Book Review: Diversity Recruitment Advertising Toolkit

The Diversity Recruitment Advertising Toolkit fills an important niche, but one which at first glance may seem anachronistic in the Internet age.

Although described in the title as a “Toolkit,” the great strength of this book is not in its provision of suggestions and advice for reaching and attracting minority candidates. Rather, the bulk of this text — and its forte — perhaps best described by its subtitle, “A Directory of Media Targeting Minority Professionals,” is a large listing of ways to reach minority applicants, including many ways to do so through old-fashioned non-electronic communications, as well as through web sites, electronic job boards, and the like.

Sources listed include:

  • Over 650 career-focused national newsletters, magazines, journals, web sites, job banks and job boards targeting college-educated African American, Arab American, Asian American, Hispanic and Native American professionals.
  • Over 210 advertising agencies that specialize in recruitment advertising and marketing, as well as those who have expertise in targeting African American, Asian American, and Hispanic markets.
  • Hundreds of specialized national media in over 30 industries and career specialties.

The book provides websites, mail and email addresses, as well as phone numbers, for each organization. The sheer number of these organizations is a nice advantage for a recruiter aiming to post jobs. An index in the back of the text sorts the organizations by the minority group that they focus on, so a recruiter who is focusing on Native Americans, for example, can easily locate a large number of these organizations.

On the negative side, some of the organizations are listed as “inactive.” Moreover, aside from contact information and a very brief description of each organization, little information about such things as pricing is provided. Thus, recruiters will have to obtain a lot of information on their own.

Aside from the main indices, there are several other major sections in this text. One of these sections provides names and contact information for recruitment advertising agencies. The other section provides information on recruitment and multicultural advertising associations (not merely focusing on recruitment). For a recruiter looking for extensive help in developing and conducting a recruitment campaign, these sections may be valuable.

Two sections in the book provide advice on diversity recruitment and legal issues in recruitment. This is fairly basic-level information, but covers some very important points, for example, a list of terms of avoid in recruitment advertising, such as “Girl,” “Waitress,” and “Recent College Graduate.”

Reviewing this book, which was done at the request of its author, Tracey de Morsella, gave us an opportunity for a bit of reflection on the role of diversity recruiting in today’s employment environment.

My first thought, since I recently examined difficult issues of affirmative action and reverse discrimination from a legal standpoint, was that this book could be used effectively to aid in the least controversial and least legally risky type of diversity effort: expanding the diversity of the applicant pool.

No ugly issues of quotas or minority preferences are raised when an employer, or its recruiter, simply works to ensure that it is able to select from a group of applicants that is as diverse as possible, and then uses nondiscriminatory, fair, and valid selection criteria to make the actual hiring decisions.

A second thought is that since there is still a “digital divide,” relying exclusively or primarily on Internet advertising and recruiting may have a disparate impact on minorities, which may be unlawful under discrimination laws.

Using resources such as this directory to reach out through print advertising, more targeted electronic communications, and direct contact with listed organizations to seek more minority applicants, if coupled with other recruiting efforts not targeting minorities, should neutralize this impact, without going too far and leading to “reverse discrimination.”

Here’s the website for The Diversity Recruitment Advertising Toolkit, where you can order your copy.

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