Hiring Advice For Employers That Wish To Be Truly Inclusive With Abbey Carlton of Indeed

Are you unintentionally overlooking diverse talent pools in your hiring practices? Join us as we explore truly inclusive hiring advice and strategies with Abbey Carlton, Vice President of Social Impact at Indeed. In this fascinating conversation, we discuss how companies can shift from side programs to a more holistic approach, connecting with a broader range of job seekers and breaking down misconceptions about fair chance candidates.

Abbey shares the importance of making a public commitment to inclusivity and providing proper training for recruiters and hiring managers. We also dive into who should own inclusive hiring within an organization and how to measure success in this area. Gain valuable insights on how your company can transform its hiring practices to become truly inclusive, and tap into the untapped potential of diverse talent pools. Don’t miss this insightful episode!

Listening Time: 23 minutes

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Abigail Carlton
Vice President of Social Impact Indeed

I’ve spent my career working at the intersection of two deeply connected areas:

1) Helping people connect to work and opportunity.

Talent is universal. Opportunity is not. Systemic barriers make it harder for millions of qualified job seekers to find jobs and grow their careers. Most of the time, these barriers have nothing to do with a candidate’s ability to do the job. As a result, employers are missing out on great talent and job seekers are being locked out of opportunities.

2) Shaping the ways companies think about social impact, innovation, and talent.

Companies across the globe are redefining their roles in society and how they measure success. It’s no longer business strategy versus social impact – it’s about finding ways to drive meaningful social change through their core products, services, and talent strategies.


Hiring Advice For Employers That Wish To Be Truly Inclusive With Abbey Carlton of Indeed

William Tincup: [00:00:00] This is William Tincup and you’re listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Today we have Abby from Indeed on, and our topic is hiring advice for employers that wish to be truly inclusive. So we’ll get around to the truly inclusive part for sure. Abby, would you do us a favor and introduce yourself?

And for those that have been living under Rock, indeed.

Abbey Carlton: Sure, and thank you so much for having me. My name is Abby Carlton [00:01:00] and I am the Vice President of Social Impact for Indeed. And if you haven’t heard of Indeed, we are the world’s largest marketplace for talent. We have about 300 million job seekers come to our platform.

Every month looking for work and millions of employers who are looking for talent on our platform as

William Tincup: well. And y’all have always innovated. What I love about Indeed is you innovated, you’ve, you just a series of innovations. I’ve been studying the pay for per applicant kind of model that, that y’all have most recently rolled out.

And it’s just again, yeah. Wonderful innovation. So I love Indeed and I love what y’all do. So let’s talk about, hiring advice that you obviously you see this from a great vantage point with a lot of data. Those that say they’re inclusive, so those that say they want to be inclusive, and then there are obviously people that are really, truly inclusive.

What is, what do you see for the folks that are [00:02:00] truly inclusive? What are they doing to be truly inclusive?

Abbey Carlton: That’s a great question and I. To go back for a second to your point about indeed an innovation that’s definitely one of the big things that drew me to indeed. I have worked in the space of jobs and economic opportunity for a long time in.

A variety of different settings, but when the opportunity came up to come to Indeed a place that like you, I knew as really trying to innovate around hiring practices and say, okay, Indeed’s mission is to help people get jobs. What could we do? Through a social impact lens to help more people get jobs, to help all people get jobs.

And so it’s really exciting for me from where I sit to be able to take that culture and that spirit of innovation and help the company turn it toward more equitable hiring. To your question, [00:03:00] I think the difference. That I’ve observed in being truly inclusive is when we go beyond thinking about something as a sort of a side program or a sort of a secondary talent pipeline, and really think about hiring practices in a more holistic way.

There are. An increasing number of solutions out there that make sense for companies and are going to lead to better outcomes for job seekers who are facing barriers to employment. And when we can get away from this as being a sort of a nice to have or a side program and just take that holistic look at our talent practices, that’s when you really start to see big changes happening.


William Tincup: think that it starts with I think of the three Ps, like P people, process, and product, right? So we can kinda make those a little bit easier for the audience to understand cuz like there’s technology in hiring. [00:04:00] The, all the way from sourcing all the way to onboarding, if you will.

There’s all kinds of different technology and rethinking the technology stack itself, or processors, again, probably hundreds of processes underneath all of that stuff. And in its people, and specifically what I’m thinking about with people and the way that people are organized around hiring is the mindset of people and how they view talent.

And I know, pre covid, those are definite mindset around talent. And I know that through co covid and into, and into now we think of talent differently. And some of that’s because there’s a shortage and some of it’s because, gen Z just doesn’t, refuses to bow down to the status quo and work in the way that maybe other generations would.

So what’s your take on where people, if they know they have a problem, so I guess we start with if, you have a kind of a problem around being inclusive, where would you have them? Where is the suggestion of having them start?

Abbey Carlton: Yeah, I, it’s interesting because I think [00:05:00] sometimes that’s the entry point and employers want to do more or better around inclusion.

Maybe, they’ve invested more, especially in the last couple of years in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. And that is the lens that brings them to the table to think about how they can do better. I think another lens that we have seen a lot in the last couple of years is around the tight labor market and trying to connect to a broader talent pool.

And often that is the thing that we’re seeing is bringing more and employers to the table for the first time, and then we can have a conversation about, okay, I. How might you broaden your talent pool? Who are the groups of job seekers that you might be overlooking, whether intentionally or unintentionally, who’s getting screened out because of the practices that you have in place right now?

And what could you [00:06:00] do so you can open up that talent pool and get access to folks who could be a great fit for your jobs, who you might not be considering?

William Tincup: How do you, how do we, cuz you know, it’s like the CEO’s dilemma, which is all of our dilemmas. I don’t know what I don’t know. So how do they know if they’re, obviously there’s, there’s probably obvious things that are being done in hiring where, you’re excluding a group of people or whatever.

Okay. The obvious stuff I’m not really thinking about. It’s the things that are nuanced. So think rethinking talent and rethinking maybe how you view the talent pool in general and what you’ve put in place to either create biases or create preferences, which by the way, a couple weeks ago, side note I asked somebody this was a whole conversation on hiring bias, and I said, what’s the difference?

I asked the guest, I said, what’s the difference between bias and preference? And she said, preference is the way you justify bias. Blew me away. Back to our stuff, how do you [00:07:00] how do they, how does a company unwind the things that are there in terms of okay, how do we look at, we’ll just pick some groups folks that are let’s say fair chance or second chance folks, if we’ve not looked at that before, how do we rethink that talent pool?

And we could use, there’s a ton. There’s tons of groups like that, but it’s like, how do they get to know where they’re missing? And then what do they do when they find out how they’re missing?

Abbey Carlton: I think Fair Chance is a great example of what we’re seeing. So I think it will probably surprise some folks who are listening to know that in the United States, over 70 million adults have some type of criminal record.

So we’re talking not about a sort of small population, we’re talking about one in three adults. And unfortunately what is too often the case is that job seekers who [00:08:00] have a criminal record experience unemployment, orders of magnitude more than job seekers who don’t have a criminal record.

And that is really built in a lot of ways to how we hire or how we have hired. So I think if you, I. If you’re talking to a C E O or if we’re talking to, to, to folks who are thinking about how we can broaden the talent pool with this group, one of the places where I often start is to address what’s holding.

Companies back or what’s holding leaders back from considering this population in the first place. And I think one of those things is just to address head-on some of the fears and anxieties and frankly misconceptions that folks might have about job seekers who have a criminal record. If you look at the data actually suggests that job seekers with criminal record employees with a criminal record Tend to stay longer.

Tend [00:09:00] to be more loyal and that their performance is actually on par with, if not sometimes better than than the rest of the employee population. We did a survey a couple of months back as indeed two to. To try to understand specifically around fair chance hiring how do employees feel about this?

And what we saw is that the vast majority of employees across the United States are. Are comfortable with the idea of working alongside somebody who has a nonviolent criminal record, and the majority are even comfortable working alongside folks who have a violent criminal record. So I think when it comes to fair chance in particular and this could be true for other populations as well, I think it has to start with looking at what might be holding us back and challenging some of those assumptions.

William Tincup: It’s interesting cuz you started with, preconceived notions and [00:10:00] unpacking, okay. As a group of people, here we are, what do we think of this group of people? And there’s vulnerability in that, which is, fascinating because you’re asking people both probably all the way to executives and board level, all the way to the frontline folks.

It’s okay. We, if we’re talking about inclusion and we want to be more inclusion, we wanna be more representative of the population or the population we serve, et cetera, then this is a group. There’s a gap. We don’t, we currently, we don’t do a great job of recruiting this group of people, but getting them to talk about it, I think it’s fascinating, like having a real discussion around, okay, again, we can.

Keep talking about second chance, fair chance. But this applies to every group, every, every group of people that you can think of and getting people to be vulnerable. Is there any suggestions that you have, for leaders to then say, okay, how do you, this is a tough conversation, or could be maybe not maybe not as difficult as we think, but [00:11:00] how do you get ’em to be vulnerable?


Abbey Carlton: I. One of the things that I have seen probably more often than I would’ve anticipated is people looking inward. And instead of making it a, oh it’s about them, it’s about this other group, this sort of othering thing that can happen is to bring it back home and say Fair chance.

We’re talking about 70 million plus people here. So I think each of us, if we think about it, will have a friend or a cousin or a brother or some, someone in our lives who has been impacted. By the criminal legal system. If you look at all of the sort of screening outs could be a whole different conversation that goes on, right?

For folks who have the skills but maybe don’t have traditional educational credentials. That’s another huge population that we’re talking about where. It might be easy to just [00:12:00] reuse the same old job description you’ve always used. And at the bottom it says, this requires a bachelor’s degree and three years of recent experience in Job X.

But what if we take a step back and say gosh, I know people in my life, in my family who maybe didn’t follow a traditional educational path, but they have. Skills, they have strengths that are so clear to me. How can we start to bring that into our hiring processes so that we’re not screening people out on a bunch of things that have nothing to do with their ability to do the job.

And I think sometimes it’s almost taking off that business hat and thinking about it in a more just individual, personal human way that can really open up the conversation.

William Tincup: Do you think inclusiveness for employees. Do you think it’s a perception or a reality? Say more. Yeah. What I’m thinking about is like asking them questions.

Okay. If we were to ask the employees, [00:13:00] do you think we’re inclusive in hiring? That’s just yes. No. Just make it really stark. And if it’s no, what groups were we missing? And I’m what made me think of that is okay, do they know? Do employees, can they unlock? I. Where we can’t see where we’re missing an inclusion.


Abbey Carlton: Yeah. I think it’s, I think it’s a great question and I think the answer is likely yes. I think we, whatever hat you may wear we’re sitting in positions where yes, we can. And see the numbers that are coming through in terms of our HR data, but there’s so much underneath that, and frankly, there is so much, I, the more I do this work, the more I learn about the intersectionality.

Of a lot of the barriers that are keeping folks from connecting to work, and of course the bias that it still very much exists in a lot of traditional hiring practices, [00:14:00] unfortunately. And I think sometimes that new and complexity is, it doesn’t come out in the data, but it’s something that our employees can see and feel and touch much more approximately from where they sit.

William Tincup: It’s interesting, the, it’s like a, I think of inclusion in as like an onion with many, just many layers, right? And so at this particular juncture in time we know we know about inclusion, right? And every organization’s gonna have a different onion. But it’s like the, you peel back some layers and it’s we didn’t even think about that group.

Yeah, we haven’t even been thinking, it’s like we haven’t even, our website isn’t opti optimized for our careers page isn’t optimized for folks that are deaf. So that’s an entire group of people. We just haven’t even thought of. T there’s so many of those things that, that it seems like organizations, it again, I want to ask you, but it seems like an unattainable goal.

But that might be the point. You’re not gonna ever reach [00:15:00] true inclusion, but the goal is to try your best to get there. Yeah.

Abbey Carlton: Yeah I’ll share a story about Indeed as an employer. So I mentioned that we are a marketplace for talent. We also are a large global employer, have 13,000 employees who work for us globally.

And actually our very first employee at Indeed was a job seeker with. Criminal record. Our first software developer who built a lot of the foundational infrastructure for what Indeed is today was someone who had spent many years in incarcerated. And so that was. Our first step toward fair chance hiring our first employee but indeed has been on a journey of peeling back that onion ever since then.

And exactly to your point, you you take a step forward and then you unlock a bunch of things that you hadn’t thought about or you just more deeply understand [00:16:00] the complexity of of a problem. And you keep striving to do better. So last year we realized that while we had behind the curtain a number of fairly progressive fair chance practices in place, what we hadn’t done effectively.

Is make that commitment public, right? So if you were a job seeker going to look for a job at Indeed, you wouldn’t see anything in that job description that indicated that we were a fair chance employer, let alone that we had pretty progressive practices there. Okay, let’s go ahead and make that known.

And what we also had to do as a part of that was recognize that. This commitment wasn’t well known internally amongst our employees either. So if we’re really gonna live that commitment, we have to make sure that we’re offering the right training, in particular to recruiters and to our hiring managers so that they understand not just the laws of course, that we have to [00:17:00] comply with around fair chance, but.

Our specific policies and practices. So it’s exactly what you say. It’s just you keep learning and you keep peeling back the onion. And I think just approaching this, at least from where I sit with a lot of humility about what we’re gonna learn and what we might not yet know is really important.

William Tincup: Two, two questions left. One is who owns inclusive hiring? So you everywhere, a lot of companies obviously have invested a lot of money in DEI and there’s a person, maybe a budget team, whatever. But hiring is different, like there’s most of the DEI folks that I know, they sit in HR.

They’re doing a lot of great work all across the organization but mostly with employees, with ERGs and SIGs and internal mobility and, more opportunities, et cetera. Not as much of the focus on the front end, the f the funnel of, how do you get more of a diverse slate of candidates, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

So who, and if you could, you have a [00:18:00] magic wand who would own that, where. The organization is truly navigating itself to more inclusive hiring.

Abbey Carlton: Yeah. I at the risk of going back to another Indeed example, it’s a really interesting one because I a lot of the work that I lead within Indeed is focused on inclusive hiring, on equitable hiring.

And that is, The where from where I sit, the work that I lead is largely focused on how we enable more equitable and inclusive hiring on our platform. So obviously there’s the important complimentary piece about what that looks like in our own hiring practices, but I have certainly found for the part that I.

I lead that having our senior leadership team, our executive team, really see this as something that they collectively own. Whether you are the head of product, whether you [00:19:00] are the head of legal hr, or whatever. Whatever role you might have to set that table where we are all talking about why this matters and what it’s going to take to make it more of a reality has felt really important.

If I, if I. Own it by, by myself in that external facing way. Or if our wonderful head of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging Misty Gaither, if she owns that by herself when we just look when we look at our internal practices, then I don’t think that we are gonna have the type of impact that we could have

William Tincup: otherwise.

So we talked a little bit about goals as it relates to inclusiveness. How does one. How do they know that they’ve reached the goal or that, are there, is it just simply analytics and reporting and things like that? Is it just looking at numbers, like how do a salesperson, it is just true of software development too, right?

Software development, it’s how many lines of code, right? You get to a certain point [00:20:00] project that particular project’s done. There’s this moment where you’ve completed something. Sales, same thing like you’ve closed a deal, the proposal was signed, done. You’re ringing, ring a bell if you want to.

With inclusive hiring, hiring inclusiveness. I can’t see that. And I’m wondering about the people that are in it every single day. How do they know if they’re making a difference? Yeah.

Abbey Carlton: I think, there are probably a bunch of ways to answer that question, but I’ll share what sort of came top of mind for me as you were describing this.

I think too often we measure our success based on. Stopping at the hire based on who comes in the door and are we shifting our mix? Are we diversifying our pipeline? Do we, are we doing better there? But when we talk about inclusive hiring, we actually have to look beyond. That moment [00:21:00] of hire itself and understand what does it look like?

What does it feel like to be an employee of this company once you walk in the door? What do our retention rates look like? For example, this is another thing that we think a lot about in our own internal hiring efforts. Indeed. Because if you aren’t really attentive to the culture that you’re building, to the psychological safety of your employees, then.

We can do everything that, that we want and try everything that we want on the front end. But it’s not really, I think, gonna move us to a place where we’ve built this virtuous cycle of inclusive hiring that Makes a more meaningful, sustained difference for folks in their lives and what it feels like to come to work every day.

William Tincup: I love that you brought that in because it’s it’s, if you solve the, if you’re solving the algebra of just, The hiring [00:22:00] piece, you’re missing out on all the other pieces of, onboarding and training and internal mobility or mobility in general and retention. So I see this actually in some firms where they over index on the hiring side of doing a lot of DEI, a lot of great DEI work there.

But then they, it’s like they, that they believe that’s it. All we have to do is bring them in and they’ll stay and they’ll thrive and et cetera. And it’s no, that’s, the work starts there. That’s great, but you’ve gotta solve the algebra all the way through. AB Abby, you’ve been amazing and I could talk to you all day, I’m sure you have like other things to do today.

Thank you so much for coming on the podcast William,

Abbey Carlton: thanks so much for having me.

William Tincup: Absolutely, and thanks for everyone listening. Until next time. [00:23:00]

The RecruitingDaily Podcast

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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