When the Alliance for Board Diversity partnered with Deloitte to examine the gender and racial representation of Fortune 500 boardrooms, their findings painted an alarming yet encouraging picture: Minorities represented only 12.8% of 5,600 board seats in 2010; by 2018, that representation had increased to 34%. While any progress is good, there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Although many homogeneous workforces are the result of bias and discrimination, it hasn’t always been easy for companies in certain locations to improve diversity. For example, white people make up more than 72% of the population of Portland, Oregon. In the past, companies would have to fly recruiters to locations with more diverse populations to find potential candidates.

The recent shift to virtual hiring makes it easier than ever to meet or exceed your diversity initiatives. It’s no longer possible to excuse poor workforce representation when you have easy access to a diverse candidate pool. In addition to recruiting from the next town over, you can now target certain groups of people on job search websites the same way marketers advertise via Facebook and Google.

How to Recruit Diverse Candidates

After 2020 brought racial injustice and inequality into stark focus, more companies have been implementing diversity initiatives and inclusion efforts. For example, Capital One aims to hire diverse candidates for a variety of positions. To do this, the banking giant has hosted nearly 200 diversity-specific events and partnered with groups like the National Society of Black Engineers.

In addition to improving equity, diverse employee representation broadens perspectives and helps you reach and serve different markets. You’ll never understand the customer’s story unless you have someone on your team who has lived through similar situations. Research from the Boston Consulting Group supports this: Companies with diverse leadership teams tend to be more profitable and innovative.

Do you need help attracting diverse candidates? Follow these two virtual hiring strategies:

1. Deliberately market your openings.

If you want to find and hire a diverse team, you’ll have to account for that goal in your marketing budget. Too many managers ask human resources departments to increase diversity only to hear that there aren’t enough diverse applicants. For example, the Professional Golfers’ Association of America designed a survey to figure out why it wasn’t attracting diverse candidates. It discovered that 76% of people weren’t aware of any career opportunities with the PGA. While people might have been familiar with the organization itself, it had failed to market its job openings adequately.

2. Diversify your job descriptions.

If you work for a large organization, there’s a good chance your HR department has been recycling the same old job postings for years. If that’s the case, it should come as no surprise that you’re attracting similar applicants over and over. Remember that different cultures and geographic locations have their own slang and buzzwords. By using diverse keywords, language, and descriptions, you should attract candidates representing more diverse backgrounds.

Diversity initiatives are gaining momentum — and rightfully so. They impact your bottom line, make your company a better place to work, and improve your ability to connect with customers. As virtual hiring becomes more commonplace, you’ll need to target a diverse candidate pool to meet your diversity and business goals.

To learn more about diversity and inclusion officer positions in companies, click here to read a short synopsis from my company’s upcoming whitepaper.