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Different paths to diversity in online recruiting

diversity in online recruitingAlthough studies have shown that companies with more diverse employees – both with regard to gender and ethnicity – tend to outperform their peers, actual progress by organizations via diversity in online recruiting has been slow. Why? Because (a) it’s hard to change any recruiting process, and (b) we tend to hire people that look and act like us. Another – and perhaps more pertinent – question for those of us in recruitment marketing is: what are we as an industry doing to make this process easier and more effective for our clients? Well, our industry has been grappling with this challenge for years – and new approaches keep surfacing. Let’s take a look:

  • Niche sites: One approach has been to build a site that specifically targets a specific minority. One of the original examples of this type of diversity in online recruiting (dating back to 1997!) is LatPro, which focuses on jobs for Hispanics and Spanish-speakers. By concentrating specific types of jobs that appeal to the minority, these sites give employers an efficient way to reach the right audience. The niche site approach has been very popular, targeting multiple minority groups (like, specific minorities (like LatPro), or subgroups inside a specific profession (LatinosInHigherEd).
  • Subgroups in larger populations: Another approach (which I believe first emerged at the larger job boards like Monster) is to identify specific types of candidates inside a much larger population, and then market specifically to this subgroup. For example, let’s say you have 3 million registered job seekers, and you also have demographic info on these job seekers. Voila! You extract the relevant subgroup (millennial women, say) and send them the employer’s recruiting message. This approach can also take the form of opt-in communities or even (heaven forbid!) ‘talent communities’ that are in fact generated by the job board or recruiting site.
  • Communities: Imagine a site that focuses explicitly on working women: their careers, concerns, and goals. Better yet, take a look at sites like Fairygodboss or TechLadies. They focus on creating online communities that just happen to revolve around work (because doesn’t everything?). Some move in the direction of Glassdoor-like ratings (InHerSight or Fairygodboss), whereas others (like Werk and PowerToFly) are going the gig economy/remote work route. You can argue that these are simply niche job boards – but I would argue that these push past the traditional niche site definition. From the employer’s standpoint, what matters is that these communities can offer an easy way to tap into a diverse/minority population – and get a job filled.
  • Technology: Finally, a newer breed of offerings use technology to encourage more diverse hiring. For example, HRx and Blendoor focus on ‘anonymizing’ the job application process – in essence, putting job applicants on a more level playing field, and allowing employers to avoid implicit or unconscious bias during hiring. Another approach is to use various ‘secret sauce’ algorithms during sourcing to identify a more diverse candidate pool (Entelo Diversity is a good example). In both cases, technology is used to either offset hiring practices that have historically hurt minority applicants, or augment recruiting and sourcing efforts to find and connect with diverse applicant pools.

Employers are not stupid (well, ok, some of them aren’t). They want a more diverse workforce for competitive, PR, and ‘fill the seats’ reasons. These are recruiting needs that our industry have historically filled. These are candidate populations that should be served. And (need I remind you?) wherever there is a recruitment need for diversity in online recruiting, there is a revenue opportunity.

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