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Recruitment & Hiring

JQT Hiring Test
Credit: romul 014/Shutterstock

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Actively recruit a diverse pool of applicants. Implement skills-based hiring that only requires the education, credentials, and experience needed to do the job. Be intentional about onboarding and retaining workers.

Strategies and Actions

Recruit From Diverse Sources of Talent

  • Actively recruit and track talent from underrepresented communities at universities, community colleges, and all minority-serving institutions.
  • Offer job shadow programs and internships with local high schools, community colleges, or community-based organizations.
  • Highlight inclusive benefits like childcare and paid leave in job descriptions.
  • Offer on-ramps to late-career workers.

Implement Skills-Based Hiring and Promotion Practices

  • Evaluate the credential and experience requirements in job descriptions and remove four-year degree requirements, where appropriate.
  • Limit job requirements to “must haves.”
  • Reduce narrow definitions of relevant prior experience, and count life experiences.
  • Consider diverse hiring slate policies, and remove personal and demographic information from the hiring process.
  • Conduct structured and skills-based interviews. Where negotiation over salary is permitted, institute consistent practices and oversight to ensure equity.
  • Eliminate salary history as a basis for screening applicants and pay setting.

Prioritize Onboarding

  • Create an onboarding checklist of important actions (with deadlines) for staff and supervisors to do before the new person arrives (e.g., prepare security badges, keys, a computer, or personal protective equipment).
  • Create an onboarding checklist for new hires that includes important “to do’s” with dates (e.g., choose benefits by x date).
  • Make sure your company is ready to welcome and include diverse talent. For example, you might translate onboarding or training materials into multiple languages.
  • Have a buddy, friend, or other mentor system for new hires.
  • Be as inclusive as any company can possibly be: understand a person’s pronouns and what is motivational for them.

Create a Formal Retention Plan for Your Organization

  • Ask employees what makes them stay (or would make them stay). Employee surveys and focus groups can uncover opportunity blind spots (e.g., workers prefer more flex time over wage increase). Offer flexible benefits, not a “one size fits all” package.
  • Understand and adapt to causes of turnover (i.e., childcare, culture fit, job security, benefits, wages).
  • Foster belonging; create a learning environment around the fundamentals of inclusivity and a psychologically safe place.
  • Succession planning is essential; be strategic about apprenticeships and cross-training for senior positions.
  • Ensure all have a well-explained path for learning and performance milestones.

Job Quality Baldrige Style

See how Baldrige Award recipients demonstrate many of the strategies and actions recommended in the Job Quality Toolkit.


  • Baldrige Customer Service
    (301) 975-2036
    100 Bureau Drive, M/S 1020
    Gaithersburg, MD 20899-1020
Created February 15, 2023, Updated April 12, 2023