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NIH Diverse Talent Recruitment Tool

Think beyond rigid definitions of diversity. Talent is a combination of skills and perspective, and diversity of thought extends beyond race/ethnicity and gender. That said, we have found three important components of effective recruitment and retention strategies: 

  • Commit to diversity and inclusion. This includes words (diversity and inclusion statement in all job applications and online institutional language) and actions (building a relationship between academic departments and diversity champions (formal or informal). 
  • Employ scientific rigor in finding, verifying, and choosing talent. 
  • Sustain progress by saving all search-related information in a repository for current and future talent needs. 

Establishing and sustaining diversity within an institution and its sub-levels (schools, divisions, departments) requires a coordinated investment and allocation of resources. We have found that three steps are critical, and that dedicated effort (even if part-time) by data analysts or other personnel is critical for building a diverse candidate pool for current and future searches. 

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1. Sources of diverse talent 

Finding diverse talent cannot be achieved through one-stop shopping but rather requires a multifaceted approach. Nonetheless, there are several good places to start a search. Many institutions and recruiters already employ various resources including the following: 

2. Quantifying and qualifying talent 

For any scientist – from either a well-represented or underrepresented group – gauging success is highly subjective. Moreover, long-standing institutional bias can create an uneven playing field among scientists. Thus, the best approach to quantifying and qualifying talent is a mix of assessments that evaluate a candidate holistically, assessing scholarship and leadership (both within an individual’s disciplinary context), publication record (using bibliometric tools that account for field-to-field differences), and community involvement/service (which is often a 

proxy for leadership). Some examples of useful tools include Web of Science, PubMed, LinkedIn, Google Scholar, and Relative Citation Ratio

3. Keeping track of all candidate data in an organized, systematic way 

Maintaining a dynamic talent pool is a smart investment. Establishing a secured and encrypted repository of search-related information and search outcomes is essential for being prepared to put forth pre-vetted candidates for new searches. As searches will yield candidates that are not selected, those individuals may be a perfect fit for other positions. 

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