The white network problem of tech hiring

This issue we’re about to discuss came up at a few HRTX events this winter and spring, always on the diversity and inclusion education track that we offer. Here’s the basic quandary, which has been an issue in recruiting seemingly forever: how do we get more diverse candidates and, eventually, employees? There are entire books written on this topic, and a blog post will not fully solve it. But, we need to obviously pay attention to the problem, and it’s severe.

HackerRank recently released a 2018 Tech Recruiting Report. (There’s a press release too, largely about the disconnect between recruiters and hiring managers, which is another all-time recruiting issue.)

While there’s a lot of interesting data in the HackerRank set, this might pop out the most:

  • Recruiters report that internal referrals is their top sourcing method (59%). This is problematic, considering that on average, 75% of white Americans have entirely white networks without any minority presence.

Not good.

So, what do we do?

There are any number of off-the-top-of-the-head steps, including:

But there’s another piece of data in Hacker Rank’s report that could help solve the “white network” issue:

  • Yet, 3 of 4 recruiters say they’ve hired a great candidate who wouldn’t have passed the traditional resume screen but aced a skills-based assessment. This shows that if companies are serious about building more diverse teams, they should be evaluating candidates based on skill, rather than who they know or whether they look good on paper. They’ll also find that they’ll be hiring more qualified candidates and overcoming the supposed “skills gap” in the process. 

Right. So blind the resume (or just stop caring the resume altogether, honestly), drive it towards skills assessments, and forget the networks of employees. I know this runs counter to how a lot of thought leadership and vendors talk about multiplying your potential for A-Level talent, but the fact is, 3 out of 4 white people seem to only interface with other white people — a problem in and of itself, but especially for recruiting. It’s time to blow up that network and subvert it with a skills focus.

Seems more like a moral imperative than a business case, doesn’t it?

Ted Bauer on LinkedinTed Bauer on Twitter
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Originally from New York City, Ted Bauer currently lives in Fort Worth, Texas. He’s a writer and editor for RecruitingDaily who focuses on leadership, management, HR, recruiting, marketing, and the future of work. His popular blog, The Context of Things, has a simple premise — how to improve work. Ted has a Bachelors in Psychology from Georgetown and a Masters in Organizational Development from the University of Minnesota. In addition to various blogging and ghost-writing gigs, he’s also worked for brands such as McKesson, PBS, ESPN, and more. You can follow Ted on Twitter @tedbauer2003, connect with him on LinkedIn, or reach him on email at [email protected]


 




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Originally from New York City, Ted Bauer currently lives in Fort Worth, Texas. He’s a writer and editor for RecruitingDaily who focuses on leadership, management, HR, recruiting, marketing, and the future of work. His popular blog, The Context of Things, has a simple premise — how to improve work. Ted has a Bachelors in Psychology from Georgetown and a Masters in Organizational Development from the University of Minnesota. In addition to various blogging and ghost-writing gigs, he’s also worked for brands such as McKesson, PBS, ESPN, and more. You can follow Ted on Twitter @tedbauer2003, connect with him on LinkedIn, or reach him on email at [email protected]

 

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