Podcast Ep. 95: Virtual Attraction – Designing and Implementing Inclusive Strategies for Virtual Recruiting

Jun 7, 2022

In this episode of The Forum Podcast, Marie Larson (City of Minneapolis) and Karyn Berg (Ramsey County) provide information and resources to design, implement, and improve candidate outreach through virtual recruiting.

Subscribe to our podcast on Apple PodcastSpotifyStitcherAnchor


The unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 have left organizations struggling to find effective, efficient methods for reaching candidates. As they re-examine standard practices, many companies find they lack the tools and networks they need to locate diverse applicants in today’s fluctuating labor market.

This episode will dive deep into the power of collaboration, examine revamped messaging and processes for virtual recruiting experiences, and emphasize the importance of building inclusive opportunities to maximize your diverse hiring potential.

Learning Outcomes
  • Design a virtual recruiting strategy—identify and prioritize your goals
  • Expand your collaboration—inventory recruiting channels and identify additional partnerships
  • Create your action plan—use our template to guide your planning, charting a course for success!
Show Notes

Companion Planning Guide – Download

Podcast timestamps:

  • Introduction/Overview: .00- 7:50
  • Segment 1: 7:50-20:08
  • Segment 2: 20:08 – 27:05
  • Segment 3: 27:05 – 40:00

Segment 1 Resources:

Presenter Contact Information:

  • Marie Larson, Industry Relations Manager
    City of Minneapolis Department of Community Planning and Economic Development
  • Karyn Berg, Planning and Evaluation Analyst
    Ramsey County Workforce Solutions

Sponsored by

black text spell best buy with a yellow price tag on the lower right side


The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.

Speaker 1 (00:00):
The Forum on Workplace Inclusion’s 2022 podcast series is sponsored by best buy more diversity in tech means more ideas that can change the world. Learn more@bestbuy.com slash more of this.
Speaker 1 (00:16):
Our deep dive learning opportunity is returning this June, The Forum on Workplace Inclusion’s, professional development labs, sponsored by target. Join us on June 23rd for Purpose and Belonging: Two key ingredients for an inclusive culture with Brandon Peele, author of Purpose Work Nation and CEO of Unity Lab join Peele and others from the Unity Lab team to learn how to activate purpose, belonging, and inclusion on your teams and effectively lead diverse teams, professional development labs, or PDLs are half day interactive learning experiences intended to develop professional competencies that support leaders in reaching their next level in their DEI leadership. Unlike traditional workshop sessions, PDLs are goal oriented and include personal and professional action and accountability planning for next level leadership that’s purpose and belonging. Two key ingredients for an inclusive culture. June 23rd, 2022. Visit our website Forum, workplace inclusion.org for more information, and to register that’s Forum, workplace inclusion.org, interested in presenting at the Forum plan to submit a proposal. When our call for proposals opens this June, the call for proposals or CFP for short is the process we use to collect presentations to be considered for our program year, which is January through December, including our annual conference proposals collected. When our CFP opens in June will be for our 2023 program year. Join our email list to get notified. Once our CFP process opens,
Speaker 1 (01:46):
We get to engage people, advance ideas and ignite change because the generous support from our community. If you find our resources meaningful or valuable, please consider supporting the Forum today. Visit Forumworkplaceinclusion.org/donate that’s Forumworkplaceinclusion.org/donate. Thank you very much for your support and generosity. Thank you to all our listeners and subscribers. You help support the growth of the podcast and reach new listeners. If you like what you’re hearing on the Forum podcast, please consider writing a review on apple podcast or wherever you listen to your podcast. If you’ve already written a review, thank you. Please consider sharing our podcast with a friend, family member or a colleague you think might find value in the content word of mouth is the best way the Forum grows. So thank you very much for listening and sharing. Thanks again, and enjoy the show.
Ben Rue (02:35):
Hello and thank you for tuning into the Forum on Workplace Inclusion podcast series brought to you by best buy I’m Ben Rue program manager here at the Forum, really looking forward to today’s podcast, Virtual Attraction – Designing and Implementing Inclusive Strategies for Virtual Recruiting with Marie Larson of the City of Minneapolis and Karyn Berg of Ramsey County. The unprecedented challenges of COVID 19 have left organizations struggling to find effective efficient methods for reaching candidates. As they reexamine standard practices, many companies find they lack the tools and networks. They need to locate diverse applicants in today’s fluctuating labor market. This podcast episode will provide you with the information and resources you need to design implement and improve candidate outreach through virtual recruiting, Marie and Karyn will dive deep into the power of collaboration, examine revamped, messaging and processes for virtual recruiting experiences and emphasize the importance of building inclusive opportunities to maximize your diverse high potential.
Ben Rue (03:35):
In this episode, you’ll learn how to design a virtual recruiting strategy, identify and prioritize your goals. Expand your collaboration, inventory, recruiting channels, and identify additional partnerships and create your action plan. Use their template to guide your planning. Charting a course for success. Today’s podcast is going to be divided into three segments. Please refer to the provided show notes to view timestamps for each segments one and two contain information of value to all recruiters and DEI professionals. As you analyze your organization’s capacities goals and gap areas. Segment three pushes out from individual to collective planning space, noting that it takes a village to grow abundant opportunities across multiple businesses and collaborators note, the companion planning guide in the show notes. We welcome you to open and use this resource to begin documenting ideas and strategies most relevant to your unique situation. The email addresses for both Marie and Karyn are provided in the show notes.
Ben Rue (04:34):
Please feel free to reach out to them, to connect and to continue to grow your virtual recruiting practice. We hope you enjoy today’s episode. Marie Larson serves as the industry relations manager in the city of Minneapolis division of community planning and economic development. She leads efforts to connect Minnesota’s twin cities area employers to, to diverse applicants Marie consults with employers to create workforce strategies and solutions to expand employer outreach and diverse candidates. And to advocate for inclusive workplace cultures. Marie is the author of a guide to inclusive hiring. And since COVID 19 began has served as the co-chair of a new Minneapolis Metro region, employer response team focused on virtual candidate outreach and recruiting Karyn Berg, MPA has functioned as a workforce professional with Ramsey county workforce solutions for more than 25 years as a planner in public re workforce development specialist, she has engaged in a variety of programming designed for specific industry sectors, employee engagement, and employment and training services in-person and virtual recruitment initiatives, aiding local industries have been a key part of her accomplishments, including offering virtual career fairs in collaboration with the city of Minneapolis and other Metro area workforce and community partners in recent years.
Marie Larson (06:02):
Hi everyone, and welcome to virtual attraction, designing and implementing inclusive strategies for virtual recruiting I’m Marie Larson. And for the past decade, my professional role has been in the city of Minneapolis division of community planning and economic development. As the industry relations manager for the department of employment and training. I lead initiatives to connect Minnesota’s twin cities area employers to our region’s diverse talent. I consult with employers to create work for strategies and solutions to expand employer outreach, to diverse candidates and to advocate for inclusive workplaces. Since the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, I’ve had the honor of co-chairing a new twin cities, Metro region, employer response team, focusing on virtual candidate outreach and recruiting. I’m joined on this pod by my co-chair Karyn Berg with Ramsey county workforce solutions. For more than 25 years, she has engaged in a variety of programming designed for specific industry sectors, employer engagement, and employment and training services. Karyn’s current role is as a planner and public workforce development specialist. Hello, Karyn, I’m so excited to be with you here today, talking about one of our favorite subjects, talent attraction.
Karyn Berg (07:33):
Hi Marie. Thanks so much for the introduction. I am also excited to talk with you today about talent attraction and more specifically virtual talent attraction. I think effective talent attraction Strategies by really whatever means is crucial in today’s highly competitive and global labor market,
Marie Larson (07:59):
A hundred percent true. Karyn. So I wanna start out with a question for you. What are the top three words or phrases that come to mind when I say talent recruiting
Karyn Berg (08:14):
Great, Marie, this is a good way to get us started. So main ideas here are first impressions development of relationships and really that quick turnaround or what I call the immediacy.
Marie Larson (08:34):
Mm. Okay. And what are your top three when we change that up too virtual attraction?
Karyn Berg (08:43):
So good, good, interesting here that they actually don’t really change. There’s just some new twists on these things. First impressions development of relationships, and that quick turnaround are really still the keys when doing that virtual recruiting. However, there are some nuances when it comes to virtual recruiting, there are some new and complicating layers. Couple of those are things like being concerned for the digital literacy of that candidate or perhaps their technology access. Don’t forget that when we’re using technology rather than being in person mm-hmm <affirmative>, sometimes we do not have, we don’t have access to being able to see that person’s nonverbal mm-hmm <affirmative> interactions, including like, just even that, that universal smiles. You don’t see those things oftentimes when you’re doing virtual recruiting. So when you’re not on camera virtually it makes it difficult sometimes to build that rapport and that interpersonal understanding mm-hmm <affirmative> and these are both layers. Yeah. That really relate deeply to equity considerations. I think with these nuances, as we move through today’s presentation we should do a little bit of table setting on our experiences since March of 2020 and the start of the pandemic. What do you think?
Marie Larson (10:23):
Agree, totally such great points. You know, the unprecedented challenges of COVID 19 left, a lot of those organizations that have been part of our networks for years, really kind of stranded, right? In a new world of recruiting, they’ve been struggling to find safe, effective, efficient methods for reaching candidates without being able to be in person and emerging from this global pandemic. Many companies still find that their standard recruiting playbooks lack the tools and the networks needed to attract diverse applicants in today’s fluctuating labor market.
Karyn Berg (11:00):
Right, Marie. So I really happy to say that this podcast episode will really provide some information and resources needed to design implement and improve candidate outreach through virtual recruiting. I’m excited that we’re going to dive deep into the power of collaboration. We’ll examine some new messaging and processes for virtual recruiting experiences all while emphasizing the importance of building inclusive opportunities to maximize your diverse hiring potential.
Marie Larson (11:40):
The information we are sharing with our audience today has been collected over these past two years through survey observation, interview experience and data generated in virtual recruiting systems. We’ve used in our twin city Metro area, the primary virtual recruiting system we’ve deployed in our Metro region’s public workforce system has been an online job platform called easy virtual care, which we’ve customized for our regional partnerships in this timeframe. Last tiers are a little bit more over 500 companies have participated in online recruiting events and experiences that we’ve hosted at these live virtual career fairs on this platform. And over this time, we’ve come up with three key themes that we wanna share with you today, which have emerged to describe what makes a company successful in virtual talent attraction. So today’s podcast is really going to be divided into three separate sections or segments with one of these themes highlighted in each section to begin segment one focuses on designing a virtual recruiting strategy through the lens of diversity and inclusion,
Karyn Berg (12:57):
Super. And then in segment two, we’ll go deep into that partnership formation. We’ll be assessing the strength of your collaborations and helping develop a diverse network, which are keys to the virtual recruiting strategy.
Marie Larson (13:16):
And finally, Karyn in segment three, we’re gonna bring it all together with tools and tactics for creating unique plans of action for our listening audience. We also want to just remind everybody to take a look at the show notes for a companion planning tool to this podcast that’s designed to help you move through each of these three segments individually and or with your team.
Karyn Berg (13:43):
We’ve got exciting stuff, Marie,
Marie Larson (13:46):
We sure do. And here we are at the top of segment, one to begin at the beginning, recruiting is part of a company’s overall DEI strategy employers who recruit successfully in virtual spaces have a core value in common. They design a virtual recruiting strategy through the lens of diversity inclusion. These organizations align and embed diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging goals in recruiting before the, how is the why,
Karyn Berg (14:17):
Ah, your point is important successful. The virtual recruiting means really taking that bigger picture, look at your organization. It means preparing to represent DEI goals in a way that is really authentic and honest while sharing your own unique company stories. I really think Marie that to accomplish this work employers need to draw on the expertise, not only of their hiring managers and supervisors, but also of professionals in the marketing and communications department, the training and development areas and the really important ERG employee resource groups.
Marie Larson (15:03):
So true. Karyn, you know, in addition to core DEI goals, effective virtual recruiting is about creating space in your HR operations to focus outreach within diverse virtual spaces, bringing engagement to these online platforms. This work also draws on the principles of effective marketing, attracting talent and attracting customers really do have much in common. Putting DEI into action in the virtual realm is most effective when the voice of your customer in this case, your employee or future employee is integrated into your messaging.
Karyn Berg (15:43):
Oh, I so love talking about how customers are your employees. That’s a really great point.
Marie Larson (15:51):
Mm-Hmm <Affirmative>.
Karyn Berg (15:52):
Successful recruiters really do build a robust virtual presence when they build a virtual booth for an online job, fair keeping that diversity equity and inclusion at the center of those communications and embedded in their virtual presence really can be a successful tool. They need to remain true to their unique experiences of their diverse employees.
Marie Larson (16:22):
Again, a hundred percent true Karyn, to think through for bringing this information from planning to action. I wanted to take a moment to share a couple of quotes from a June, 2020 article published in the Harvard business review by two researchers, we have links to the, in the show notes to this article as well in case people wanna check that out. The first of these researchers is Kira Hudson banks. She’s the principal at a company called the mouse and the elephant, which provides customized diversity equity and inclusion strategy and training. She is also an associate professor of psychology and co-founder of the Institute for healing justice and equity at St. Louis university. Richard Harvey is an associate professor of psychology, also at St. Louis university and a management and evaluation consultant specializing in the study of collective identity and diversity equity, inclusion, assessments, training, and interventions.
Marie Larson (17:23):
They write quote. If your organization takes a stand against racism, you must also articulate how progress will be tracked and communicated back companywide. Otherwise you look untrustworthy and disingenuous. There’s no need for shame or guilt. If your results are not glowing or swift, what has given years to root will not be unearthed overnight, dig in and do the work as you would with a new account or a coveted growth opportunity. Consider the work it takes to commit to lifting weight and getting stronger. You would not walk into the gym, lift a heavy weight once and declare I’m strong. You would most likely seek expert guidance, and then you would hold yourself accountable to lifting those weights consistently over time before you would expect to see results, you might avoid a workout, but doing so only makes gains harder to come by in the long term, building the capacity to be anti-racist similarly takes commitment over time. It involves hard work and is not always pleasant. However, the results a stronger company are worth it. And quote, parent, how do you see this type of commitment to DEI showing up at virtual recruiting?
Karyn Berg (18:49):
Oh, Marie, this is so true. We really do need to dig deep here. I think successful virtual recruiters really do know that they are running these marathons, not a sprint. We are all learning so much here. Recruiters understand that each interaction they have with candidates, whether it’s in person or virtually, it really is a golden opportunity to build a connection and a genuine trust. It really represents one more milestone in this very long journey.
Marie Larson (19:26):
Karyn, I’m really liking this analogy. Marathoning is about creating those incremental goals and thereby building stamina to set virtual recruiting goals. Your focus is based on what diversity means in your company, what race and ethnicities ages, genders, and gender preference groups are underrepresented from this information. When you ask that question, you’re gonna set goals to reach diverse applicants as a key starting point. An important component of this group, parent needs to continue to be about bias identification and removal. You know, when we shift resources to the virtual realm from the physical, no matter what virtual tool tool kit you’re using hiring bias may continue to impact your work. So it’s important to say vigilant,
Karyn Berg (20:16):
Right? Right. Today’s human resources professionals. We are all very aware that the BI there are many biases, including, you know, age, gender confirmation, bias, affinity, attribution bias, the halo effect, many others. They can creep into the hiring process.
Marie Larson (20:39):
That’s right. Going virtual doesn’t eliminate any of that. You know, and I have to say compounding all of that. There are a couple of other biases that we wanna draw out here that can be critical factors that we’ve mentioned at the top of the podcast, just to gain this awareness and just keep in mind, right. As you’re building into the space. First technology access itself is not in any way. Universal and diverse candidates are less likely to own either a desktop or a laptop computer. It’s important to keep in mind that virtual recruiting requires creativity and flexibility on the part of the recruiter, depending on how that candidate is accessing a virtual recruiting for if those candidates are on a mobile device, for instance, the best way to manage this is really to go ahead and ask a candidate, whether they are comfortable joining you on live in a live video meeting, if that’s available, or if another method would work better for them, remember that not everyone is going to be able to get on camera in this first encounter, but you can still be ready to share information with them. By using chat features like instant messaging, even going to text messaging, voice calling Facebook live email, and the list goes on,
Karyn Berg (22:00):
Right? There are so many great tools that we can use to reach people. Don’t forget really that. We’re still talking about the importance of creating a, a positive first impression unique to virtual interactions is something also that we can consider as background bias. This is very different than being in person in job fairs or in other ways that we’ve been recruiting in the past. In this instance, if we’re doing zooms or teams meetings with people, or even if you’re just chatting, you are gonna have these distractions in that candidate’s environment, right. They can be potentially, yeah, they, they might be at home, right. I’ve had this happen to myself. The dog starts barking while you’re in an important meeting that happens to our candidates as well. So pets, children, you know deliveries other extra things that happen in the neighborhood.
Marie Larson (23:05):
<Laugh>, <laugh> like that Jack hammer outside the utility truck just pulled up and, oh boy, okay, here I am. Right. interacting with a recruiter for the first time. There’s, there’s not really much people are going to be able to do about that.
Karyn Berg (23:20):
Exactly, exactly. So I think as the recruiter, you just have to sometimes, you know, laugh it off, but also, you know, don’t let that influence your decision for the next step for that candidate, knowing that those folks are experiencing what a normal human being is experiencing at home while we’re all doing things virtually
Marie Larson (23:44):
So true. You know I, I think a good phrase here is don’t let background information that background information distract you from your recruiting goals. <Laugh>
Marie Larson (23:57):
Yeah. So once again, when developing strategy consider how your in person recruiting methods transfer to those online experiences, you know, ensuring is that you have diverse representation among your online recruiting team can assist with bias reduction as well. Karyn, be responsive and prepared to offer alternative interactions as video is typically again, less used in first round online recruiting. And when it is used, it can create some of those biases we were just talking about.
Karyn Berg (24:28):
Right. So we have lots to think about here in this section. We do encourage people to really think about this particular section and look at that, that guide again. And talk to your colleagues about these strategies from section one a little review here. We’re talking about identifying your DEI goals. We’re embedding them in virtual recruiting strategies. We’re reminding you to create those cross organizational teams to help support your diverse candidate experiences. We’re talking about crafting messages perhaps some very new messages you’re crafting for the first time that are both inspirational yet grounded in facts and data. We’re talking about creating your virtual recruiting profile, using really as many tools as possible in the virtual space to market your company, to attract the diverse talent you desire. And then lastly, we mentioned in this segment that those hiring biases do surface just as easily at virtual recruiting as they may in face to face interactions. So your awareness and your ability to adjust course will help you through this time.
Karyn Berg (26:00):
Okay, Marie, we are moving on to segment two. Yes. Here. We’re gonna talk great. You’re ready. We’re gonna talk about partnership formation and assessing the strength of your collaborations in order to develop this diverse network. I absolutely love to talk about this aspect of DEI recruiting. It is essentially relationship management there. Really, to me, Marie is a magic that occurs when recruiters build long term relationships with sources of candidates. Again, if you take a look at the show notes to our audience, they can see the relationship matrix there and they can start to consider what that means for their organization. But really, I mean, I think we’re talking about the importance of seeking out and really intentionally building lasting relationships with those who are close to the candidate pools you desire to onboard. Sometimes we call these folks trusted messengers. Marie, where have you found trusted messengers in the community?
Marie Larson (27:19):
Well, thinking about that question, Karyn brings to mind, you know, many different interactions and people that we would see in, in, in the community out and about this could be anything from a local grocery store to a barber shop, to a fitness center, to the Y M C a to a daycare. I think of things like a teacher and at an adult basic education English class maybe a business developer at our local one stop center or an outreach director at the local food shelf. Right? How about a student coordinator at the occupational training course that we’re seeking graduates from the high school counselor at, at some schools in diverse neighborhoods in your community. These are members of the community who know people that are seeking new opportunities and careers.
Karyn Berg (28:09):
Oh, Marie, you are such a good brainstormer. You are so right. A trusted messenger will make recommendations at referrals to your company because they are familiar with the company culture and the benefits of working there. And they have learned this from you, that savvy recruiter who is focused on relationships and is sincere. You can really assess the strength of your network through some analytics. If you like, for example, how many candidate referrals have come through these network channels, you can include those sources in the list of your referral sources on your online application. This allows candidates to inform you of how they actually connected to your opportunity. Also, some people use a net promoter score. We mentioned customers earlier often used for customers. You could also use this to survey and assess the willingness of your network to refer candidates to your organization.
Marie Larson (29:17):
That’s a fantastic suggestion. Karyn, another element that I wanna talk about here too, is continued focus on individualized recruiting by paying attention to each candidate, using classic engagement tactics and solid relationship management. You know, that really doesn’t change because we’ve gone online. It can seem right sometimes less personal or maybe more generic to be in an online platform, but actually paying attention to this. And the online universe is really, even that much more important. It can feel challenging in that virtual environment, but even something as simple Karyn as using a candidate’s proper spelling of their name when you are online chatting, or even emailing, being personable, fostering some small talk before engaging in the business of recruiting. All those things can be comforting. They can build trust and they can ease the stress for your candidate.
Karyn Berg (30:11):
Oh my goodness. So true. Marie people really want to feel like they are getting your total attention. Not, not that you’re just kind of in a list of hundreds of candidates, but that you are unique and special. I really believe that it’s important to make that comfort level high for the candidate. Following up too people feel comfortable when they don’t have to wait long periods of time. So back to that immediacy place, you’ve got a comfortable job seeker, and then you’ve got your commitment to following up with those job seekers quickly. Because really now time is of the essence. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> we really, yeah. We follow with trying to follow up with people in about 24 hours and offering the next course of action along in the hiring process. In addition being willing to offer your direct contact to those candidates, rather than things like just a generic HR email or the referral to your ATS system, you know, we can get those things without having interactions. This is about going above and beyond those standard practices, right?
Marie Larson (31:35):
Mm-Hmm <affirmative>,
Karyn Berg (31:37):
Don’t, you know, I mean, we’ve done zoom and teams based meetings with candidates as a screening meeting, or a precursor to the interview that allows them to engage with you, maybe see, and hear you. And once they do that, I think they’re more likely to follow through. I’ve even seen successful recruiters, bring a diverse team member to those meetings so that that candidate sees someone that they feel they can relate to.
Marie Larson (32:08):
This section is just so important, Karyn, because it brings to mind that some of those diverse teams can actually be people who, for instance, speak another language. They may be even folks who have wanna take that extra few minutes to get to know a candidate so they can really personalize the follow up and help that person get to the information, or just even look at information about your company. That’s really more tailored and customized to that individual candidate. So those are just excellent tips. And I know that putting these into action in the virtual realm is absolutely the type of technique that we’ve seen works really well for successful recruiters and virtual spaces. So Karyn, we have now arrived at the final segment of today’s podcast, where we bring it all together with tools and tactics for creating your own unique plan of action.
Marie Larson (33:00):
This segment is really going to bring us from thinking more about those personal and individualized interaction for say like a recruiter personally, right? And their team to more broadly thinking about collaboration and more formal arrangements around creating virtual experiences and events. So, you know, we, I wanna go back here a little bit to that relationship mapping that was done to identify PL potential collaborators in that tactical planning process, the team that you create would be that group who you want to function as your virtual event delivery team in order to do that type of work in addition to these community partners, right? And you know, your trusted sources of candidates and those that you develop long term relationships with, you might be reaching out to say your local workforce development area representatives, or to the chambers of commerce or industry associations, or perhaps even to like a local colleges or educational partners communicate your strategy. And also you’ll wanna know your need, not just for recruiting tools and systems, but also for expanding your network to attract diverse talent to your organization. And actually to those other organizations that might be collaborating on those platforms along with you,
Karyn Berg (34:21):
Right, Marie. So you’re really talking about really expanding partnerships. And this is, this is to me, it’s, it takes a village, right? We put all of our resources together to try to achieve our mission. Incorporating these community based partner networks allows you to have them help promote your events. And these folks are also part of those trusted messengers that we referred to earlier. So yes, so this, this action is about mapping out those relationships and being, being intentional about building networks, where there are gaps
Marie Larson (35:05):
Mm-Hmm <affirmative>.
Karyn Berg (35:06):
Yeah. I mean, I do actually have an example of this Marie. Great. This was really fun example. So one of our community based partners they, during the pandemic reached their community through Facebook live. That’s how they were. Yep. They were passing information back and forth about training and about employment and other community needs. And so when our online job fair occurred this community decided they wanted to promote it to, to their residents and they used Facebook live, right? So we were live on the job, fair venue, the easy virtual platform, and this community group brought the community onto Facebook live. And they basically talked people through the job fair while on Facebook. And this was really exciting. It was a way that was really customized to reach this particular community.
Marie Larson (36:12):
That’s, that’s an amazing example. Karyn we’ve also seen employers really take initiative and get proactive about things like recording advanced video interviews with diverse employees and putting those video tours right on their virtual booth or in their virtual system. And you know, what you can do with those two is you can translate those to multiple languages using like audio overlay, right, or even closed captioning in the video so that people who speak other languages or diverse audience can go ahead and access those that closed captioning and screen reader capability that’s important too. And helping you to access even broader network of talented workers.
Karyn Berg (36:54):
So really here, Marie, so we’re getting into these kind of technology tools, right? Mm-Hmm, <affirmative> taking that inventory, not only of your relationships and your network is also taking inventory of those virtual tools. Take an inventory of those collaborators that you might have at your disposal. Identify then where you’ve got gaps there. Our I’m just re reminded of our employer response team. As we began our collaboration, we took an inventory of available online meeting platforms. We looked at various things like Adobe zoom, WebEx, remember all that
Marie Larson (37:39):
<Laugh> I do <laugh> yeah.
Karyn Berg (37:43):
And we, we looked at a few more. We experimented with these systems to evaluate whether they had the functions we needed to host online events. This was really a collaborative effort where we built that wishlist together. Some of the things just for people as they’re establishing their strategy we looked at things like mobile access through portable devices. We also desired a platform that would allow for this two-way interaction between employers and candidates. We we hoped to host frequent well attended events. We wanted the ability for a candidate to individually exchange their resume on a platform just as they would in a live job fair. And we were pretty happy that we found the tool that would do all of these things for us.
Marie Larson (38:40):
You know what I really like about what you’re saying here, Karyn too, is that because you built a collaboration right across these wider partnerships, you were able to take a look at what everybody was bringing to the table and it wasn’t just an individual company on their own, right? So if the city of Minneapolis would’ve been by themselves, there’s just no way we would’ve arrived at the same set of solutions or even the same wishlist without having that right prior experience and taking a look at the broader landscape of what was out there in the virtual space,
Karyn Berg (39:11):
Right. Taking a village again,
Marie Larson (39:14):
Right. We then formed a committee, really a formal committee that we set up across the collaboration of folks who were interested in stepping forward with us on this work to evaluate these potential platforms based on that wish list that we put together, those specifications. And we decided through a process of investigation and elimination and looking at price points and comparing and contrasting, we actually took the time to take a look at all of those. I don’t even know maybe about at least six or seven different platforms before we narrowed it down and came up with our current job fair platform. One thing to note on that, which is, I think just important is that our Metro region itself receives regional workforce investment act funding and delivery of Metro wide job fairs is one facet of our regional plan. So we were able to tap in to those funds to set up a subscription to this online platform using those dollars. So our advice here to the audience is to think broad broadly about your workforce system and other collaborators get creative about options for co-funding of a virtual system, including private public partnerships.
Karyn Berg (40:28):
Oh, so true. Marie. Yes. We are very fortunate that we had resources like that to help us deliver this recruiting strategy to our community. Mm-Hmm, <affirmative> really talking about really kind of planning together, right? We’re, we’re looking at this wider network, we are doing brainstorming and conceptualizing with this network. And we are building that map for this virtual, for these virtual engagements. We’re, we’re doing this together we’re co-creating and then we deliver these opportunities together. Really, you know, there was a lot of learning here mm-hmm <affirmative> I would always kinda, you know, start small and build it as you learn really the why diverse planning teams help implement your planning process over time mm-hmm <affirmative> and, you know, do you remember, we really did receive such valuable endpoint input mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, from mm-hmm <affirmative> people who really were tuned into specific worker populations you had already mentioned our immigrant and refugee population or those who are speaking other languages people who had visual limitations, et cetera. I mean, really these diverse planning teams may also be interested in collaborating on very targeted and specific events delivering a win really for all these groups. Really from there, you kind of can narrow down and craft schedules and logistics and, and what you need to do to really make them happen.
Marie Larson (42:21):
Yeah. In this section, I would also just say, we have started at, at the top of our planning with even drafting up some actual role descriptions. Do you recall that Karyn, at the, at the beginning, like kind of who would do what inside of those virtual career fair activities, and those really have morphed and changed over time, as we’ve learned a lot more about the system and you know, the people hours and how many, you know, how many folks and, and right, like who, which, which groups should be represented and who would we want, you know, inside of the event to best to help serve these diverse populations. So, you know, you have to start somewhere, but just know that this will likely evolve over time and, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It will be a learning process and there will be iteration.
Karyn Berg (43:06):
Marie Larson (43:07):
This then brings us to our fourth recommendation, which is promoting your openings to this diverse audience. You know, when you, as an individual recruiter or recruiting team represent your company in hiring goals in your own virtual space, such as now your participating as an individual employer in a virtual booth, in a career fair, as an example, you’ll wanna pull in those diverse recruiting teams and those outreach messages that you created as part of your strategy, take advantage of virtual technologies, many media platforms to showcase your company with images, featuring diversity and engagement. Some fantastic ideas we’ve seen in our virtual events include live streaming of an employee of color. Talking about a day in a life from her home office or a recorded panel presentation that would play on demand in a virtual booth. If your virtual event does include this wider collaboration across a partnership, consider pulling together a diverse communications committee to develop materials and messages that appeal to the many audiences, populations and communities in your broader network, consider leveraging the expertise of your organization’s marketing team to assist those from other marketing teams, right in a broader career for messaging and communications plan.
Marie Larson (44:27):
This is collective work again, and running that draft message past your stakeholder network for their feedback and recommendations could offer some major advantages,
Karyn Berg (44:38):
Right? Yes. Utilizing the strengths of those other professionals is key. So I think here, as we’re, we’re kind of preparing to kinda wrap up, we are back to building these individual relationships with candidates. We’ve seen much success with recruiters who do things like provide these clearly defined steps through the interviewing and hiring pathways and among those who work directly with candidates as they move through the hiring path again, identifying those key steps and the timeframes it takes to move through each will help your candidates be more comfortable, keep them informed in all this work. You are really moving beyond that passiveness of a website and perhaps your ATS system to really that proactive engagement with each unique candidate.
Marie Larson (45:39):
With that, Karyn, we come to the conclusion of today’s podcast and we wish all of our listeners the very best in your virtual recruiting planning efforts, we invite all of you to join us at an upcoming online twin cities, Metro region, career fair. If you want to take a look and, and get a better feel for what it all looks like when it comes together. And we also would like you to feel free to email us directly with to if you’d like more information on that upcoming schedule or with any follow up or questions, we’ll include our email and contact information in the show notes. Thank you so much for joining us today and best of luck to you all.
Ben Rue (46:20):
Thank you so much, Marie, Karyn for this wonderful podcast. So incredibly helpful as we move towards a more virtual world and thank you to our listeners and sponsor best buy. As mentioned, Marie Karyn’s contact information can be found in these show notes. New episodes of Forum podcast are available at Forumworkplaceinclusion.org/podcast. You can also find our podcast on apple podcasts, Spotify, anchor, and Stitcher. Thank you again for listening. Have a great day.
Speaker 1 (46:46):
Thank you again for listening to the Forum and workplace inclusion podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe for a podcast to get updates in the latest episodes. Also tell us what you think by reviewing our podcast. We’d love to hear your feedback for more information. Visit us at Forum, workplace inclusion.org, or search workplace Forum on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Thank you very much and have a great day.
Speaker 1 (47:10):
The Forum on workplace inclusion podcast is recorded at Augsburg university in Minneapolis, Minnesota. One of the most diverse private colleges in the Midwest Augsburg university offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate degrees to 3000 foreign students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the twin cities and nearby Rochester, Minnesota location. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders in Augsburg. Education is defined by excellence in the local arts and professional studies guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church and shaped by its urban and global settings. Learn more@augsburg.edu.


The Forum on Workplace Inclusion®
2211 Riverside Ave, CB 54
Minneapolis, MN 55454
(612) 373-5994

Photos by Sarah Morreim Photography
Privacy Policy