If one of your 2021 goals is to make diverse voices an integral part of your business, it's time to seriously reexamine how you build your talent network

Typically composed of candidates who have applied for a position in the past or who have already expressed interest in the company, talent networks are a great resource for shaving time off the often lengthy recruitment process. Think of it as a pool of applicants who have already "swiped right" on your company, whom news of a new position would probably interest. However, without the proper inclusion strategy, this network can also be a way of siloing your applicants. 

The truth is, diverse hiring takes strategy and planning. You can't just leave it to fate. If you are relying on your same tired talent network, you run the risk of not attracting a diverse pool of applicants and only interviewing candidates from similar backgrounds and experience levels. 

Looking to make a big change to your recruitment strategy in 2021? Here are four ways to start building an inclusive and diverse talent network. 

1. Take a red pen to your job listings. 

It's time to put the current verbiage of your company's job listings under a microscope. When perusing job listings online, candidates make snap judgments on whether they have enough experience to apply. 

To mitigate the risk of qualified diverse candidates passing on your listings, be mindful of inclusive wording and nix gender-specific pronouns. Preface postings by stating that you encourage applicants to apply even if they don't have the recommended years of experience. 

2. Ask your employees for staffing recommendations. 

Even if you are not starting with the most robust talent network, I can guarantee you that you have more connections than you think. To utilize all the resources at your disposal, put out calls for colleagues and employees to refer or suggest other candidates in their network.

Having a personal connection already working at the company can encourage unlikely or overlooked candidates to feel confident enough to apply. 

3. Host your own virtual networking events. 

While attending conferences is a great way to meet new people and expand your own circle, it isn't the only way. Consider hosting your own network event instead (virtual or otherwise). This allows you to completely tailor the event to best suit your needs, while allowing it to be more intimate and customized to your specific interests and objectives. 

Already hosted an event? Reconnect with those who have attended your past events to further develop those relationships.

4. When in doubt, get creative. 

You don't have to be Einstein to know that you can't do the same thing over again and expect different results, yet we often forget this logic when hiring. 

While your trusty hiring resources may have been your go-to for the past several years, it's time to get creative and expand where you connect with new candidates and talent. For example, look toward different organizations and schools for eager new graduates hungry for an internship or entry-level position. You will be surprised by how easily your network expands by simply engaging in conversations at the dog park or while you're waiting in line at the grocery store.