Diversity Sourcing – Strategies, Tools, Best Practices with Search Strings

by Raj Bhargava

Diversity Sourcing – Strategies, Tools, Best Practices with Search Strings



Diversity Sourcing & Recruiting

We all know diversity is good for any company as employees from different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities bring different ideas, viewpoints to the table.

McKinsey in a 2015 article titled “Why diversity matters” says that companies with more diverse work forces perform better financially. In addition, diversity is probably a competitive differentiator that shifts market share toward more diverse companies over time.

The article further talks about gender diversity to broader inclusion:

“While gender diversity is still at the core of diversity policies and actions, mature organizations are also now addressing inclusive culture, mindsets, and processes to ensure that all employees feel that they belong, are treated fairly, and can be successful as their true selves. They have adopted a wide definition of diversity for the scope of their transformation to include not only gender, but also ethnicity, sexual identity and orientation, religion, disability, and variety in educational background and experience.”


This approach constitutes the very definition of what McKinsey calls ‘inclusiveness’, translating into three dimensions within organizations:

Openness – it is safe to express thoughts, ideas, and concerns.

Equality – there is a perception of fairness, an equal chance for all employees to succeed.

Belonging – employees share a positive connection to each other and the organization

Challenges with finding diversity talent

Over the years working with D&I roles we see the same trends. Recruiters who are under pressure to deliver tend to take the path of least resistance and follow what everyone does. Hit the same national organizations, colleges & universities with the same timelines. Results – everyone is doing the same thing.

There is no roadmap to source from the very visible national level to the hidden local (community) level. After all, at the end of the day talent needs to be sourced at the local level for diversity sourcing to be effective. There is minimum engagement, outreach at the local level.

Companies focus on the short term, quick solutions – current jobs vs. long term talent needs. While this may yield results for the larger, well-branded bigger companies, the smaller or less branded will need to go the extra step and dig into local communities to hire diversity talent. Here is a potential roadmap we introduced in companies like Microsoft, Gap, CVS, etc. throughout the years.



Diversity Sourcing Strategies – A road map for engagement/outreach at the local level

We have developed an engagement/reach out/sourcing methodology we call the 5 C road-map. The 5 C’s are communities, cultures, colleges, companies, and candidates. The first 4 C’s namely communities, cultures, colleges, companies are research-based. The last C – candidates are sourcing based. Basically, solid research into the 4 C’s will provide the right direction and roadmap to source the correct candidates.


diversity sourcing strategy

A Proven Roadmap to Great Diversity Sourcing & Recruiting – Diversity sourcing strategies


  1. Your roadmap for engagement/outreach should be at local level
  2. Follow the 5 C Ecosystem – Community/Culture/Colleges/Companies/Candidates
  3. Some effective diversity sourcing search strings
  4. Diversity sourcing best practices…

Diversity sourcing tools

The methodology we use for the 5 C approach is the same. Start by researching and targeting the 5 C channels at the local/grassroots level. Then design your reach out/engagement process followed by building pipelines for your current and future roles.


diversity sourcing tools

5 C Ecosystem – Community/Culture

Wiki defines a community as a “social unit (a group of living things) with a commonality such as norms, religion, values, customs, or identity”.

Types of community

They further divide communities into location-based communities (range from the local neighborhood, suburb, etc.). Identity-based communities: range from the local clique, sub-culture, ethnic group, religious, multicultural or pluralistic civilization, or the global community cultures of today. They may be included as communities of need or identity, such as disabled persons, or frail aged people. Organizationally based communities range from communities organized informally around family or network-based guilds and associations to more formal incorporated associations, political decision-making structures, economic enterprises, or professional associations at a small, national or international scale.

An ethnic group or ethnicity is a category of people who identify with each other, usually based on presumed similarities such as common language, ancestry, history, society, culture, nation or social treatment within their residing area.

Case Study – Dallas–Fort Worth metro area

Research into the community/culture begins by researching local communities by the breakdown outlined by Wiki namely: location, identity, organization, and ethnicity.

Here is an example of what we found within the DFW metroplex for the 4 C’s.

For the Dallas–Fort Worth metro area the demographics are: as of the 2010 United States census, [1] there were 6,371,773 people. The racial makeup of the MSA was 50.2% White, 15.4% African American, 0.6% Native American, 5.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 10.0% from other races, and 2.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 27.5% of the population.

For example, 5.9% Asian equate to more than 300,000 Asians live in North Texas.

On googling Asian associations in DFW, we found IANT. From their web site: The India Association of North Texas (IANT) is a 501(c)(3) Non-profit, non-political, non-sectarian organization, established in 1962 and incorporated in 1976. Its primary purpose is to serve the cultural and educational needs of the North Texas Indian community. IANT is an approved Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) umbrella organization in the DFW Area by the National Federation of Indian Association. The Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut is one of the largest esteemed umbrella organizations in the Indian community.

It represents over 500,000 strong and vibrant Asian-Indians who provide significant grass root support.

US India Chamber of Commerce DFW is a Dallas-Fort Worth based 501(c)(6) organization whose mission is to support professional, business and economic development throughout North Texas and facilitate bi-lateral trade with India.

GDHCC – Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to grow and support the Hispanic business community in North Texas.

Every year, the GDHCC recognizes Hispanic-owned small businesses and M/WBEs in the North Texas region that have exhibited innovation, community involvement, and dedication, as well as trendsetters that have set the bar for others to follow. The Chamber also recognizes those partners and stakeholders that have demonstrated a commitment to furthering the GDHCCs mission of growing and supporting the Hispanic business community in North Texas.

These organizations have networking hosts events for its members to meet one another, as well as meet with other business and thought leaders. They also host seminars, workshops, and forums to inspire entrepreneurship, help entrepreneurs and business leaders refine skills and promote business development. Annual conferences like women’s conferences etc. take place.

Some of these organizations support local community colleges and universities. Also, some have job portals where jobs can be posted.

On their web site, they list local businesses the majority of which are minority certified.

Dallas has one of the largest gay populations in the US. Gay for Good (G4G Dallas-Fort Worth). It aims to energize and mobilize the LGBTQ community to interact with the greater community by volunteering time to various social welfare and environmental service projects. Nationally they have 16 chapters.

As of 2016, the DFW region is home to approximately 386,358 veterans, making up roughly 1.8 percent of the national veteran population. Veterans comprise 8.1 percent of the adult DFW population, making it one of the denser veteran communities in the nation.




Diversity sourcing solutions


The US Department of Labor – Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) has a “Hire a Veteran” program that is committed to helping America’s veterans and separating service members by preparing them for meaningful careers, providing employment resources and expertise, and protecting their employment rights.

Women Veteran Program – The Women Veteran Program monitors the employment situation of women veterans to ensure DOL VETS programs serve women veterans and male veterans equitably. Free employment services are available at American Job Centers nationwide, and they are effective for women veterans.


Diversity and inclusion sourcing

How to leverage local communities

  1. Here are some tips on how to approach local communities that you research:
  2. Sponsor local diversity events
  3. Become a member of local diversity chambers of commerce
  4. Attend local events like women’s conference hosted by the Hispanic chamber
  5. Access local minority businesses through sponsorship, speaking events
  6. Post jobs on diversity portals
  7. Connect and engage in social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

(“Need a sourcing tip? Check out – LinkedIn Sourcing Tips“)

5 C Ecosystem – Colleges

American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) represents nearly 1,200 two-year, associate degree-granting institutions that have an enrollment of more than 12 million students.

AACC lists 15 community colleges in the DFW metro.

Case Study – Collin County Community College

Collin County is home to four of the top five fastest-growing cities in North Texas, but also the highest home values in the region.

In 2018, 70 percent of Collin County’s more than 1 million people were white and the median age was 37. Nearly 94 percent of residents older than 25 having a high school degree, the highest percent of the four major counties. Collin County residents also have the highest concentration of college graduates of the four.

Collin County Community College is one such college that serves more than 55,000 credit and continuing education students annually and offers more than 100 degrees and certificates. It is made up of 3 campuses of which 33% are full time while 67% are part-time. Male are 45% while females are 55%.

  • Race/Ethnicity breakdown:
  • African American:11.53%
  • Asian/Pacific:10.60%
  • Hispanic:19.70%
  • Native American:0.42%
  • White:49.00%
  • Other:8.63%
  • Total Minority:42.34%

Diversity sourcing best practices

Collin College is a partner to business, government, and industry, providing customized training and workforce development. Also, the college operates the Collin Higher Education Center, which has an enrollment of more than 3,300 each year in partnership with The University of Texas at Dallas, Texas Woman’s University, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Texas Tech University and the University of North Texas.

Collin College was recognized as one of Dallas/Fort Worth’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For® by the National Association for Business Resources. The college district was honored by the NABR for the fourth year in a row at an awards ceremony Jan. 29 in Dallas.

The “Best and Brightest Companies to Work For®” is a national program with annual symposia and award galas presented in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Houston, Milwaukee, San Diego, and San Francisco.

How to leverage local colleges/universities

  1. Attend job fairs conducted open to the community and students
  2. On-Campus recruiting
  3. A jobs database is available for posting of employers’ job descriptions
  4. Bulletin boards to post company information
  5. Connect and engage in social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

(“Also Read aboutTalent sourcing specialist“)

5 C Ecosystem – Companies/Candidates

There are various ways to identify local companies. Start by running some searches on Google, Bing, etc.

We entered searches like: “companies in DFW”; “diversity-friendly companies in DFW”

There are dozens of web sites that provide a comprehensive list. The recruiter can quickly shortlist around 500 companies within a large metroplex like DFW.




Now that we have a comprehensive listing of Fortune 1000 and SMB companies it is time to open LinkedIn. You can start company searches by filtering through different industries starting with your specific industry. You can run searches within 30, 50 or if a small city 100 miles. The list of companies we compiled can be used as individual searches to ensure no candidate slips through.

Now that we know what to look for where – well time to open the spigot and see what is available. Remember the talent pool is what it is. It cannot be modified; it cannot be fuzzed. It cannot be created. Your search will be constrained by the quantity and quality of the available talent pool. If your search is in a large metro, well you will get over a thousand searches. In a small city a much smaller number. Both are problematic. Larger pools mean coming up with the right filters to narrow down your search list. With a smaller number, you may need to go beyond TITO and spend more time analyzing the profiles. You can broaden the search to reach out to candidates asking for referrals.

What is a good size talent pool? A good very comfortable number for us is 200. At the low end, we never take on a search where the pool is smaller than 100.

Finally, the research is over! Now to the easy part! We hopefully by now know what, where, when and how to target! What skillsets; what companies (where); when (open or pipeline roles) and what filters/keywords (how). All your searches will now be coated with intelligent research and hopefully yield the RIGHT candidates (who are the right cultural fit; will stick around and deliver)!

Diversity sourcing search strings

In terms of LinkedIn candidate searches, there is an excellent article in Boolean Black Belt – Diversity Sourcing: Boolean Search Strings for LinkedIn. Glen Cathey the author of Boolean Black Belt lists different strings to run that yield: women, women colleges; ethnicity-based surnames, etc.

For OFCCP compliance you need to set the parameters and document the search as you move through the search.


Diversity sourcing search strings

Diversity sourcing best practices – Conclusion

Finding diversity talent is hard and tedious work when done correctly – at the local level. While outreach and building relationships are long terms and time-consuming – sourcing talent the correct way can yield quick results if conducted the right way. It means stepping back and understanding what your goals are. Are you looking to fill current roles or build pipelines for your recurring challenging roles? Do you have a good understanding of the local communities, colleges, and companies you are running your searches for? Any search project begins with solid research. For a diversity-based typical project, research should be 70%+ effort with the rest effort expended in sourcing.

Diversity needs tend to be ongoing. The company needs to take a long-term approach that involves reaching out, engagement and relationship building. Building diversity talent pipelines is something all companies that have D&I initiatives need to commit to.

The 5 C roadmap is a good starting point to start your diversity sourcing initiatives. The research component for communities, cultures, colleges, and companies ensures you source the right candidates for your current roles and/or ongoing skill-sets. All research from your 5 C road-map can be input into a knowledge base and be updated on an ongoing basis. Your results from your search will be proportionate to the time and effort spent in research. The good part of good research is that it does not have to be repeated from scratch for a new role/skillset.

Proactive sourcing is a necessary ingredient of quality sourcing where you are reaching out to passive talent that is happily employed. Relying on job postings that tend to yield active talent will not work. Recruiters will need to set up a dedicated time to source proactively especially diversity talent. Management needs to understand there are no quick hits or quick solutions to do diversity the correct way. Every company needs to understand its employment brand (what talent can it attract) and have realistic expectations. Correct expectations with researching past history will guide you in the right direction. Robust research will ensure quality sourcing.

Email us at info@globalrhymes.com or call 214 432 0842

Happy diversity sourcing!

Raj Bhargava

Raj Bhargava is the VP of Sourcing Support for Global Rhymes/Sourcing Geeks. Global Rhymes helps small to mid-size companies source and hire great sales talent. Sourcing Geeks helps enterprise companies with sourcing support and diversity sourcing. We have partnered with over 600 companies in the last decade. Enterprise clients have included: Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, GE, HP, Dell, Johnson & Johnson, Comcast, Verizon, Bic, Gap, Staples, Liberty Mutual, Prudential, DuPont, BIC, Blue Cross Blue Shield, WPP, Cisco, Citrix, Avery Dennison, Bank of America, Bloomberg, Gannett. Our Model: https://youtu.be/ib2X3EsQw3E