Why diversity recruitment needs to be different

by | Mar 14, 2019 | Diversity recruitment, Insights


A talented diverse candidate recently openly shared her frustrations about her dealings with a leading recruitment firm.

Samiha Shimla, from the Arrival Network, shared her disappointment on LinkedIn about applying for a role at a leading UK recruiter.

The trouble is when you get beyond the marketing and public relations messages, many recruitment firms fall short in diversity recruitment because they don’t know how to change themselves or their clients. They have just thrown more candidates at problems and hope it sticks.

Challenges facing diversity recruitment:

  • Recruitment firms don’t have access to the right levels of employable diverse talent
  • Diverse talent needs additional support and training
  • Often historical and unnecessary application demands exclude diverse talent
  • Recruitment firms often have their own biases and beliefs alongside their clients
  • Recruiters struggle to influence the client’s cultures or recruitment approaches
  • When it comes to retention, recruitment firms don’t have the necessary insight to understand what isn’t working and why and they certainly don’t have the tools to do anything about it
  • Recruitment is basically a margins business, so recruiters will try and place who they have or who they can easily access

The talent is there, they just don’t know how to find it

When it comes to diversity, recruitment firms often say that the diverse talent isn’t there but that simply isn’t true. We need a change in how we should perceive or evaluate talent; how we should evaluate their experience, as well as how different talent might communicate, look or sound like.

However, when so many recruitment firms struggle to change their own cultures and behaviours, including recruiting and retaining their own staff, never mind diverse staff, how are they supposed to be credible in helping their clients meet their diversity needs?

Talent has had enough and has started shouting about it.

Increasingly diverse candidates and staff will share their frustrations on social media as they should but it represents a risk factor for recruiters and their clients. The story below being an example:

Samiha was excited about getting a placement in a major UK recruitment firm. An organisation, who no doubt, needs people like Samiha to help them better understand diverse talent like her.

Although in her mind, she was good enough, she wasn’t selected. However, on reflection, concluded that regardless of how able she was, the recruitment firm in question would have never hired someone like her. This is on top of the fact that she knew their regional office struggles with its diversity staffing levels, despite being in the highly diverse city of Birmingham.

Are recruiters able to change quickly enough?

Sadly, our talent tells us this is an all too common experience. But it undermines the credibility of recruitment firms, who are simultaneously selling their diversity recruitment services. Ironically the same firm was attempting to fill a Diversity and Inclusion Manager role.

All these issues are very resolvable, it just requires change but are mainstream recruiters really able to change? We have reached out to the firm in question and await a response.

We have been supporting forward-thinking businesses to prepare, attract, retain and develop diverse talent for over a decade delivery and has built its own diversity network of thousands of social and ethnically employable diverse talent. Speak with Daniel Snell, our Director, if you’d like to understand more about diversity recruitment and how it can help your organisation.

LinkedIn | daniel.snell@arrivaleducation.com