Thoughtful Hiring for Underrepresented Candidates

The progress towards an inclusive workforce is slow and arduous. Making actionable ideas into an equitable reality requires us to analyze not only how we treat our current colleagues; we also have to examine how companies hire them, from job post to offer.

Reword your job posts.

A commitment to inclusion doesn’t start with who gets an interview; it starts with whom the job posts are aimed at, implicitly or not. The nature of language means that we cannot just hire inclusively by listing the needs and wants of a team.

adolfo-felix-546626-unsplash.jpg

Certain commonly used words in job posts can be gender-coded, driving away potential female applicants, like “coding ninja” or “data rockstar” Unnecessary corporate jargon can exclude entry level talent. An overwhelming amount of qualifications or skills required for the role can often push away compatible talent. Keep it to the main requirements that would be most fundamental to an employee’s success on the team. Look into software like Textio Hire, enabling companies to use inclusive and gender-neutral terms.

We’ve all seen companies state their support in Equal Employment Opportunity. It’s usually a cursory sentence at the bottom of the job posting, but including an expanded diversity statement or linking to a company-wide one demonstrates a further commitment to inclusion, in hiring and in the workplace.

Rethink company culture and bias.

There is some merit to cultural alignment. For example, at Atipica, we care about inclusive workplaces and opening new doors for underrepresented talent. Thus, a candidate who demonstrates the ability to engage in difficult conversations about diversity in the workforce would align with our values.

However, it’s important to distinguish between that and deciding to hire someone based on whether or not you can enjoy a beer with them at Happy Hour. An interviewer might enjoy working with a candidate who went to their same Big Ten University. It’s a common inquiry, often getting its own field on job application sites, but it’s unrelated to their skillset and what they can bring to the table.

Especially in areas like the Silicon Valley, ageism is rampant. A mother of three is less likely to want to play ping pong with her coworkers after work hours, but that’s not a good indicator of whether or not she’ll be able to thrive in the workplace. Even with companies that are “pro-diversity,” African-American and Asian applicants have more “luck” scoring interviews when they “whiten” resumes, excluding cultural affiliated organizations and changing their names to more “white” names. Time and time again, we’ve seen that bias affects our hiring process. In order to fight for inclusion, it’s important to take a long, hard look at our own biases and how to actively hire people equitably despite that.

Gather insights, then act on them.

Turning to data when promoting diversity initiatives is important, but what’s equally important is gaining actionable insights from the data. For example, if there are primarily male applicants, why? If more female candidates withdraw after an onsite interview, why? The future of diverse hiring points to AI. Software like Atipica provides insight by tracking applicant and company behavior, as to pinpoint at which stage a company’s hiring funnel can be improved. People who come from non-traditional/underrepresented backgrounds often represent themselves in different ways. Atipica also looks for candidates with related skills, even those not expressly written in the resume or job posting. Not only are we working to aggregate your data; we want to provide actionable insights that lead to meaningful change.

Making sure candidates are treated equitably isn’t a given or an easy fix. It would be amiss for the tech hiring world give half-hearted efforts, or to lean on tokenism. Instead it requires a relentless commitment to inclusion; we must look insightfully at data that can push for meaningful change in our workplaces.

Screen Shot 2018-09-10 at 10.37.14 AM
Diversity Day

Oh, and yeah. Whatever you do, when it comes to diversity, don’t be like Michael.

Leave a Reply