Devan Moonsamy 

When a post becomes available in any organisation the first point of call would be the head of that department embarking on a hunt to find a replacement for the team. This results in job adverts being circulates, HR being roped in for the search and even looking internally to promote an existing staff member to a new position. 

But what if there was one decision, we could make that will ensure better diversity of applicants to fill that position in the organisation?

The Journal of Applied Psychology published a new study that found that if a woman and/or a person of colour heads a committee, it can have a huge positive impact on the diversity of applicants. 

Studies have found that applicants who find that the head hunter is a female then females are more likely to apply to the position if the head hunter is a male. 

At the same time, applicants of colour are also more likely to apply when other people of colour are actively recruiting. 

The same must be done to encourage employment of staff with disabilities. One of the ways we can try and create more diversity at work is by having a variety of people to have an opportunity at career growth. 

While job places have evolved, we do find that job postings need to evolve as well. As much as workplaces have realized the need to prioritise diversity in their teams the way these firms go about looking for talent should be re-evaluated. 

Companies need hire a diverse workforce to attract more people of colour, woman, LGBQT+ workers as well as people with disabilities. 

As an organisation we might be ready to welcome staff from all walks of life however the job description could be one of the reasons why we are not getting in a variety of applicants. 

When we start the head-hunting process a few changes could result in more diversity in our applicants. 

  • Pay careful attention to the words you use. The way a job description is worded leads to the kind of candidates that apply. Try not to use words like able bodied. This is outdated. This is a huge way to exclude people with disabilities. Words like ‘recently qualified’ also makes the applicant assume that you are favourable to younger employees. The descriptions of a job are the issue most times as this could lead to an applicant meeting most criteria’s but feels inadequate based on a few highlighted points. 
  • Rethink the listings when it comes to qualifications. Minimum requirements might isolate candidates who have the experience for a job but due to low-income backgrounds were not able to go to university. Skills and experience can be achieved outside university and we might miss out on the opportunity to employ talented individuals. 
  • Be open and upfront about the organisation wanting diversity. If your organisation wants to hire a diverse workforce be open about it. It is beneficial to you to be clear about wanting a wealth of backgrounds and ethnicity. 
  • Allow your advert to reach a wider audience. Making sure that your job listing reaches a wider audience will create a wider group of candidates who apply. 

The reality is putting in more effort to make the organisation more inclusive promotes a diverse working culture. But it should not only apply when finding new employees. This should also be applied to existing staff as well. Diversity is not about only attracting more people but also creating a diverse workplace that allows for talent to thrive. 

Devan Moonsamy is the CEO of ICHAF Training Institute, a South African TVET College. He is the author of Racism, Classism, Sexism, And The Other ISMs That Divide Us, AND My Leadership Legacy Journal available from the ICHAF Training Institute. 

The ICHAF Training Institute offers SETA-approved training in business skills, computer use, and soft skills. Devan specialises in conflict and diversity management, and regularly conducts seminars on these issues for corporates. To book a seminar with Devan or for other training courses, please use the contact details below.

Tel: 011 262 2461 | 083 303 9159 |

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