Amy Pisano
Chief Revenue Officer Hired

Revenue leader, creative problem solver and marketer focused on bridging the gaps between business and technology.

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On this episode of The RecruitingDaily podcast, William is joined by Amy Pisano to discuss how to drive DEI in each stage of the recruiting process.

Amy is the chief revenue officer of Hired and an expert in recruitment, leadership, and bridging the gaps between business and technology. This is an enlightening discussion; please give it a listen and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Show Length: 28 minutes

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This is RecruitingDaily’s Recruiting Live podcast, where we look at the strategies behind the world’s best talent acquisition teams. We talk recruiting, sourcing and talent acquisition. Each week, we take one overcomplicated topic and break it down so that your three year old can understand it. Make sense?

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Are you ready to take your game to the next level? You’re at the right spot. You’re now entering the mind of a hustler. Here’s your host, William Tincup.

William:

Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup. You are listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast.

William:

Today, we have Amy on from Hired. We’re going to be talking about how to drive DEI in each stage of the recruiting process. This is something on everyone’s mind. It’s not something that’s going to get solved overnight. So I love that we’re going to be thinking about each stage. Can’t wait to hear Amy’s thoughts on this.

William:

Amy, do us a favor and introduce both yourself and Hired.

Amy:

Yeah, no problem. Well, first of all, thank you for having me. I’m Amy Pisano. I’m the chief revenue officer for Hired. If you don’t know Hired, Hired merged with Vettery, another tech marketplace earlier this year. We’re both owned by Adecco. A talent marketplace focused on connecting primarily tech talent with innovative companies that are looking to drive efficiency, equitableness and transparency into the recruiting process, which has been hard to do historically.

William:

Love it. Okay. Let’s start with some of the biases and maybe even some of the … How do we look at corporate content and the biases that are contained in corporate content on a careers page or job description, or any of those types of things? Where would you have folks audit that and make that better?

Amy:

We sit in a great position for sourcers and recruiting, and work with them in a subscription model, so we’re really able to partner with them about their overall recruiting strategy. So how do you think about this really from even above the funnel, and how do you make sure that you are a company that is attractive to underrepresented talent?

Amy:

We need to think about biases not just about people of color. It’s really people that are different from the core talent that you have. So we advise our team to look at your corporate content. What’s on your website? Not only it’s the images that you put out there, it’s the language that you use.

Amy:

Think about who are the people on your board? Who are your senior leadership? If everybody looks the same, you’re going to continue to attract talent that really looks the same, and also intimidate talent that looks different. People want to be able to see a path ahead of them and know they could be successful there.

William:

I love this, because you hit both optics and message, which is communications. It’s making sure that it’s right, and right being something that people … it speaks to them for everyone.

Amy:

Yeah.

William:

Love that.

Amy:

Yeah.

William:

Go ahead.

Amy:

There’s tools out there that can just help you think about is this language offensive. Is this language appeal only to maybe one age group?

Amy:

Sometimes people think it’s great to have all these pictures of everybody having so much fun and all over New York City, if you’re a startup in tech, but you may only really be pulling from white, young kids in New York City, just out of school. Do you want to think about appealing to a much broader group? With remote right now, it just opens up the talent pool so much, so you want to be really, really intentional about it.

William:

Right. What’s your take on assessments and making those equitable, and testing and making that equitable as well?

Amy:

Yeah. We have an assessments product that’s built into our platform. The way that we think about assessments … Frankly right now, not only do assessments help drive fairness in the recruiting process, but another thing that’s great in such an insane market is it’s also extremely efficient to have a layer of testing that candidates can come in, they can be assessed, and then that information is surfaced to help you drive being really efficient, but also fair in the process.

Amy:

Another thing outside of tech, even as we’re going through hiring on my team, I run the sales team, is exercises that we can give to candidates that allow them to really feature their approach to sales management, their approach to sales. Then it’s less about, “Hey, did I have a fun conversation?” “Oh, did I like something in the background of someone’s house?” They seem like they’re like me. This just feels much more tangible and allows people to surface their skills and abilities.

William:

Obviously, it opens things up for a more inclusive approach, right?

Amy:

Yeah, yeah. It gives an opening. It gives everybody a fair playing field to showcase themselves.

William:

Yeah. I think SHRM has, or at least they used to, they’d have hiring biases. There’s seven different categories. One of them was the Like Me bias. People would hire.. They’d ask questions of candidates, and then fall in love with a candidate because they were just like them.

Amy:

Right.

William:

So it was easy to fall in love with them as a candidate.

Amy:

Yeah. I was interviewing somebody a little while ago. He was a salesperson. He uses that Like Me bias in sales. Behind him on his bookshelf, he has all these really interesting things that would allow somebody to look at and say, “Oh, I like that album.” “I like that TV show.”

Amy:

But it’s also, when you’re thinking about hiring, it’s so easy to get drawn into those things of, “Hey, this person seems like they’d be fun to hang out with.” It’s not really what we should be looking for when we’re trying to get more to this culture add and away from this idea of true culture fit.

William:

Right, right. Some of that’s what we used to call pleasant conversation, or this is just kind of we’re just chit chatting. The problem is is some of that chit chat, if not all of it, was loaded with personal bias.

William:

My hands are bloody here. I used to ask people what music they liked. It would automatically trigger a response in my little mouse brain. So I get it.

Amy:

It is. But I also think that there’s something about being comfortable, and it’s much more exposed now that we’re all at home, to give people the freedom to talk about things that are unique to them. As a parent, it’s something that I think about.

Amy:

I try to, in an interview process, make somebody comfortable with asking about questions about work/life balance. What is my commute going to be like? Do other people have children? Is this somewhere that I can thrive in, based on where I am in my life? So it’s also getting that balance, where you want to be able to share that personal information so that people are comfortable.

William:

I need you to come to my house, teach my kids that, by the way, just if you have some spare time and you’re in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. My wife and I would really appreciate that.

William:

Because we’re talking about how to drive DEI in each stage of the recruiting process, we got to talk about technology at one point. There’s a TA tech stack, if you will, from sourcing all the way to onboarding. As talent professionals, how do we make sure that we’re making the right purchases that enable those DEI goals, and how do we know that the technologies do what they say they’re going to do?

Amy:

Yeah. Obviously, this has been a hot topic, and also something that most companies have a clear perspective on it. You need to really understand what your approach to DEI is from the company, what your goals are.

Amy:

When I say that, in our platform, you can mask demographics. Some customers really want to be able to just look at the information. They don’t want to see the names, see the schools, see where you’re from, and make these assumptions about you. That’s something that we’ve had in place for a long time.

Amy:

But what we also know is that some companies really want to be able to focus on their diversity goals. We have a product that’s called Diversity Goals that allows you to filter for underrepresented talent. A lot of companies have this. A big differentiator for us is that ours is all self-selected. You see a lot of companies right now scraping data on LinkedIn and making assumptions about the candidates, about the people, who they are. For us, this was really important that it was allowing the candidates to have the control over what information about themselves that they wanted to share. That’s been our approach.

Amy:

Greenhouse has a similar technology where they’re eliminating the names. You really just get the facts about the person, about their background, which is similar to Hired. I mentioned in the corporate content, Textio has a great platform, really making you intentional about your language. You have to think about it end to end in your stack.

William:

I love that. Let’s go backwards into job interviews for just a second. From your perspective, and again DEI being the outcome, and just making a more inclusive process for everyone, how do we make interviews more inclusive?

Amy:

With interviews, it’s about preparation. It’s being intentional about who is on your panel, and then also about consistency, and then something that’s really important to us at Hired, feedback.

Amy:

How do you plan for the interview? You want to be consistent in the questions that you ask, so again, you don’t get back to that Like Me bias, and just chatting about, “Oh, our kids both play sports.” Being consistent. These are the questions I’m going to ask so that I can really look at the candidates more side by side.

Amy:

Interview panel is extremely important, making sure you have a diverse group coming to the table, or the virtual table, I guess, these days. Speaking of virtual, the ability for candidates to do virtual interviews makes things a lot easier and gives access to many more people.

Amy:

Then how do you gather that feedback? How do you make sure that you’re really talking about both the hard and soft skills of the candidate, as opposed to allowing your bias in. We do that with real time feedback, getting the team together, trying to keep a very consistent interview panel.

Amy:

Then we also provide feedback to candidates afterwards that will help them as they’re going through the process. This is valid for anyone in any part of their career, but especially for underrepresented talent to have that opportunity for development and coaching and feedback as part of the process.

William:

One of the things definitely wanted to talk about is job offers. Again, sending over a DocuSign is a fairly chemical way of approaching a job offer. However, there’s certain things that need to be signed. There’s a process and all that stuff. How do we make job offers themselves, as a process or even as an outcome, more inclusive and just a better experience for folks?

Amy:

Yeah. There’s the offer details, and I think coming back to just being careful about your language. But when I think about the offer letters, it’s about what is that offer that you’re able to make to candidates. How have you come about that? Are you being clear about the [inaudible 00:13:57] that a person has come in and applied to?

Amy:

In our platform, the candidates can put in both their expected salaries. It’s very important to us to make sure it’s really transparent on both sides. Here’s what we’re willing to pay. Here’s what I’m looking for. We do a lot of research around wage inequality. We know there’s a huge gap between white tech professionals and their black and Hispanic counterparts. There’s I think it’s about a $10,000 on average difference from white candidates to people of color.

Amy:

One thing that’s really interesting but obvious is that a lot of it comes down to this expectation. They’re coming to the table expecting lower. Within our platform, we’re able to identify that, to try to help them understand that they have asked for too little in a specific role, to try to coach and drive more of that fairness in the process.

William:

That’s helpful for all folks, right?

Amy:

Yeah.

William:

Because it will eventually dig out of the pay equity gap by a thing like that. Because you’re teaching them, subtly, but you’re teaching them their value in the marketplace.

Amy:

Exactly. That’s valuable to everyone.

William:

Oh yeah. That’s valuable to everyone because it treats everyone in a very similar manner.

William:

What’s your take on this current craze around skills, and focusing on skills more than experiences or degrees or any of that other stuff that we’ve historically looked at. You do a lot of hiring just yourselves. Again, trying to make things fair and equal and more inclusive, what’s your take on where skills fit in that matrix?

Amy:

Yeah. Skills, it comes back to what we were talking about earlier with assessments. It is a way to more fairly evaluate what are the skills, both from hard skills, whether that’s coding different programming languages, but we’ve also been speaking with Adecco about incorporating some of their skills assessment more around the soft skills management. It takes away this need to have had X years experience in one industry, and just levels up that equal footing for the teams.

William:

This will be a relatively tough question only in the sense of there’s no real great answer. Talent’s in short support. We all know that.

Amy:

Yes.

William:

You can understand this when you talk to recruiters that they’re under a great weight of getting people in the door. You understand that frustration that they have. At the same time, there’s also a great pressure, and rightfully so, in terms of being more inclusive. How do they balance those two things when, occasionally, those are at odds? You have a hiring manager leaning on you to … “I need an engineer tomorrow.” You know that pressure.

Amy:

Oh, I know that pressure. We see it every day from our customers.

Amy:

I think one of these silver linings in the insane last year and a half has been this shift to remote. While there is still such a talent shortage, the opportunities that have been opened up to people across the country and around the world to get in and compete for those roles that were historically really limited to certain geographies, certain marketplaces …

Amy:

The Hired marketplace used to be, “Are you hiring in New York? Are you hiring in Boston?” When you think about moving to a non-georestricted workforce, this talent shortage, combined with the remote hiring, is just offering opportunities to so many people who never would’ve had them.

William:

Wonderful, wonderful answer, by the way. And not an easy answer for anyone to deal with, because again, hiring managers want the talent yesterday. Sometimes, that’s difficult to manage. Totally get it from a sourcing and recruiting perspective.

William:

Let’s talk a little bit about the funnel. From the perspective of, again, sourcing, finding talent, all the way to recruitment marketing and building a pipeline, getting people to apply. They apply, then you take them through a recruiting process, however many stages that you might have, all the way to offer letter, and then hopefully some type of conclusion and onboarding, where do you think …

William:

Again, all of it can be made better from a DEI perspective. Let’s just start with the baseline of it’s all broken. Stated and covered. Where do you think people should start in terms of their auditing and refinement of making things better from a DEI perspective? Where do you think it’s the worst in that funnel?

Amy:

My opinion really is it’s the worst in the sourcing. I think that there is such a heavy bias of knowing the school that the person is coming from, being familiar, comfortable with the name, making assumptions about someone’s background.

Amy:

We’ve seen, with the new Diversity Goals platform, that now we’re able to get about 50% of the interview requests, when someone has identified they’re looking for more underrepresented, the interview requests are now heavily going to the underrepresented population, where historically, there’s numbers around the exact same resume coming in, and really just the underrepresented population getting pushed aside.

Amy:

So I think that if we can get more in the middle of the funnel, it’s a great opportunity if you can follow it through throughout the process.

William:

First of all, I agree. I like your answer logically, because if you get sourcing right, and you got a diverse slate of candidates, you start there, and then you can move through the process, then you have a better chance. But if you start with five pear-shaped, middle-aged, white guys as your slate of candidates, there’s no way that you can get there. So the logic actually plays out. I actually really like that.

William:

In terms of the responsibility for the folks that are internal, how do they help? Again, now you’re doing with the folks that work, that do the job, do sorting, the hiring managers, do recruiting, et cetera. What’s their responsibility with DEI?

William:

The reason I’m asking a question is I’m trying to figure out motivations. We’re all, intellectually and emotionally, from Me Too, Love is Love, Black Lives Matter, especially with George Floyd last year, we all get it. There’s very few people that don’t get it. But still, there’s triggers and motivations. How do you properly motivate people to do what’s already the right thing to do?

Amy:

Yeah, we see a lot of our customers are tracking those metrics throughout the funnel. As we all say, what you measure matters. Most of the tools nowadays are allowing that level of visibility. Ours, again, the big differentiator is that people have self-selected, but you want to be able to look at it across every stage of the funnel, not only because it drives accountability, but also because then you can see where people are falling off.

Amy:

Because maybe you are getting this diverse panel into the interview round, and then you’re putting them in front of those pear-shaped white men, and then they don’t want to move on to the next round. But until you’re measuring across every part of the funnel, you’re not going to see where things are broken.

William:

Because you work in sales, you understand comp probably better than most people. Good and bad, right? So you get this on a different level. Should we consider comp in terms of this process in different places? Should we think of this in terms of bonuses?

William:

I know it’s the right thing to do, stated and covered, and it’s better for business, stated and covered. However, it’s just like sales folks. We give sales folks a quota and say, “Go hit the quota.” We also give them all the tools and resources to be successful to hit a sales quota, but we don’t do that in sourcing or recruiting.

Amy:

I think that there is an opportunity to think more about measuring and driving targets against this throughout the funnel, just like my sales people have a quota, but there are times where I want them to focus more on one segment, or we need to focus on another market. So we go through a process of incentivizing a specific behavior.

Amy:

Clearly, it works. It’s been working in sales for a long time. I think it’s a really good opportunity to extend that into sourcing and recruiting. Because if you’re measuring something, you’re not setting benchmarks, you’re not incentivizing the behavior, it just isn’t going to give you the results that they want.

William:

Right. That’s actually what I loved about your answer is you started with measurement. It’s like, “Hey, if it’s important to you, you measure it.” Let’s stop kidding around here. If you really care about it outside of just words and diversity statements on careers page, and you actually do care about it, well then, you measure it.

William:

Okay. Now that you’ve measured it, now you have some insight. Great. Now what do you do with the insight? How do you actually do the behavioral changes that need to happen for the outcomes to happen?

William:

Last just piece of advice that you give to your clients and to folks that you’re working with on, again, this is something that’s important to everybody. Throw a rock and it’s going to be important to anybody in HR. How do they get started? How do they figure out where their break points are, where their errors are? Where do they find out where in the funnel that things aren’t working for them? What’s your best advice for the CHROs, the global heads of talent, et cetera?

Amy:

Yeah. My advice is to set a plan, set some goals, identify what the KPIs are to measure against, how often are you going to measure them, and then who’s accountable. So all of the basics of planning. This needs to be something that is written down, tracked against incentives, whether that is your sourcers or your hiring managers. There needs to be some skin in the game to be able to really drive change.

William:

I think you said it, but I just want to make sure, and communicated and transparent. Just like with sales, it’s up on the wall.

Amy:

Right. Write it down.

William:

Yeah. It’s not literally today, but people know what the goal is. It’s not hidden from the sales team. It’s probably talked about every Monday or every Friday. It’s not hidden.

William:

So I think pulling some of those best practices from sales over into recruiting would probably be helpful, especially when it comes getting to these outcomes. I love that you started with goals, because again, when you don’t have a goal, then how are you ever going to know that you’ve been successful?

William:

Amy, thank you so much for carving out some time. I know your time’s precious, but appreciate you coming on this show and breaking things down for us.

Amy:

Thank you. I really enjoyed it.

William:

Absolutely.

William:

And thanks for everyone listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Until next time.

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Authors
William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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