Diverse Job Candidates Are Invited to SHRM’s D&I Job Fair on June 20

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer June 8, 2018

Job seekers will have the opportunity to engage with a diverse group of employers on Wednesday, June 20, during the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2018 National Diversity & Inclusion Job Fair in Chicago. The event is being held in conjunction with SHRM's Annual Conference & Exposition.

Participating companies with job openings to fill will include such industry stalwarts as Eli Lilly & Co., Accenture, Northwestern Mutual and Jewel/Osco, as well as emerging businesses such as Grubhub, Yelp and Zebra Technologies. More than 30 companies will be participating, and their profiles and lists of open positions are available online.

SHRM is partnering with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the DAV (Disabled American Veterans), the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE), the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT), The Chicago Community Trust & Affiliates, the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources, Chicago State University and a range of leading diversity partners.

This is the first time SHRM has hosted a job fair focused on diversity.

"We often hear from members and find from our research that companies want to recruit a diverse workforce but may have trouble finding those candidates," said Tony Lee, vice president of editorial for SHRM. "We understand that it's a challenge to find qualified, diverse candidates in a range of fields and functions in regions across the country. The idea behind this event is to bring those candidates and companies together."

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund supports a "largely untapped pool of diverse candidates" who attend or attended historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), said M. Scott Lilly, president of the Opportunity Funding Corporation and chief programs officer for the TMCF, the nation's largest organization exclusively representing the black college community.

By partnering with SHRM, "our recent graduates will have the opportunity to connect with companies seeking to expand their recruiting efforts and allow SHRM to provide its members with another option to dispel the myth that companies cannot find diverse talent," he said.

Lilly added that "HBCUs are punching above their weight, graduating a much higher percentage of STEM students than other universities—a strong indication that HBCUs have talent with the technical and soft skills companies seek."  

[SHRM members-only online discussion platform: SHRM Connect]

The event will be more personal than job fairs of the past, where masses of people milled around a large ballroom trying to get the attention of recruiters in their booths. Participants will have one-on-one interviews with some of the region's most prestigious organizations, workshops led by professional career counselors, and networking opportunities with other diverse professionals.

"We're doing something very different," Lee said. "Each company will have its own suite, where they can conduct an initial screening and, if the candidate looks promising, invite them in for an in-depth interview on the spot. It's possible—and likely—that many companies will be extending offers that day."

The individual approach to connecting underrepresented talent is important and valuable, said Torin Ellis, a leading diversity strategist and author. "Allowing employers to fully explore candidates' creative contribution, ability to add cultural ingredients and ultimately determine if they are the type of talent the organization needs should be a rewarding experience," he said.

Inclusion—the prime but oftentimes neglected factor of the D&I formula—will also be addressed, Lee said.

"Employers are prepared to show evidence that not only are they looking to hire diverse candidates, but they have developed cultures that value inclusion as well."

The SHRM National Diversity & Inclusion Job Fair is a free event for job seekers and is open to all candidates and experience levels, from recent college graduates to experienced professionals.

People who just want to learn how to job hunt and network more effectively—even if they are not up for interviewing—can participate at no cost and sit through workshops on a range of topics, led by such presenters as Kamilah Allen, the director of student career advising at Northwestern University, and Arlene Hirsch, a veteran career counselor and job search coach.

The event will be held at the Union League Club of Chicago, 65 Jackson Blvd. from 1-6 p.m.

Advanced registration is required at https://diversityjobfair.shrm.org/jobseeker/.

For additional information, visit https://diversityjobfair.shrm.org.


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