As an outbound recruiting company, we at Dover are often asked to focus a search on diversity. Sometimes this is because a mostly-male startup is looking for its first female engineering hire, or that a leadership team has looked around and realized that there aren't enough (or any!) underrepresented minorities in the room.
We welcome these hard conversations and actively encourage our clients to have them. To that effect, we've built a number of features (like our free Diversity Audit tool here) that enable us to hone in on specific profiles quickly, with more constantly being developed. However, bringing on a hire from an underrepresented background is about more than the optics. Below, a few key takeaways from our time spent hiring for 50+ companies.
The Importance of: Proactive Outreach
Gender-diverse and underrepresented minority candidates are in demand, now more than ever, and the candidate market is a traditional supply and demand market. While we recognize that there are far too many troubling and systemic reasons why the supply side doesn't yet meet the demand, smart leadership does have one advantage over others that are not thinking months or even years ahead: time. Hiring managers often expect that making a diverse hire will be as easy and fast for them as previous hires they've made, but the market reality is that managers have to make many active changes to their process.
Reaching out to candidates proactively is the best guard against this shortfall, especially for "evergreen" openings like software engineers. Hiring managers should also be more willing to pitch the opportunity to passive candidates who may be open to moving several months down the road. Many top tech companies, like Stripe and Dropbox, encourage their hiring managers to do this. Planning and acting ahead of need is a best hiring practice that ensures your organization will attract the best talent it can. Dover makes this easy with a scalable outreach offering that delivers a steady stream of interested, qualified candidates.
The Importance of: Reconsidering Your Experience Requirements
This is the hardest pill to swallow for most hiring managers. To truly bring diversity into an organization, hiring managers need to reconsider requirements to be more inclusive of alternative paths. This involves being open to veterans who may not have attended college right after high school, candidates who went through a coding bootcamp, or could even extend to older candidates other hiring managers might not be willing to talk to. Hiring managers can't expect a diverse candidate pool made up of only candidates from Google or McKinsey, because these companies may not have recruited from their colleges. Hiring managers must look beyond their strict requirements on educational experience, past company brands, and years of experience, and re-examine what qualities they truly need from a new, motivated hire.
Dover not only detects the number of underrepresented candidates that match your job criteria, but also guides you on how to improve the criteria to surface strong diverse candidates. To prompt these internal conversations early in the hiring process, Dover built a free **Diversity Audit** tool ****which helps companies see the real numbers instead of talking about them in the abstract. The goal of the audit is to enable our clients to make informed decisions about where their requirements stand, and what criteria can be moved from "must have" to "nice to have" in order to attract qualified, diverse talent.
The Importance of: Retaining Talent
Great! You've just made an offer to a fantastic candidate from a diverse background. Now what?
Candidates know their worth, and they won't be willing to stick around for long if opportunities for growth don't exist for them. Intentional inclusivity, such as a transparent company culture, can help these candidates rise to the top. Another important thing to note: company leaders shouldn't expect a lone diversity hire to be responsible for future diversity hires. Clear company leadership on the topic can set the tone for future hires without placing more of a burden on current employees.