Recruitment is perceptibly critical to achieving adequate minority representation. If there are inadequate numbers of qualified minority applicants in the recruited pool, then it is highly unlikely that ensuing selection procedures will result in a balanced or representative workforce. Thus, targeted minority recruitment can be an effectual strategy for diversity enhancement as it allows organizations to attract the most talented applicants.
The first step in attracting sufficient numbers of minorities entails the placement, nature, and content of advertising materials and other organizational communications (AARP, 1993). However, the messages and media that work with White males can not be evenly effective with members of minority groups and can just be successful if they reach the minority audience. While faced with potentially small numbers of minority applicants, organizations must engage in cooperative efforts with educational institutions and training centers so as to develop their own pool of potential applicants.
This includes sponsoring special classes, mentoring programs, or apprenticeship programs in order to develop a skilled pool of applicants. The advertising message must create a sincere impression that minorities are valued by the organization. Using minority images as part of the recruitment package can help in building an organization’s status as having a minority-friendly workplace. Studies suggest that recruitment advertisements that comprise minority workers (e. g.
, African American, female) make positive organizational images among minorities (Avery, 2003). Also, using minority recruiters tends to boost the interest of minority applicants. The presence of successful minority employees sends a signal to applicants that the organization is committed to expanding its workforce, that potential role models exist within the organization, and that minorities have a strong probability of success. Individuals are expected to apply to an organization if it is viewed as socially responsible.
However, the effects of advertising an affirmative action policy on the recruitment of minorities are less clear and given that one of the main goals of any affirmative action program is to raise the recruitment of minorities, it is somewhat surprising that comparatively little research attention has been aimed toward the question of the effects of affirmative action policies on the attraction of applicants to an organization. So as to successfully recruit applicants, affirmative action procedures should be perceived as both fair and emphasizing merit.
Thus, communications concerning affirmative action must emphasize that affirmative action is a means for decreasing discriminatory barriers. Minorities are more expected to respond in a positive manner to an affirmative action program in which the emphasis is on forming a climate of achievement in which all individuals can compete practically. Once the organization has attracted the applicant and established the potential match between the applicant and the organization, it should then maintain the motivation and interest of the applicant throughout the initial exchanges of information and throughout a sometimes protracted selection process.
Because applicants use information about and from the selection process to make inferences concerning organizational attributes, it is significant to communicate to applicants that minorities are respected by the organization and that the selection procedures are fair and replicate merit. Furthermore, specific characteristics of the selection procedure such as time lags between selection procedures (Arvey, Gordon, Massengill, ; Mussio, 1975), professed content validity, and perceived job-relatedness could influence minority applicants’ decisions to remain or take out from the selection process.
In spite of higher unemployment rates for racial minorities, attempts to target recruitment toward racial minorities have formed mixed results. The research literature suggests that the recruitment of racial minorities is influenced by several perceptual factors including reactions to advertising, affirmative action policies, and the fairness of selection methods and processes. Women applicants lean to be attracted to family friendly organizations that underline the availability of benefits such as flexible work arrangements, eldercare, and childcare (Doverspike, Taylor, Shultz et al.
, 2000). Also, women job seekers tend to react more favorably to equal employment opportunity policies than do men (Doverspike & Arthur, 1995). Finally, the job search behavior of older workers is often shaped by their health, finances, and education. In addition to health care provisions and salary, the older worker is mainly likely to be influenced by flexibility in work options and the accessibility of retirement programs.
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