Managing Diversity in the Executive Search Process

Managing Diversity in the Executive Search Process

The objective of diversity hiring is to ensure that your business can identify and remove any potential biases during the executive search process.

Diverse business people working

Biases during the sourcing, screening, interviewing and shortlisting candidates phases can arise that result in businesses ignoring, or accidentally discriminating against qualified, diverse candidates. Take a step back and assess and analyze your current hiring practices. The goal is to identify any potential areas and processes that may create biases. You need to analyze your business’ hiring data and get an accurate picture of the current state of your diversity before you can remove any barriers and improve your executive search processes.

Remember that defining diversity should not only include visible diversity. Educational backgrounds, geography, economics, family status, disability, sexual preference, gender expression, religious affiliation, age, are also important to create a full view of diversity in an organization.


Businesses need to make inclusion and diversity a part of the overall culture. Hiring based on “fit” should include hiring people that expand who you are as an business and have personal and professional goals that align with that of the business. Diversity attracts diversity. Something as simple as taking a look at the images on your website and social profiles should showcase your diversity. Candidates will peruse your digital footprint and will pay attention to the diversity of it.

67% of job seekers use diversity as an important factor when considering companies and job offers. Source: Glassdoor

Job Descriptions

Shot of pretty young business woman working with laptop in the office.

One of the most common places where biases can be found in today’s hiring is in the language used in job descriptions. There have been a number of studies that have found that the types of words and language used in a job description can attract or repel diverse candidates from being interested in a role. Words like “dominant” and “competitive” are seen as positive traits for men, however they are seen as negative traits for women. Words like “loyalty”, “passion” and “collaborative” have been shown to appeal more to women.

Prioritize Skills

Business negotiation skills with female executive sitting at office desk with confident pose and hands crossed, body language for determination and willpower

Creating a list of prioritized skills beforehand helps fairly and effectively evaluate candidates with different but equal experiences. Disregard any unnecessary criteria or skills that will not impact how someone will perform in the role.

Diverse Interviewers

Female Candidate Being Interviewed For Position In Office

Ensure that you represent diversity with the people that interview candidates. Experts say one of the biggest deciding factors on whether or not a female candidate accepts a job is if there was a woman on the interview panel.