3 Software Features to Help You Prioritize Diversity Recruiting

By: Sierra Rogers on October 6, 2020

Just last month, a Software Advice survey found that 46% of respondents feel more pressure from their workforce than usual this year to become more diverse and inclusive. Employers are responding to that pressure in different ways, but for most, diversifying their workforce is a top priority.

So what’s the solution? You can’t just recruit your way out of a lack of diversity. Hiring solely based on diversity traits is a big no-no in the eyes of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), without even mentioning how terrible of an idea it is to skip over qualified candidates.

Well, here’s the good news: Recruiting software can help, and it seems many of your peers are already aware of this. In fact, our survey found that nearly 9 in 10 employers have implemented or plan to implement software that will help them build a diverse workforce.

Whether you’re already using these tools or you’re just becoming aware of them, it’s a good idea to acquaint yourself with what’s out there. Below, we highlight three features of recruiting software that can help you diversify your workforce.

1. Find diverse talent with AI-driven sourcing

Of the HR leaders we surveyed this August, 52% say their employers currently have diversity hiring quotas. Another 42% stated that their employers plan to implement diversity hiring quotas. That means that nearly all of the respondents that participated in our survey see building a diverse workforce as a priority for their business.

However, achieving this goal relies on recruiting from a diverse hiring pool. If your standard sources for job applicants aren’t exposing you to a diverse pool of potential employees, don’t worry: Many recruiting tools are built with features that help you find minority candidates.

Artificial intelligence (AI) sourcing is one example of a feature recruiters use for this purpose. AI sourcing typically involves using filters to scan available online information to find candidates that meet your hiring criteria.

Recruiters can create these filters themselves, and though they might choose to filter for certain genders or ethnicities, they can also use them to identify candidates with other relevant criteria such as certifications or skills. One benefit of using AI sourcing is that you start your search with a much greater candidate pool, because you can search the open web as well as your internal systems.

AI-driven sourcing isn’t offered with every recruiting tool, so keep that in mind during the software selection process. Ask vendors if they offer this feature early on, and check out our guide to see some examples of popular and highly rated software systems that do have this functionality.

2. Minimize unconscious biases with blind hiring mode

A significant detriment to workplace diversity is the tendency among recruiters and hiring managers to hire people just like them. It’s easy to fall into this trap, as humans, but building a diverse workplace requires breaking this habit. To do that, we have to take action to minimize unconscious bias during the hiring process.

What is unconscious bias? Unconscious or implicit bias is the term used to describe when we act on the basis of prejudice and stereotypes without intending to do so.

One recruiting strategy teams can use to minimize unconscious bias is blind hiring. Blind hiring anonymizes candidates by removing all personal and demographic information from the hiring process. The idea is that hiring managers will be less clouded by unconscious bias and assess candidates on their skills and ability alone.

Blind hiring is not a new concept; it originated in the 1970s, when musicians began auditioning for symphonies from behind a curtain. According to some studies, this practice increased the likelihood that a woman would be hired by between 25% and 45%.

Many HR tools offer a version of blind hiring mode. Name, college, gender, and race are examples of identifiers this feature can obscure during the screening process. Some even keep applicants info anonymized until after they’re invited for an interview.

Check out our Human Resources Software FrontRunners report for highly-rated tools.

3. Screen candidates efficiently with a skills-based assessment

Imagine this: Instead of vetting the past experience of every candidate that applies to an open position, you could interview applicants right off the bat by testing their ability to perform day-to-day tasks.

That’s what skills-based assessments are designed to do, and though many HR tools offer this feature, only a handful are designed to remove unconscious bias by keeping applicants anonymous.

For example, some recruiting platforms will redact personal information (such as name, college, and address) from a candidate’s profile so that hiring managers make decisions based only on the results from their skills test.

Tatyana Tyagun, HR generalist at Chanty, noticed that their team of developers was a rather homogenous group. She says:

“The moment you see someone’s resume, you immediately start making a mental picture of how they fit in and as a result, your team ends up looking all alike. [Because of that] our developers were all 20-something males that looked the same and had the same interests.”

Tatyana’s team decided to use recruiting software to help them diversify their team of developers. They found success using a platform that offered a skills-based assessment screening where the identity of candidates was concealed until their application was complete.

Curious what tool Tatyana’s team used? Check out tool #3 in our guide.

Next steps: Invest in diversifying your workforce

If you want to avoid remaining in your own homogenous bubble, invest in diversifying your workforce today. But before you invest in a new recruiting solution, recognize that facilitating a diverse workplace requires a human touch and consider taking these steps:

  1. Solidify a diversity plan and communicate it. Walk the walk. Come up with organizational goals for diversity and communicate them to internal workers and job seekers alike. Given this transparency, they might be more likely to volunteer personal information to improve your efforts.

  2. Find your gaps. Break out of your day-to-day perspective and get a bird’s-eye view of the makeup of your workforce to see where you need to improve diversity. This can be done through a random voluntary survey or a more advanced diversity management solution.

  3. Check out our guide: 3 Popular Systems to Help You Prioritize Diversity Recruiting. Learn about three popular recruiting tools and how they can help you build a diverse workforce.

Software Advice COVID-19 HR Impact Survey 2020 Methodology

The Software Advice COVID-19 HR Impact Survey was conducted in August 2020. We surveyed 123 HR “leaders,” defined as CHROs, HR vice presidents, HR directors, HR managers, or any other role with HR leadership responsibilities at U.S.-based businesses. We worded the questions to ensure that each respondent fully understood the meaning and the topic at hand.