Leverage external hiring, upskilling and reskilling partners

The following are examples of organizations available for partnership to help you diversify your talent pipeline, and tips and suggestions for working with them.

Establish relationships with external resources for a diverse talent pipeline

Hire from great job-readiness organizations that include effective screening and pre-training for employability and job-specific skills:

There are a number of virtual career fairs and job boards designed for specific populations. These offer a low-cost way to meet prospective candidates and reach your target group. A few good fairs to consider: 

When possible, consider using avatars (rather than real photos) to connect with candidates at virtual career fairs. This can help decrease bias and make candidates more comfortable. 

Support existing apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs

  • CareerWise Colorado is a good source.
  • Find those supported by your industry association and community colleges through the CO-HELPS/CO-TECH grants. These provide opportunities for low-income people that otherwise can’t afford the training to work their way to the middle class.

Support and hire from existing rapid training to entry-level job programs

There are many of these preparing job seekers for a variety of jobs.


How one company made changes to be more inclusive

In early 2015, leaders at Microsoft identified a number of inadvertent barriers knocking applicants with autism off course, including overly-complicated job descriptions, limited outreach to the Autistic community, a lack of awareness training for interviewers, and a general sense that Microsoft was unattainable for people with disabilities. By removing these barriers, the leaders believed they could access an untapped talent pool to diversify and improve their workforce. Within a few months, they launched the Autism Hiring Program, an initiative for individuals with autism that works to remove barriers they face in the hiring process, including offering mock interviews, awareness / etiquette training for interviewers, and support for new hires.

Following its launch in the summer of 2015, the program has grown to cover six key roles and resulted in over 100 hires including Pauley (highlighted in the video) who joined the company in 2016.

While Pauley’s story ultimately ended in success, his struggle to find employment reflects broader issues with conventional sourcing strategies, which screen out a variety of high-potential candidates, including people without a college degree, mothers returning to work, veterans, and ex-prisoners. Many of these populations also correlate with race and gender.

*Small Business Pro Tip: Review your jobs and career pathways. Identify one career pathway you can engage with a resource listed above to diversify your future workforce.