Diversity Recruitment Resources: Cast a Wide Net

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Look to the Data

As a first step in any search process, you may consider the diversity data for the field in which you are hiring. Understanding the landscape for underrepresented minorities and women, for example, can help you create some benchmarks to reach for so that your pool of candidates minimally reflects the diversity of the field. Some useful tools for exploring these data, particularly for faculty searches, may include: Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering Fields and the Survey of Earned Doctorates (both supported by the National Science Foundation).

Forming the Search Committee

  1. Keeping in mind the various ways that diversity can be represented, choose your team with intentionality. Committees that lack meaningful diversity can signal to candidates that your department or unit does not care about diversity. Furthermore, homogeneity does not necessarily generate productive counter-perspectives and can lead to ingroup favoritism. One study named diverse search committees as a “promising practice” associated with higher percentages of women and underrepresented minorities (URM) under consideration in their candidate pools at every stage of the search.
  2. Consider appointing an “equity advisor” (sometimes called a “diversity advocate”) to the committee. This person asks essential questions and actively monitors the process to ensure that diversity and equity goals are kept at the fore throughout. For an example of what an equity advisor should – and should not – do, see 7 of this faculty search process from Johns Hopkins University. It is important that search committee chairs clarify the role of the equity advisor to the full committee before the search gets under way. Additional resources for equity advisors can be found here. To participate in an equity advisor workshop, or to identify colleagues who have some knowledge and training in this area to serve as an equity advisor for your search committee, please contact Jacki Black in the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at jacqueline.black@marquette.edu.
  3. An increasingly common practice is to appoint someone from outside of the department or unit to the search committee to provide the hiring team with a different perspective and to offer interviewees a broadened sense of the campus.
  4. Provide opportunities for all search committee members to learn more about equitable and inclusive hiring practices by forwarding them these resources and/or requesting a workshop from the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion: contact Dr. Chris Navia, vice president for inclusive excellence, at christine.navia@marquette.edu.   

Writing the Job Description and Job Posting

  1. Commit as a group in advance to what is most important in the job and express those criteria upfront. Unduly narrow definitions of merit can disproportionately prompt certain demographic groups to self-select out of the application process. For example, women who do not meet 100% of the job criteria are less likely to apply for a position than a man with similar qualifications. Search committees should consider what “success” looks like for the position and remove any vague or unnecessary qualifications that do not pertain specifically to that vision.
  2. Beware of subtly masculine-coded language that may perpetuate gender inequality in hiring – here is a useful tool to help you detect such language.
  3. Framing diversity of thought and scholarship as an asset, explicitly stating our unequivocal commitment to diversity and inclusionary practices, and including a link to our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) in the job posting can signal to underrepresented candidates that we value them and their contributions. (See APPENDIX A for sample language.)
  4. In addition to broad statements about Marquette’s commitment to diversity, intentionally shaping the specifics of the job itself can result in more diverse hires. A 2004 study found that a scholarly or educational link to race or ethnicity in a job posting yielded more successful hires of underrepresented faculty of color than those that did not. This conclusion is corroborated by a 2018 UC Berkeley study that found that linking the job posting to subfields dealing with gender, race, or ethnicity, and to community-engaged or public scholarship yields more diverse hires, as underrepresented minorities and women scholars are more likely to engage in public policy and scholarship around underserved groups. 
  5. As part of the application process, invite all candidates to submit a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Statement outlining how they have contributed to the advancement of DEI in their previous academic and professional roles and how they envision their engagement in DEI work at Marquette. Such a statement can provide applicants with the opportunity to shine a light on their commitment to these endeavors and, again, signals the importance of this work to our institution. (See Schmaling and colleagues' 2015 article for suggested language.) As with any other piece of the candidate’s materials, there should be a standardized process, such as through a rubric, that will allow hiring committee members to evaluate the DEI statement using clear and consistent criteria. Here is a rubric from Cornell's Office of Faculty Development and Diversity and one from Berkeley's Office of Faculty Equity and Welfare. This excellent resource from Times Higher Education also provides some red flags as well as key types of evidence of the candidate's work in DEI to look out for.  Note:Marquette’s Academic Senate Committee on Diversity and Equity is working on suggested language and processes for incorporating the use of diversity statements in faculty search committees, and this document will be updated when that information becomes available.
  6. When in doubt, work with the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion and HR to help you vet language around job criteria.


  1. Consider your budget for advertising carefully and wisely. Generally, there are limited resources available to supplement advertising budgets.
  2. Most underrepresented candidates are looking at job postings in the same places as majority population candidates. That said, advertising on listservs, websites and through associations that are affinity-based and often discipline-specific can be effective if the position description gives clear indication that diversity is important (see APPENDIX B for a partial list of such sites and organizations). Posting in these spaces will increase exposure to not only the position but also our institution as a whole. Also, you should seek out interest groups within professional organizations to target advertising.
  3. If you are working with a search firm, ensure that they know that diversity, equity, and inclusion are of critical importance to Marquette’s ability to live out our mission. Ask about their past successes in placing diverse candidates and how they intend to cultivate a diverse candidate pool for the position at hand.

Working your Networks

  1. The work of diversifying a candidate pool starts long before a position is open through intentional, active networking. Marquette employees can proactively cultivate pipelines by attending affinity-based conferences, meetings, and other forums and by maintaining relationships with underrepresented candidates in our respective fields, inviting them to speak on campus and engaging in continued communication and dialogue. Once a position does become available, search committee members are better positioned to recruit a talented and diverse pool of applicants through directly contacting those in their personal and professional networks - another “promising practice” in diverse hiring.
  2. For faculty searches, you may also identify doctoral programs that have a track record of successfully graduating PhD students who are underrepresented in their fields.  Cultivating relationships with the programs’ directors and faculty can help facilitate recruitment efforts.
  3. Work with the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, HR, and our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to help spread the word through their networks as well.

Go Back to the Data

Once you have an initial pool of candidates, you may request a report from HR that provides racial/ethnic data and other information about your pool (not individual candidates). Compare it to your benchmark data for the field – is your pool representative? If you find that it is not very diverse, reevaluate your job posting and outreach strategies and consider advertising in additional spaces before moving forward.


Introduction to Recruiting for Diversity

Phase 1: Cast a Wide Net

Phase 2: Understanding Implicit Bias

Phase 3: Candidate Review

Phase 4: Extending the Offer and Making the Hire