How to attract a diverse candidate pool and track diversity in your hiring funnel

Ruby Dark

Nov 24, 2021

Even when you’re fully committed to improving diversity, you still have to put in the work to reach the right candidates. Without tapping into new networks, you’ll end up hiring similar people again and again. So, what’s the remedy? We’ve searched far and wide to bring you a directory of over 25 diverse job boards. Post your vacancies on a range of these job sites to boost your reach.

One of the biggest struggles that companies face when hiring for diversity is actually attracting a diverse range of candidates. Even with a solid idea of what good looks like, how do you get there? If your job postings are only attracting one demographic group, then hitting your diversity goals will be impossible.

You need to craft your whole hiring process with fairness and diversity in mind. That includes the very top of the funnel — attracting candidates.

To measure whether you are attracting diverse candidates, you need to track diversity throughout the hiring funnel. Remember the graphs we showed you in our first hiring post? Tracking diversity gave us solid evidence that our actions were working.

With this data, you’ll be able to visualise diversity and identify any leaks in the pipeline. If you see any stages where certain groups drop off at higher rates than others, it could be a sign of biased processes which need to be fixed.

Diverse group of people walking across road

There are several reasons why you might be struggling to tap into diverse networks, and we’ll dive into these in a future blog post. Today, we focus on the solutions. One that’s bound to get results is to diversify your recruitment channels.

Checklist of actions:

  1. Post your role on a variety of job boards, especially those aimed at underrepresented talent.
  2. Track the gender and ethnicity (at least) of candidates, along with where they found the vacancy, to determine which job boards give you the most diverse applicant pool.
  3. Track the gender and ethnicity of candidates at each drop-off stage of your hiring process to identify any leaks in your pipeline.

Why you need to shake up your recruitment channels

How do you currently advertise your vacancies? You probably post on a few trusted job boards that boast a broad reach. But do these generalised job sites give you access to underrepresented talent?

Dominant job boards like LinkedIn, Indeed or Monster rely on AI to decide who gets to see your posting. They’ve worked to avoid biased algorithms, but your job postings still might not be exposed to a broad crowd. To avoid getting tripped up by the algorithm, you’ll want to post on various specialised boards, not just the big ones.

What’s more, underrepresented candidates will be looking for signals that their application is welcome and that they’ll face fair assessment. Posting on specialised job boards sends the message that you take diversity seriously. As an employer, you’ll seem more attractive to underrepresented groups when they see you’re making a proactive effort to reach them.

🎓 Did you know that 19% of computer science graduates are women, ready to enter the workforce, but only 12% of British software engineers are women? To close the gap between the diversity of your workforce and the talent pool, reach out specifically to underrepresented talent. Job boards are a passive way to diversify your talent pool, we’ll cover active sourcing in a later post. Stay tuned!

How to attract diverse candidates

To amplify the reach of your job vacancies, you need to cast a wide net and post on multiple platforms, including job boards targeted specifically at underrepresented groups.

We’ve searched far and wide to bring you a variety of job boards targeted at different groups, professions and locations. These sites offer you access to the top talent who may otherwise be excluded from typical recruitment networks. And now you can find them all in one place.

By the way, we don’t have any partnerships or official agreements with these job boards. We’ve listed the boards we’ve come across so far, and we’ll be adding to them over time.

Happy searching!

👉 The Fair HQ directory of job boards

Our Fair HQ recommendation: Cast your net widely and reach a diverse candidate pool by posting on multiple job sites, especially those aimed at underrepresented groups.

Track diversity through the hiring funnel

Once you diversify your recruitment channels, make sure you track the impact. Some job boards might give you a broader reach than others. A full view of the data will help you prioritise job sites that attract the most diverse pool of candidates.

It’s also good practice to measure candidate diversity at each drop-off stage of your hiring. This way, you can scrutinise your processes to identify where you’re losing diversity in the pipeline, which points towards biased processes. If you’ve recently embedded new hiring practices, this is a great way to measure the impact of your changes.

1) Add demographic questions to your application form

To collect demographic information, add a few questions at the end of your application:

  • What is your gender identity? Man, Woman, Non-binary, Prefer to self-describe, Prefer not to say
  • What is your ethnicity? White, Asian, Black, Mixed ethnicity, Prefer not to say (UK Census categories)
  • Do you have a disability? yes / no
  • What is your age? 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65+
  • What is your country of origin? UK / Europe / Other

These are just some examples. Track any metric of diversity that you’re seeking to improve, such as socioeconomic status, neurodiversity, religious background or country of origin.

⚠️ Check with your legal team or DPO before asking these questions. Data protection regulations differ by country, so make sure you’re compliant.

Always ask candidates how they came across your posting so you can track which job boards give you the best reach:

  • How did you find our job posting? (to make it even easier, list all active job boards you’ve posted on)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Don’t store this sensitive information alongside candidates’ CVs and application details. This could inadvertently introduce bias. Keep demographic data totally separate from managers in charge of interviews and assessments.


2) Track which job boards work best for you

Measure the representation of candidates who reached your vacancy at each job board you posted on. Which job boards gave you the most diverse pool? Did any job boards give you a mostly homogenous group of candidates?

Make use of your findings next time you’re posting a vacancy — prioritise the boards that gave you the most diverse pool of applicants.

Our Fair HQ recommendations:

  1. Ask candidates how they found the job posting so that you can track the impact of job boards.
  2. Track the gender and ethnicity of candidates at each drop-off stage of your hiring to identify any leaks in the pipeline.


One important note before you get started…

Diversifying your recruitment channels isn’t about lowering the bar to attract more applicants. Every candidate should face the same treatment and go through a robust assessment process to make sure they’re fit for the job.

In order to maintain diversity throughout your hiring funnel, you need to create an equitable hiring process that cuts out bias at every stage. Candidates should be judged squarely on skill and potential, not their background.

Our next posts in this series will cover exactly how to set up an equitable hiring process from start to finish. Stay tuned!


Backing it up

Avery, D. R., & McKay, P. F. (2006). Target practice: An organizational impression management approach to attracting minority and female job applicants. Personnel Psychology, 59, 157-187

Kaul, K. (2021). Refining the referral process: Increasing diversity for technology startups through targeted recruitment, screening and interview strategies. Strategic HR Review.

Payscale (2017) ‘The impact of job referrals: Effects on pay, engagement, diversity

Rubineau, B., & Fernandez, R. M. (2010). Tipping Points: Referral Homophily and Job Segregation. MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 4783-10

Yates, J., Plagnol, A.C. (2021) Female computer science students: A qualitative exploration of women’s experiences studying computer science at university in the UK. Educ Inf Technol