September 5, 2019
As we discussed in last week's post, many tech departments will see budget increases in 2019. Among other boons, this allows many companies to hire the best and brightest minds at more competitive salaries. If you’re overlooking diversity in hiring, you could be missing out on some of the best talent out there.
Why does diversity in tech matter? A study conducted by the National Center for Women & Information Technology found that companies that included women on their executive board consistently outperformed companies who had only males. The gender-diverse teams had superior results on debt/equity ratios, price/equity ratios and average growth. One of the reasons suspected is that a diverse knowledge base will render more diverse ideas. New and better ideas are easier to formulate with a variety of people with different experiences, backgrounds and thought patterns.
How do you attract a diverse array of candidates of the industry's leading experts to your company? What are some of the ways to hire with diversity in mind?
If you keep attracting and hiring the same kinds of people, perhaps you should try something new to attract different candidates. Initial recruiting tactics are often based on resumes, and looking at shallow points such as the university attended or previous places of employment. However much prestige these schools or companies hold, they’re not always the best indicator of a person’s skills and competencies.
While using these parameters can help “weed out” unqualified applicants, you could potentially be overlooking an ideal candidate. Professionals from lesser-known schools can be just as skilled, or for that matter graduates of trade schools or coding certifications. Have your talent acquisition branch out their efforts to look at a variety of educational history. As tempting as it is to hire someone with some flashy business names on their resume, this doesn’t automatically mean they are the best worker. You could be passing up a candidate with amazing tech skills at a smaller company for the least skilled person at a major brand.
Sometimes you need to go out of your comfort zone to find the best talent. Don’t just scan resumes for keywords and places.
A diverse workforce will attract more diverse workers. If you want to attract diversity, you need to be a company that is attractive to diverse candidates. Most people want to work in an environment with a variety of people and ideas. In fact, companies with an inclusive workforce have a 22% lower turnover rate according to Gallup. Diversity can help you attract and keep skilled workers.
Potential employees notice if you’re trying to check a box or meet a quota. Most companies have a reputation among their employees and potential employees. This usually includes a stereotypical “kind” of person that works there and the environment they work in. If you’re firm is known as a “good old boys club,” you’re not going to have a lot of women that apply for jobs. Furthermore, employment sites like Glassdoor provide applicants with valuable insights into your company’s culture, and unhappy employees are much more likely to leave a comment about their experience. You need to showcase community and inclusion. You need to welcome diversity and mean it. This may involve taking a good, hard look at your department or entire company culture and taking active steps to improve your image.
It may not seem obvious to you, but posted job descriptions can often be alienating to a diverse audience. One ways a post can be discouraging is when it’s gender specific. You may be surprised to find how often that still happens. Many companies are just rehashing the same job descriptions the company has used for years. Those descriptions will often use terms like “guys,” “men,” “fellows,” etc. Gendered language can make an applicant feel unwelcome before they even submit their resume.
Another thing to look out for is ageist language. Phrases like “young and hungry,” give anyone who does not consider themselves young a reason to move past your post. What you’re really looking for is ambition and enthusiasm. A candidate does not have to be young to have those traits.
Think of the job post as something that should persuade a candidate to apply, not something that should scare them away. An open and inclusive posting will get more attention than a specific list of requirements. Some things may be a must-have, but keep in mind many things can be learned as long as you have the right person for the job.
You can even go as far as to request people from a diverse and underrepresented community. Don’t just leave it to the legal lines at the end of the post. Be upfront about how your company welcomes the opportunity to employ people of various race, culture and identities. Talk about how you pride yourself on your diversity and your ability to connect with all potential customers.
These are just a few steps you can take towards a more diverse technology workforce. For more information, connect with us at Aspirant.
Phil is Aspirant's Technology Director with a focus on providing enterprise-grade solutions. His 30 years of experience have given him the opportunity to work across many markets, industries, and applications. Phil is leading a team of skilled web and mobile developers building strategic solutions for our customers.