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In this post
The current state of DEI in recruiting
Tactics for sourcing underrepresented, nontraditional candidates
The Key to DEI Sourcing is Diversifying Your Strategies
“Talent is universal, opportunity is not. You gotta get out there and find the talent.”
Brittany King, Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition at The Kraft Heinz Company wrapped up our recent webinar, “Tips & Tricks for Sourcing Nontraditional, Diverse Candidates” with this challenge for recruiters and talent teams.
In addition to Brittany, the webinar panelists included Gita Selli, Talent Acquisition Manager at Loadsmart, Mark Tortorici, Sourcing Manager at Meta, and Emmy de la Cruz, Newco’s Director of Talent. Our host, Hung Lee of Recruiting Brainfood, led the discussion that focused on techniques for ensuring a diverse slate of candidates, plus the online and offline spaces to engage with underrepresented talent.
Check out the key insights and takeaways below.
The panelists began by sharing their perspectives on today’s high points and hurdles surrounding diversity recruiting.
In one sense, more resources to support DE&I recruiting are available to talent teams and organizations. Gita pointed out that in the past decade alone, the number of new tools and techniques available to recruiters has soared.
“In 2011, there were maybe one or two avenues to go where they advertise diversity, like The Muse. Now there’s Fairygodboss, MogulHR, The Mom Project, Chief… you’re seeing more and more opportunities for diverse candidates to be part of communities and be heard. It started 10 years ago, but in the last three years, we’ve seen a bigger impact in our generations for wanting more diversity. More people want people that look like each one of us,” said Gita.
While the abundance of resources and tools is leading to a greater awareness of the need to diversify our teams, there isn’t one single catch-all solution. Embracing diversity requires increased awareness, yes, but it also requires real understanding and mindset shifts.
Our host Hung pointed out that the increasing prevalence of diversity options within platforms can be seen as a sign of progress. However, when recruiters rely on a single channel or strategy to generate a more diverse talent pipeline, they’re automatically limiting their demographics.
“Diversity goes beyond just checking a box, or clicking a button,” added Mark. “What people are doing is still limited by the software they rely heavily on. They say, ‘Oh I need more diversity, I’m going to click this button,’ but nobody is thinking about the why behind the button.”
“76% of job seekers are looking at diversity as a measure of whether or not they want to go into a workforce,” said Brittany.
The majority of organizations have realized how imperative diversity is to attracting and retaining talent. That’s why anyone in a people-focused role now has an added level of accountability, said Emmy.
“Companies are being accountable to explain their metrics and the state of their teams. It’s making us more responsible, and we’re taking more active roles in increasing diversity,” she added.
While talent professionals have invested in long-term diversity efforts, progress is slow at the organizational level, in many cases. Hung pointed out that simply designating a team or one person to address diversity in hiring can be counter-productive to changing mindsets on a broader scale.
“I would liken it to trying to drive a car with only two wheels on it,” said Brittany. “We’ve shifted from a place of awareness to accountability, and we’re realizing that we still haven’t gotten very far in our car. We’ve over-indexed on one recruiting function to solve our diversity problems when we have not been intentional about making it an organization initiative.”
Get tips from talent and business leaders for minimizing bias in hiring, to ensure your processes are inclusive to as many candidates as possible.
Developing more nuanced ways to search pages and profiles allows recruiters to capture additional demographic information about their candidates.
On LinkedIn, for example, you aren’t limited to searches only by the words in someone’s title or experience.
“When you’re looking for people, you want to think about what’s available on their profile. One thing people do [on LinkedIn] is give people recommendations. You can capture those words in natural language - in this instance, I added pronouns and some basic action verbs,” said Mark, in explaining how he took a basic boolean search string and turned it into a diversity-focused string for a female software engineering leader.
Profiles are the most commonly searched elements for TA teams, but they’re just one aspect of the most popular platforms for sourcing.
Brittany shared two ideas for creative ways to start conversations with candidates online. The first is in Facebook Groups – these can be professional groups or affinity groups. She explains that the Files section within a group can be extremely valuable for finding resumes, and in some cases, spreadsheets with contact info for members of that group!
The second tip Brittany shared is to comb through comments on LinkedIn.
“If I’m looking for a data scientist, I’ll type in data scientist [in the search bar]. I’ll hit enter and filter by Posts. And then what I do is source in the comments - for instance, to see if someone tagged someone else that might be looking for a job,” she explained.
79% of people say they would consider a company’s mission and purpose before applying for a job, according to a Glassdoor survey. We want our work to mean something. More and more candidates are looking for that passion from current team members, which is why community-building around a particular topic or field has become a powerful recruitment tactic.
Gita shared an example of an initiative Loadsmart’s LATAM tech team started to engage with more women in engineering and development in the region. The team saw a gap in LATAM – both in terms of the number of women in tech careers and in communities for these women. They wanted to grow the number of women in tech in that region, so they started organizing and sponsoring panels.
“Our team did the research - they mapped out which groups would really resonate with us and reached out to them. Recently, the whole tech team did a big event with Laboratoria, an online Boot Camp for women,” said Gita. “They got to talk to women about their careers and what was unique is that it all came from [their] passion of wanting to grow the number of women in tech.”
Along with field or industry-focused events, research in-person and online events associated with affinity groups or Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Members of affinity groups and ERGs share similar professional and life experiences. One of the major purposes of these groups is to provide support and a sense of belonging, so these are channels to build a presence and relationship over time, rather than going in cold and immediately expecting attendees to jump at open roles.
“For instance, this month is Hispanic Heritage Month, so you can look at events surrounding that on LinkedIn and Facebook to see who is engaging in those,” said Emmy. “People are connected within those communities.”
Several of the panelists touched on the importance of education in the recruiting process, rather than trying to pitch the company or the benefits. Candidates want transparency and clear communication, so authenticity is essential.
“Stop talking about the jobs and the feature selling, and start talking about career development and why this stuff matters. What are the problems this company is solving?” added Hung. “Those questions are actually much more interesting - and the folks that are interested in it are going to be much more aligned with the needs of the business.
Continued education is key for recruiters, too. Brittany shared Kraftz Heinz’s philosophy of elevation through education: To learn about diversity, get involved in groups where you are the only one in that group, demographically.
“Be willing to have the difficult conversations, and be a listening ear,” added Brittany.
Ensuring your DE&I efforts are ongoing will keep them at the forefront of your team's and your company's priorities. Frequent check-ins are important to make sure your team is moving forward and continuing to take steps toward diversifying.
Additionally, our understanding of diversity and inclusion as a society is constantly evolving so it’s important to stay up to date with best practices in each area of hiring. The most important takeaway from this webinar is that DEI sourcing requires commitment, adaptation, and most importantly, creativity.
As Hung commented, “If you do the same thing as everyone else, you have zero competitive advantage.”
Thank you to Brittany, Gita, Mark, and Emmy for sharing their insights, and to Hung for hosting this enlightening panel!
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