5 proven strategies to get a diverse applicant pool from a range of countries

Diversity isn’t a buzzword. It’s a must-have.

Man sitting with laptop on his lap with headphones on

Most people leaders would agree that diversity isn’t a buzzword anymore. It’s a must-have.

And this isn’t because it’s a signal that your company is doing something right. But because diverse companies do better, in some cases, as much as 70% better. Diverse teams are more creative, innovative and make better business decisions.

But getting a diverse pool of applicants can be challenging. You put out a job post, and the resumes that flood your ATS are candidates from the US and UK only (as an example).

How can you reach candidates in different countries? How do you ensure your postings are seen by those in targeted regions even if the role is fully remote?

Read on to learn how to get a diverse applicant pool from various countries. And why having access to a diverse pool of applicants is critical to unlocking better overall business performance.

How to get a diverse applicant pool from various countries

Graphic that says "5 tactics to increase diversity in your applicant pool"

Increasing diversity in your applicant pool can take some doing. But here are five tactics to get you started:

Anchor the same job in different locations

The algorithm of most job boards hasn’t adapted to the realities of distributed work. So, no matter how good your intentions are, the job post is only broadcasted to candidates within your geographical area (the UK, for example). 

One way to get around this is to post the same job post multiple times—with slight variations in the title—and then anchor each post in a different location.

Let’s imagine you were hiring engineers. Here’s what would happen:

  • Post slightly different titles. For example, software engineer (100% remote—EMEA) and software engineer (Anywhere in EMEA, 100% remote). This ensures the job board doesn’t treat your job ads as spam.
  • Update the location section of each post with the countries you are targeting—Sofia, Bulgaria or Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

This anchors the post in the selected location. Plus, people who live within and around Sofia—talent based out of Armenia or Turkey—still see your job ad and apply if they find it appealing.

Broaden your recruiting methods

You might need to broaden your recruitment efforts to include candidate watering holes that cater to minority groups.

This could mean sharing your vacancies on platforms that may or may not be focused exclusively on underrepresented populations, such as:

  • Colleges
  • Universities
  • Vocational school career centers
  • Community center job boards
  • Local chambers of commerce
  • Professional associations
  • Alumni groups
  • Networking groups or communities (online and offline)

You can go a step further and get involved or support their career events, workshops, or other local community events.

Getting actively involved increases not only the diversity of your candidate pool but also builds trust with minority groups—a crucial element in the success of your diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Ask for referrals from existing employees

Your employees are a high return, low-risk option for accessing diverse candidate pools.

Get everyone involved, especially employees from ethnic minorities. These folks often have the social capital you lack with platforms and networks that cater to underrepresented groups. 

This tactic might not work if you don’t already have a diverse workforce. If that’s the case, it might be wise to explicitly call out that the business is looking to improve its diversity mix so that employees don’t end up only referring those who look like them. 

Create and promote a diversity and inclusion policy

Following the previous point, having a diversity and inclusion policy is a great way to get your workforce involved. Set up clear guidelines and recommendations on pay equity, equal opportunity, reverse discrimination, and the various challenges that ethnic minorities battle in the workplace.

Then, promote your policy to the world. Getting the word out with verifiable case studies, proof points, and authentic stories turns your website and social channels into a beacon for diverse candidates looking out for companies building diverse teams. 

Be mindful of the language used in job postings

Evaluate the language used in your job postings for inclusiveness and gender-neutral language.

For example, adjectives such as dominant, competitive, or leader are masculine-coded words. When used in job ads, they make the job post less appealing to specific genders, reducing the applicant pool for the vacancy.

Stripping these gender-limiting words can broaden your candidate pool significantly.

Why having a diverse applicant pool is important

When you get right down to it, there’s a war for talent: competition is intense, demand far outstrips supply, and being able to recruit and retain talent from the broadest pool possible is crucial to staying competitive

What’s more, supporting the business case for having a diverse applicant pool are additional benefits, including: 

Achieve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives

It’s no secret that diverse teams are more creative, innovative, and effective. But your DEI initiative is dead on arrival without access to a diverse candidate pool. 

The first step to guarantee success with your DEI policy is to set formal goals and strategies that ensure the business has a steady flow of applicants from ethnic minorities and underrepresented groups.

Once this is in place, you can write inclusive job descriptions and publicize job openings in these venues or platforms to attract a diverse workforce. 

Cover certain time zones in customer-facing roles

Often, companies find out that they have customers scattered across the world. Operating across the time zone brouhaha can leave your customer success teams battling digital jet lag constantly.

And the more you scale, the more challenging it gets. When your customer-facing roles must coordinate calls and tasks across clients from Auckland to Nepal, you need to be ready for many frustrated employees.

Hiring talent over certain time zones is one way out of this time zone mess. This way, you don’t need to have employees running nightshifts. Plus, they’ll often speak the same language as your clients—reducing the cost of training and time to adjust to the nuances of a new market.

Offer opportunities to candidates in emerging countries 

In some instances, people leaders design their DEI initiatives to include hiring qualified candidates from emerging markets.

These applicants miss out on roles they are qualified for (including fully remote positions) simply because these roles never show up in the places or platforms they visit when job hunting. Extending the applicant pool as vast as possible opens these opportunities to qualified applicants in such countries.

Putting it all together

Diversity is challenging but well worth the effort.

The first step to creating an inclusive culture is setting up formal policies and strategies that allow you to hire and retain talent from a broad and diverse pool. However, this won’t happen overnight. 

You’ll need commitment, leadership buy-in, and consistent follow-through to reap the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Interested in learning about the steps we're taking to hire diverse talent at Oyster? Take a look at this blog post.

About Oyster

Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, hire, pay, manage, develop and take care of a thriving global workforce. It lets growing companies give valued international team members the experience they deserve, without the usual headaches and expense.

Oyster enables hiring anywhere in the world with reliable, compliant payroll, and great local benefits and perks.

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