It’s no secret that there is a shortage of diverse tech talent – but it’s not for lack of available candidates. So what is actually to blame for the lack of qualified and diverse talent? The hiring process. We’ve identified five ways to boost your talent pipeline with underrepresented people in technology and work within the long-term strategic approach of talent acquisition to drive business value, diversity, and inclusion across your organization.
Look outside of a four-year degree.
According to Code.org, in August of 2020, there were 666,534 open computing jobs nationwide, while only 71,226 computer science students graduated into the workforce the previous year. So who are the folks filling the rest of the IT roles? We will tell you—non-traditional hires who have enrolled themselves in programming boot camps like ours or have been self-taught. A CourseReport study in 2017 cited that 80% of boot camp graduates said they’d been employed in a job requiring the skills learned at boot camp, with an average salary increase of 51%.
Tech Talent South is just one example of an immersive and foundational technology training program. Our consultants are meticulously vetted by our team and trained on full-stack. We recruit from all across the country, with various professional backgrounds and a range of life experience, and place folks into roles in Software Engineering, Data Science, .NET Development, SecDevOps, Java Development, Salesforce Administration, QA Testing, Product Management, UX/UI Design, and more.
We turn recruitment into a science with over 100 hours of data, application, and assessments on each of our program graduates who then become highly sought-after candidates in the job pool. We allow applicants to showcase their talent and give hiring teams real insights by testing for skills required for the job during the training process.
Tech hiring giants Tesla, Apple, Google, Netflix, IBM, EY, Hilton, and Bank of America are among a few that no longer require employees to have 4-year degrees in acknowledgment that people and careers are not a one-size-fits-all journey.
Remove perceived obstacles.
Things like a job title, years of experience, and unrealistic qualifications (have you ever seen an entry-level job that requires 3-5 experience?) can cause candidates to eliminate themselves from the application process. Being mindful of language and encouraging people to apply goes a long way with opening up access.
According to LinkedIn behavioral data, Research shows that to apply for a job, women feel they need to meet 100% of the criteria. In comparison, men usually apply after meeting about 60%. Women tend to screen themselves out of the conversation and apply to 20% fewer jobs than men. What’s more, women are more hesitant to ask for a referral from somebody they know at the company.
We include a footer in the job postings that says, “Not sure you meet 100% of our qualifications? Please apply anyway!” That small call to action goes a long way in diversifying your candidate application pool and recruitment process.
Make your recruitment process more inclusive by actively searching for diverse suppliers.
What is a diverse supplier, you ask? Broadly defined by CVM, a diverse supplier exploration program, supplier diversity is the business practice of including small and diverse-owned businesses into a company’s supply chain. Examples of diverse-owned businesses include woman-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned, LGBTE-owned, and more. The benefits of working with these businesses are vast, ranging from government contract incentives to a more nimble and innovative supplier chain, a strong supplier diversity program can benefit your company from a financial and social position and strengthen your overall brand.
At Tech Talent South, we are proud to say that we are a diverse supplier as a certified woman-owned business and keep diversity and inclusion at the forefront of our programs. Our talent database is over 65% minority talent. We believe that providing individuals, especially those underrepresented in tech, with the necessary skills for becoming leaders in the digital workforce speeds progress toward diversity at the top. In addition, we offer a custom curriculum to a vetted class of candidates at no charge to the individual. This allows us to do our part in closing the diversity gap by training based on aptitude, not access.
Eliminate unconscious bias by anonymizing your applicant pool.
At Tech Talent South, we give you the option for anonymized applications (take a peek at our talent database to see what we mean), revealing your top candidates based on their ability, not their background. But this isn’t a technique exclusive to us; you can ask that your internal recruiting team follow the same structure by removing applicant names, photos, education, and any identity indicators from their resumes and cover letters.
The fact is that people from minority backgrounds are disproportionately overlooked. By recognizing that these biases exist and acknowledging that an unconscious bias training video isn’t enough to move the needle, we can take the first steps in closing the diversity gap.
Give consistent and structured interviews.
If you have taken the first step to anonymize your applicant pool, make sure that you don’t lose your work on the video or in-person interview step, which is when bias can easily creep back in. Conduct structured interviews that are consistent across applicants. A few good tips from The Center for Research on Equity and Opportunity at the University of Arizona include;
Deepen the applicant pool.
Interview more than one woman candidate, and they will be evaluated more fairly (Heilman & Stopeck, 1980; Sackett et al., 1991; Valian, 1998).
Plan and allocate enough time before and after the interview to read candidate materials and write notes about each.
Allowing sufficient time for evaluations increases accuracy and reduces gender bias (Bauer & Baltes, 2002; Blair & Banaji, 1996; Martell, 1991).
Have a set of interview questions prepared in advance that relate directly to the position and be consistent – use the same set of interview questions for each candidate.
Structured criteria for decision-making result in more accurate evaluations (Martell & Guzzo, 1991).
Standardize evaluation forms and refer to them in discussions regarding candidates.
Structured processes for recording observations increase accuracy and reduce bias; writing both positive and negative comments on each candidate is beneficial (Bauer & Baltes, 2002).
Require your team members to take notes during the interview process, make sure they understand the expectation and why it’s important. Then, collect that information and make sure you give it to your HR or Recruiting contact for proper retention.
Increased accountability reduces the effects of gender schemas and increases the accuracy in evaluations (Foschi, 1996; 2000; Foschi et al. 1994).
Tech Talent South (TTS) offers a one-stop-shop for flexible tech talent solutions for teams of all sizes and at all stages. So whether it’s for organizations looking for top-quality talent at scale and with speed, Workforce Development initiatives, or companies looking to future-proof their own employees by giving them new or advanced skills (upskilling and reskilling) – we deliver solutions that fit every need.
We offer scholarships for technology education courses such as programming and data science to underrepresented folks in tech, including Black, indigenous, people of color, women, and veterans. Our goal is to help close the diversity gap by training based on aptitude, not access.
Interested in building your team?
Connect with our team here, and we will send you a custom pipeline of talent to meet your hiring needs.