It should be no surprise when we say this—There is a lot that needs to change when it comes to diversity and inclusion within the workforce. We want to open doors and create more equitable opportunities for everyone. In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re going to hone in on how to specifically increase Latinx and Hispanic hires.
We’re going to start with some not so pretty facts.
Last year, Google reported that out of 100,000+ employees, only 5.9% are Latinx.
And according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, when looking at the tech industry nationwide, only 3.1% to 5.3% of Latinx employees are at the executive level. That’s even more astounding when you compare it to the reported number of white executives, which is at 83.3%.
Hiring isn’t the only problem. There are numerous issues when it comes to retaining Latinx employees and making them feel safe, supported, and empowered. This is exemplified by a study published by Coqual. They report that in the Latinx community, “more than three out of four (76%) expend energy repressing parts of their personas in the workforce.”
Not only do we need to make major changes in the hiring process, but we also need to work immensely hard to create an environment where Latinx and Hipsanic employees can thrive.
Company execs have long hinted that the problem lies within the “pipeline,” as if somehow that takes away their responsibility.
For companies who really want to make a change, we've put together some actionable steps your organization can take now.
9 Ways To Widen Your Hispanic + Latinx Candidate Pool
1. Look Beyond A Resume
A resume can only tell you so much about a candidate. Yes, you will get an idea of their previous experience and accomplishments in the workforce. But here’s what it’s not going to tell you: their drive, how ambitious they are, level of commitment, what they value, their resiliency, communication style, and more.
If you stick to only sorting through resumes and not seeing the bigger picture, you lose out on great candidates. And more importantly, you could be missing out on exceptional employees.
According to the Pew Research Center, 66% of Latinx individuals didn’t enroll in college after high school because they needed to financially support their family and focus on getting a job. When talent professionals are only resume-focused, this may be biased towards candidates from a specific socioeconomic group. When heavily weighing a candidate’s GPA or educational background, you may be overlooking certain individuals and other underrepresented groups who couldn’t afford to go to college or take an unpaid internship.
2. Widen Your GPA Requirements
If you are adamant about having a GPA requirement, then it’s best to widen your range. Keep in mind that looking for a 3.5 GPA and above is biased towards individuals that have been given an upper hand. It doesn’t take into account the people who weren’t able to afford additional educational resources that would help them achieve a higher GPA. And similar to the previous discussion, it may overlook Latinx and Hispanic individuals who have had tough lived experiences.
3. Showcase Your Company’s Diversity Mission
Your company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion shouldn’t read like a Where's Waldo book. You should be loud and proud about how your company is taking actionable steps to create equitable opportunities.
Highlight your company’s commitment to diversity on your job posts and your career page. Better yet, take it a step further and create an entire landing page on what diversity and inclusion look like at your company. That way, Latinx and Hispanic candidates and other underrepresented groups can see the genuine commitment your company has in working towards solving the diversity issue.
4. Evaluate and Broaden the Language in Your Job Posts
What we say and how we say it matters. It most certainly matters when it comes to hiring people from untapped backgrounds. The language you are using in your job posts could potentially be steering individuals away.
We get it—you want that unicorn candidate who has done it all. But when you write that job post with an exhaustive wish list of experience and skills, Latinx and Hispanic talent may feel less confident to apply. Make it realistic and include a line similar to this: “If you don’t have the exact experience or skills, but think you’d make a great fit, please apply for the role. We are looking for more than what a resume can show.”
Additionally, lessening the amount you use company jargon in your posts will go a long way. You may scare off potential candidates by using one too many acronyms that an individual is unaware of. Save the lingo for your company meetings.
5. Highlight Training Opportunities and Upward Mobility
According to a research report conducted by UnidosUS, the millennial Latinx community values career growth and advancement. If you want to attract more Latinx talent, showcase how your organization has created career advancement for your employees.
Offering paid internships is a great way to help upward mobility. Some members of the Latinx community have immediate financial needs, so unpaid internships may be out of the question. By providing a way to learn and develop career advancement while getting paid, you are opening the door for a more diverse talent pool.
One potential area of opportunity is to feature Latinx employees who moved from a service position to a tech-focused position. For instance, an employee who started out in janitorial or secretarial work and moved to a product analyst or program specialist role. Being able to see a Latinx and Hispanic peer who had access to training opportunities and who has made those professional transitions can make all the difference.
6. Rethink The Way You Are Utilizing Employee Referrals
Employee referrals are a great way to get more candidates in your pipeline. But we didn’t say diverse candidates, did we?
If your current employee demographic leans heavily white and they have homogeneous social circles, you may be missing out on a whole pool of diverse candidates. That is just going to perpetuate the cycle.
You don’t need to abandon your employee referral program just yet. Instead, offer an incentive for referrals from less represented backgrounds, like Latinx talent.
Another option is to focus less on referrals and more on leads. Candice Morgan, former Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Pinterest, shared that Pinterest found hiring success when the HR department asked for “loose connections” rather than “referrals.”
7. Connect with Latinx and Hispanic Organizations to Help Promote Open Positions
That old adage, “it takes a village” couldn’t be more true—especially when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Don’t just rely on employee referrals and job postings. Get the word out by connecting with Hispanic Latinx organizations and associations, like Nextplay, an organization devoted to closing the “economic gap for people of color.” Tell them you are looking to increase your candidate pool and you’d love their help by sharing current open roles. Be sure to talk about your mission to create an equitable opportunity for all levels of talent.
8. Train Recruiters and Hiring Teams on How to Avoid Bias
One sure way to lose potential talent is by not properly training your hiring team on how to avoid unconscious bias during the interview process. Going virtual hasn’t helped our diversity and inclusion problems either. Luckily, Canvas's team has created this helpful Ebook, Fighting Bias in a Virtual World.
Make sure D&I is at the forefront of your hiring team’s mind by equipping them with training and education. Help them understand why searching for that “perfect culture fit” can often lead to unconscious bias and a homogenous employee demographic.
9. Research the Values of the Hispanic & Latinx Community
Seek to understand the values most important to Latinx talent. Looking at some current research by UnidosUS, it appears “family and career fulfillment outrank higher salaries for many Latino millennials.” They suggest companies offer flexible schedules to allow for a stronger work-life balance.
Look at what religious holidays the Hispanic and Latinx community likes to celebrate. Create company policies around employees being able to enjoy those holidays.
Furthermore, UnidosUS’s research states “young Latinos express anxiety about saving for retirement.” Offering an employer 401(k) matching benefit and easy access to benefit counseling will help to attract more candidates.
Research, invest, and act
A lot of companies are talking about diversity. Be the company that is actually doing something to make the world a more equitable place.
Research what matters to the community. Ask your current Hispanic and Latinx employees and connect with organizations and associations. Invest in your company’s mission to focus on diversity and inclusion. Set diversity hiring goals and get specific. And lastly, don’t just sit back and hope you attract a broader talent pool. You need to be intentional and make sure you are taking actionable steps towards your goals.
Looking to hire the best, most diverse talent? See Canvas in action