DEI Recruiting Strategy: Actively Source Candidates

Actively source from historically excluded communities, don’t rely on inbound

Seek out candidates that can bring diverse perspectives into your organization

“Sourcing is a great pillar to... removing barriers that have traditionally faced historically excluded groups,” says Nikki Adamson, founder of Hustle Hunters, a DEIBJ-centered recruiting firm. 

Indeed, most talent leaders believe that one of the most biased things you can do is to only consider candidates that directly apply to your company. The resume screening process is rife with opportunities for bias and inconsistencies that can lead to discrimination. If you invest in outbound sourcing, you have a more ethical path to influencing the candidate pipeline and getting more diverse candidates into your funnel.

Sourcing allows companies to be more deliberate in determining what kind of talent they need to build the company they want to be.

Actionable Recommendations

  • Source thoughtfully based on your organization’s goals and missions.
    This ties directly into the first step of DEI-focused recruiting, which is to be data-driven in setting your targets. Danielle Forward, founder of Natives Rising, additionally recommends that you consider “Who are your users? How closely does your team represent your users? Having a team that represents your users can help establish stronger empathy and better product outcomes.”

  • Invest in building an in-house sourcing function and empower them with software, like Gem's recruiting CRM, to nurture diverse talent.
  • Showcase an inclusive culture that can support historically excluded talent once they join. This might look like featuring your Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) on your careers pages. If you don't already have an ERG for a particular group or are actively seeking talent from a certain population, you can highlight that you are building the structure to support this community and start the ERG once they join.
  • Tap into a variety of sourcing channels rather than your current sourcing pools.
    For example, targeting a company that many of your current employees used to work at will likely bring homogenous candidates into your pipeline. One recruiting firm that does a great job sourcing underrepresented talent is Hustle Hunters.
  • Nurture relationships with talent communities.
    Katherine Castro, DEIB Program Manager, advises companies to “always ask, what can I give to your community?” Here are some of Katherine's suggested questions:

    Are there vendors you recommend we support?

    Are there workshops we can provide for free?

    Is there a cause we can contribute financially?

    Is there a group you love we should partner with?

Here are a few communities that work with underrepresented talent:

Castro notes that many historically excluded communities are skeptical of people or organizations they don't know. She recommends that you state your intentions and actions behind those intentions upfront!

Online and IRL Communities

Bootcamps that focus on historically excluded groups in tech

Organizations that upskill, empower, and support moms


This is Step 4 of Searchlight's Playbook for DEI-driven Recruiting.  

  1. Be Data-Driven and Set Targets
  2. Define success criteria based on competencies and capabilities
  3. Evaluate your candidates fairly and consistently
  4. Active source from diverse communities, don’t rely on inbound
  5. Treat Quality of Hire as the North Star to continually improve your recruiting process

Is your team ready to transform your recruiting process? Schedule a call today with our product specialists

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