By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

Diversity recruiting is changing. There was a time when good faith, somewhat passive efforts were enough, but we’re in a time when diversity recruiting requires strategy and relationship building. The realm of diversity recruiting has also moved from strictly a compliance issue to leaders realizing it’s incredibly beneficial for organizations to be diverse. It’s no longer what a company must do – it’s what companies want to do. However, compliance is still an essential piece because it holds companies accountable and ensures that even companies whose leaders have less than favorable opinions about diversity in the workplace are giving everyone an opportunity.
Last year, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, or OFCCP, announced some changes to its regulations, including the Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. VEVRAA and 503 are just two of the many regulation changes enforced as of March 2014 by the OFCCP. The changes are complex and more than a year later, many of us are still left scratching our heads. Here I’ll share strategies for reaching and engaging diverse candidates, but if you are interested in diversity reporting and compliance, there are many experts in the field you can consult, including Candee Chambers with Direct Employers, an employer-owned association.
No matter what your focus, whether compliance or desiring a diverse workforce, it takes action. Building an affirmative action plan, maintaining compliance with the OFCCP and reaching diverse candidates calls for engagement, and relating to and establishing a connection with potential candidates within different diversity groups, both externally and internally. All companies should be considering using diversity recruiting programs to move beyond group-think, expand horizons and bring forth new ideas between employees, customers and the company as a whole. Here are five ways you can start doing just that:
Build Candidate Networks
Step outside the run-of-the-mill e-newsletter communications and build networks that engage candidates. Focus on technology platforms that give you autonomy, like TalentCircles, to help you engage targeted communities.
Focus on Diversity Verticals
Build specific content, conversations and resources for the communities you wish to reach. For instance, if you’re aiming to recruit veterans, hone in on the questions and conversations that veterans have.  
Provide Resources
Help candidates understand why you not only accept diversity but desire it. Provide materials online for candidates and their families, as well as current employees.
Get Engaged
No matter who you’re recruiting, there’s nothing more valuable than engagement. Find diversity-focused events that give you the opportunity to engage and foster relationships, such as an online diversity recruiting event or a women-who-code conference.
Ask questions
Ask your employees and candidates for feedback and recommendations on how to be better. They provide a unique perspective, so listen and make changes.


TalentCircles is the most comprehensive candidate engagement platform on the market. Take a product tour or request a live demo today. 

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology anthropologist specializing in HR and recruiting. She’s the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs and author of The HR Technology Field Guide. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.


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