively small but growing. Among Latinos, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that only 18 percent work in managerial, professional, and related occupations. And according to a 2006 Hispanic Trends magazine article, Latinos represent only 1.5 percent of top executives at Fortune 1000 firms and only 0.3 percent of senior-level executives in Fortune 500 companies. This means that many companies often compete for the same pool of candidates, especially in non-traditional fields such as biotechnology or actuarial science. Your company’s solid reputation in the community along with a good history of diversity inclusiveness will give you a competitive advantage.
- Understand Different Work Histories.
Top-tier Latino (and other diverse) candidates often are presented with many attractive career opportunities, so they may change jobs often. Keep this in mind if their resumes look too spotty, especially when considering diversity for high-level executive opportunities. Otherwise, you might eliminate perfectly good talent too early in the candidate selection process.
- Appeal to Diverse Values in Ads, Job Postings, and Web sites.
Many job postings and company websites fail to invite Latinos and other diverse candidates to apply for jobs. Some materials may actually alienate Hispanic job seekers. Take time to find out which specific ideas and imagery appeal to the candidates you are trying to reach. You can do this by asking your current diverse employees or by doing some secondary research.
- Focus Your Job Descriptions on Success Factors.
Requirements and responsibilities in job descriptions often are written with the incumbent in mind. This practice tends to unintentionally exclude Latinos (and other minorities) from the application process. For example, consider a job description that emphasizes years of experience over the ability to manage and relate to a diverse constituency. If this ability is key to the job—a job success factor–focusing on the experience requirement may exclude Hispanic candidates who have the necessary qualities for success in the position but haven’t been in the workforce as long as the incumbent.
- Train Interviewers to Spot Cultural Differences.
Latinos and other minorities are raised with cultural norms that are different from those of mainstream America. These cultural differences, which range from communication styles to views of time and priorities, affect how these candidates present themselves in interviews. Provide appropriate training to your recruiters and hiring managers so they can avoid overlooking and discarding diverse talent.
- Hire for Retention.
Ultimately, the success of your diversity recruiting efforts is measured by your organization’s ability to retain the employees you hire. Top diverse candidates want to work for companies that are committed to their professional growth through training programs, leadership development, and equal opportunities for career progression. If your organization offers that support, these employees will become strong and engaged contributors who will choose to stay and help you succeed.