5. Steps for Recruiting, Retaining and Promoting Culturally Diverse Employees

The following steps are adapted from Laroche and Rutherford in their Recruiting, Retaining, and Promoting Culturally Different Employees:

  • Be prepared for surprises during the interview process. Don’t be put off by the unexpected. Try to suspend judgments and assumptions until you have more information. Remain flexible.
  • Include HR professionals and/or diverse people in recruiting teams. While this may sound obvious, it is often not followed, particularly in smaller organizations.
  • Provide training to people involved in the recruitment and selection process on a regular basis so that they know how to identify and appreciate culturally determined behaviours that often lead to the rejection of candidates.
  • Focus on transferable skills. Some international candidates may have worked in industries that require the same technical skills even though they initially appear to be different.
  • Consider hiring candidates with strong potential who may need to learn more about the Canadian system at the lower end of the pay scale, and place them in mentee positions with managers who know how to professionally develop new staff. Effective mentors possess the patience and time to guide and orient the new hire to workplace norms and expectations.
  • Create tests to evaluate candidates in real-life situations.
  • Use short term contracts (whenever possible) to ensure the right fit.
  • Use volunteer and/or shadow positions to evaluate the potential of new candidates who show potential.
  • Describe on your website your recruiting process used by your organization, including sample interview questions and answers. This kind of detail can help every candidate show their true abilities.
  • E-mail questions to candidates 48 hours before the interview, and ask them to respond in writing by email. This gives the candidates an opportunity to look up words and to figure out how they are going to present more complex concepts. Giving employers a chance to read candidates’ responses to the first set of questions also allows them to cover more ground in a limited time interview by asking follow-up questions.
  • Determine specific candidate-ranking criteria at the outset. Otherwise, candidates can often end up being second best on everyone’s list, for a variety of reasons.
  • Define up-front the English-language skill level required for the position. Be prepared to test for language proficiency rather than assume the person’s skill level.

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