While attracting workers overall remains a major focus among talent acquisition professionals, employers are also keenly aware of the value of keeping their organization’s recruiting pipelines full of diverse candidates. Glassdoor’s Job & Hiring Trends 2020 report emphasizes that not only is diversity one of the nine cultural values associated with high-performing companies, it’s also an investment priority—64% of workers note that their organizations are “investing more in diversity and inclusion than in prior years.”
The increased attention on diversity is a good thing for companies, employees, job seekers and those involved with developing recruiting technology. Regarding the latter, the attention has already translated into greater scrutiny regarding how recruiting software and associated algorithms work, especially as related to the ability to mitigate human biases and, therefore, better support diversity and inclusion recruiting initiatives. The good news is that we’re witnessing progress on several fronts, from text analysis to reduce bias in job ads to changes at Facebook that prohibit advertisers from targeting their job ads by age, race, gender or other characteristics that are legally protected in the United States.
Broader Applications of Technology for Diversity Recruiting
Of course, improving job ads is just one aspect of how technology and the policies dictating its use are leading to better diversity hiring practices. However, companies that apply recruiting technology more broadly to support diversity recruiting stand to realize more meaningful outcomes. More specifically, the following three applications should be on the radar of any recruiting team dedicated to improving diversity and inclusion across the organization:
1. Look to technology to mitigate hiring bias at the outset. Both automation and AI-driven applications are being used to by enterprise organizations to source and screen applicants, especially in the case of high-volume positions. Job seekers, governments and nonprofit entities have all expressed concerns about the transparency of these solutions along with the need to ensure that the algorithms that drive them are free of bias. And while it’s important to recognize that the alternative—human-led hiring assessments and decisions—has long been negatively influenced by our unconscious biases, the HR tech industry should do everything it can to support transparency and ongoing validation. On the plus side of technology, it’s been shown that machines are fully capable of ignoring information known to trigger bias during sourcing and assessment, everything from a candidate’s name to the school she attended, resulting in a far more level playing field for applicants. Further, properly-trained and validated AI can be trusted to automatically make adjustments that deliver unbiased outcomes.
What’s important from the perspective of the corporate talent acquisition teams that use—or are planning to use—these tools is to make sure they have clear visibility through their vendors as to how the AI recruiting application was built and how it works. What we’ve found is that the best results always occur when you pair machine learning with recruiter oversight.
2. Implement technology that makes it easy to build and nurture relationships with diverse workers. One of the best methods for connecting with target candidates is to sponsor and attend relevant events. For example, many companies that want to attract more women to their tech teams attend the annual Grace Hopper Celebration, which brings together tens of thousands of “women technologists and the best minds in computing” for both learning and networking opportunities.
The challenge is that simply attending the events doesn’t always lead to effective recruiting outcomes as it’s really the organization’s pre- and post-event activities that are most critical to success. For example, one of our customers leveraged the GR8 People recruitment event management solution to pre-screen hundreds of Grace Hopper Celebration attendees prior to the event and then invite matches to self-schedule a time for an onsite conversation, thereby making the most of those connections. Candidate relationship management software can then be leveraged to create a dedicated “women in STEM” community for ongoing nurturing and engagement activities that are facilitated through the CRM’s marketing automation features and functionality.
3. Use technology to uncover the diverse talent you already have access to. We know that in today’s hyper-competitive talent acquisition environment, busy recruiters often spend their days working on auto-pilot in order to keep up with hiring needs. Unfortunately, the result is that recruiting teams may ultimately default to looking externally first for candidates as soon as a job opens. Technology offers tremendous promise here as the AI-driven sourcing and assessment applications mentioned in #1 can be set to launch automatically to source from internal candidate databases, which often include qualified, interested and available candidates who are talent community members, such as those women in STEM candidates you’ve been nurturing for months.
In addition, there are AI tools on the market that can dramatically improve the ability to identify “non-traditional” talent potential within an organization. For example, machine learning programs are creating models that reveal high-potential employees who weren’t necessarily on the promotion track because they didn’t conform to a manager’s typical “picture” of success. This offers organizations an opportunity to simultaneously address employee growth and development while building more diverse management and leadership teams.
No matter where your organization is today in terms of diversity recruiting, technology—when implemented thoughtfully and managed properly—can help your talent acquisition team get there faster and more efficiently. While early applications of AI in diversity recruiting reinforce the importance of continually monitoring the results produced by algorithms, the investment is well worth it for those committed to creating more diverse and inclusive environments.
Take a closer look at the topics discussed above and more—download our white paper, Brave New World of HR: The Influence of AI and Automation.