Beware the Diversity Filter

Many sourcing products are releasing “diversity features” and then selling you the same product from 2 years ago except with the additional false promise of also improving diversity and inclusion at your company.

If you want to have a strong impact on diversity and inclusion on your team, beware of buying software based on just these diversity features if that’s not the core mission of the company selling it. If the company’s mission is to do something else but they’re selling you diversity, it probably means their core value isn’t strong enough, or they’re only selling you diversity because it’s trendy, not because it’s a value they provide.

Here are a couple of features that I’m starting to see across sourcing products that bill themselves as a silver bullet to improving your organization’s diversity. Don’t fall for these. Save your money and spend it on throwing a happy hour for a URM (Underrepresented Minority) Affinity Group, allocate higher budgets for professional development in your ERGs (Employee Resource Group) or announce a referral bonus for URM hires, as Freada Klein would tell you.

The Diversity Filter

Habitat: Commonly found in

  • Talent search software
  • Talent outreach software

Identifying features:

Risks:

  1. EEOC and GDPR compliance around sensitive and Personal data
  2. The technology behind these filters is hard to get right, since this is not generally based on candidate-reported data, it’s more often guessed by a machine learning algorithm based on name / age / facial rec on profile images, etc. This means that if there is any bias in the technology behind this it’s going to mess up your sourcing.
  3. If the teams you are hiring on know about your use of this feature, they may perceive this as lowering the bar, even though it may not be. This will hurt your culture more than actually lowering the bar.

The Anonymizer

Habitat: Commonly found in

  • Talent databases
  • Tracking software

Identifying features:

  • Hide faces and names of talent
  • Replacing people images with cartoons
  • Made up names that are randomly generated

Risks:

  1. Fake names may actually introduce bias
  2. Harder to control one-time outreach. For example, how do you know if you already reached out to that person on LinkedIn Recruiter, or if they’re already in your interview process?
  3. Harder to gain competitive advantage through network based sourcing. E.g if you find a candidate that looks great and they are the same school and year as someone on your team, you’d want to ask that person if they can reach out to the candidate in order to maximize your chances of getting a response.

Is there any tech that can actually help with D&I?

Of course there is! It’s only fair that I mention some tech and features that are actually being built with equal opportunity as an objective.

  1. Blind Assessment Software — If you’re trying to build a meritocracy based on a standardized assessment method, blind assessments especially when it comes to technical engineering interviews can be an equalizing factor. E.g interviewing.io, GapJumpers
  2. Demographic Analytics — features and software that gives you insight into what your candidate pipeline looks like at various stages of the hiring process. What is not measured will not be improved. 
    E.g Greenhouse Inclusion
  3. Language Improvement — features and software that helps you write in a more inclusive way. After all, job descriptions, offer letters, and a lot of other important communications with potential candidates are written. E.g Textio

It’s about how you use your tools

At the end of the day, you can use exactly the same tools that you use today and still make a big dent in your team’s diversity and inclusion challenges.

It’s not always about getting better tools, it’s about improving the way you use them.

Did I miss any? Tweet me @pseudovirtual and I’ll add them.