When we think about diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging it’s very obvious that these aspects of an organization go well beyond what happens in human resources, talent acquisition or just on a career site. However, along our journey of building a recruitment marketing and careers site platform we have seen how we can positively impact each of these elements through the career site framework we delivered to many clients.
I hope that the next few paragraphs will inspire you to think about how you can make an impact on this with some simple changes to your advertising channels, career site, job pages and application process.
I’m deliberately avoiding the usual spiel on why diversity, inclusion and belonging are important to an organization’s profitability and perception. Everyone should already know that they are. Besides, beyond the commercial imperative the moral imperative to do better should be apparent to everyone. So with that out of the way let’s get started and talk about how the career site can play a really important part in this.
Measure Improve Understand
When we think about a process to do better in any aspect of business, Peter Drucker’s well worn phrase, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”, usually springs to mind. Getting better at something means measuring and understanding the current situation. That starts with looking at your data to see how your recruitment funnel is performing. The methodology we are using can be used for any aspect of diversity provided you can measure it, however we are going to look at some data through the lens of gender diversity first.
One of the things we were always passionate about when building Clinch was helping more of the right people make it through the recruitment funnel, we also had a robust analytics platform to work with so we always tried to surface interesting data that told a story to our end users. We started with gender analysis a few years ago and have been able to observe some interesting data along the way.
The funnel in Fig 1.0 below tells it’s own story and from a gender diversity perspective it’s clear that this organization is doing a pretty good job of managing the lower end of the funnel to improve their gender hiring ratios to get very close to 50 : 50
Fig 1.0 The hiring funnel by gender diversity (Courtesy Clinch)
However when we look at the data it’s also clear that some changes to different parts of the process could potentially help improve the situation further.
Career site visitors 60 : 40
Google analytics puts the power of demographic analytics into everyone’s hands and what’s really useful is it can tell you who is visiting your career site even when they don’t turn in to a lead or apply for a job. When we look at the above example we can see that this organization is getting 50% more male visitors than female which may make it harder to remain balanced as we make it further along the process.
The reasons for this can be many and varied. However the solution is usually easy enough, look at your existing traffic sources and understand the makeup of that traffic then put effort into the channels that can improve this ratio and explore new channels that will help you reach wider more diverse audiences.
Candidate leads 65 : 35
When we think about leads in the world of marketing we consider them as people that are known to the organization and from a careers site standpoint these are all the visitors that we get to know as individuals through a wide range of activities including job alerts, starting an application, registering for an event or signing up for a recruitment newsletter. In this example because we are seeing the ratio get worse we have to ask ourselves what could we do better in terms of making it easier and more engaging to a non-male audience?
Applications started 66 : 34
When we look at the apply starts we can see that we are broadly in line with the prior stage which is good news for this example. If this ratio was skewed from the previous stage you would confirm that your job landing pages are speaking to a diverse audience and try to highlight the diversity of existing team members using video, blogs, testimonials and other content.
The fastest way to make someone feel comfortable applying for one of your roles is to show them someone else who looks like them who has previously made it through the process. Highlighting the female engineer who is doing the same job today speaks to the diversity of your hiring process, highlighting the diverse candidate who started in this role 5 years ago and is now the head of engineering speaks to the long term opportunity that this job can potentially offer all candidates irrespective of their background.
Applications completed 68 : 30
Next we can dig a little bit deeper into the application process by looking at the level of completed applications As we can see the ratio has started to disimprove again slightly. If this became more significant it would certainly be worth looking at the application process and carefully reviewing some of the knockout questions that were being asked and how they could potentially disadvantage a candidate to the degree that they would abandon an application.
Applicants qualified 66 : 34
Next are the people that you are submitting to the hiring managers. By looking at the numbers of qualified candidates in the application tracking system at the end of the process we can see that they are largely in line with the earlier stages in our example funnel. The things to look out for here are significant changes, perhaps due to a qualification requirement that is impossible for the diverse candidate to meet.
Hired 56 : 44
Our final hiring ratios for this role have improved significantly however we need to be mindful that improving the metrics so late in the process is unfair to other candidates who have made it this far. This is not the answer to a sustainable approach to diverse hiring.
Whilst the numbers may look “good” in the annual report, clearly the fairer approach is to work from the top down and ensure that all stages advance representative numbers of candidates in an equitable manner.
“Start at the top of the funnel to be fair to all candidates”
To be truly fair, you need to start at the top of your funnel and work your way down through each stage, iron out discrepancies in your process step by step and avoid the temptation as a leader to throw in a last minute fix at the offer stage.
This data backed approach is sound for a number of reasons. Not least because if you find stages of the funnel are imbalanced you can correct it or call out unfair treatment of candidates if it is happening during stages where they are interacting with hiring team members.
It’s also important to note again that whilst this post has focussed on gender the same methodology can be used for any diversity initiatives. You will need to understand that your ideal or available funnel may not be as simple as a 50 : 50 ratio but that should not stop you aiming for consistency throughout each of the stages for gender, ethnicity or other types of diversity.
So how do we get better at this? Luckily we can draw on some real world examples of how organizations are improving the diversity of their hiring funnel in a number of different ways.
Before we start there is something that is really important to keep in mind. 85% of all candidates find your organization via a job. They come in via Google for jobs, Indeed, Linkedin etc. So if you have spent a ton of time and money making your careers site talk to a diverse audience but left your job pages untouched you are only impacting a fraction of the people you need in order to meet your objectives. Countless times we see amazing career sites that talk a great game, but they ignore the entry point for most candidates which is a job page.
You can look at the source of your traffic to understand which channels are already working from each diversity perspective you are measuring and then it becomes straightforward enough to look at expanding your catchment area by using more of the diversity job boards which will help improve the flow of diverse talent.
However it’s important to make sure you try different ones and measure their impact on actual hires versus visits and applications. Diversity sites provide a positive signal to candidates about diversity in your organization but don’t think the diverse candidates that you would like to hire don’t use the same jobs boards as everyone else.
Signal your diverse approach to hiring on your job pages for all candidates to see from their very first visit not just those who happen to arrive from a diverse site.
Being up front about how you are doing is important, be open about where you are in your journey and where you are aiming for and talk about it with prospective candidates on your careers site and employer branding blogs. Some organizations even go so far as to make their EEO filings available online for prospective employees to review. This in itself shows a refreshing honesty that will engage a more diverse audience.
But why not go further? Wouldn’t it be great if all employers had this funnel or it’s equivalent proudly showcased beside every single job description? You can make it happen if you really want to.