Although the number of valuable candidates continues to grow, many of them are being overlooked due to a lack of inclusivity in the current hiring process. Despite the fact that the conversation around diversity in the workplace is louder now than ever, there is very little change happening. In fact, 69% of executives rated diversity and inclusion as an important issue in 2017, up 32% from 2014.
NY Tech Alliance, a nonprofit organization based in New York that focuses on showcasing amazing tech, sees this issue on a daily basis. We, at Woo, sat down with NY Tech Alliance Executive Director Andy Saldaña to discuss some of the current problems with inclusivity in the workplace and talk through how hiring managers can learn to be more open.
With inclusivity as part of his life goal (he started his own inclusivity nonprofit for the LGBTQ community), Andy helps NY Tech Alliance work with other companies to help improve their overall health when it comes to creating an inclusive hiring process. According to Andy, the biggest step for many companies is to build a sustainable ecosystem, creating access for everyone to be involved.
Invest In Your Employees
Even in locations with the richest ecosystems, many companies are overlooking employees who may not come from an elite school or possess the skills needed immediately. Although some employees may need six months of onboarding, they could end up as some of your most valuable, loyal employees. “It frustrates me that people boil things down to the numbers. We are not numbers,” said Andy. “We are human beings. Those relationships take time to cultivate.”
Focus on Inclusivity, Not Only Diversity
For a work environment to be healthy to all employees, it’s important to create a warm and welcoming space. Many employers focus primarily on building a diverse group of employees, when the reality is they should be hiring good people and making sure they feel comfortable in their place of work. Learn who your employees really are and don’t be afraid to have one-on-one conversations regularly so your employees know you really care.
Look Beyond The Resume
Resumes are a particular tricky tool for job candidates. In today’s market, many hiring managers are overlooking strong candidates that don’t have a degree from a certain elite school. At NY Tech Alliance, Andy’s job is to train companies to look for talent that exists from life experience.
Know What to Offer Employees
Specifically, in the tech industry, many potential candidates aren’t looking for an easy job. They’re looking to be challenged. So how do you find those employees looking to learn more, become better and end up with a company that fits them? By using a resource like Woo, candidates can ensure they’re being perfectly matched with a company that hits all their requirements.
Focus on Life Skills
Andy himself is also a perfect example of someone who has turned life experience into a successful career. Coming from a big Mexican family, Andy never knew how many event planning skills he was gaining as a child. From quinceañeras to big family get togethers, Andy was constantly helping his mom and always had specific tasks. This life experience not only helped him create phenomenal events as an adult, but also taught him about finance early on in life.
Andy’s question to others is easy: You have lived your life; what skills have you attained along the way? He encourages those seeking employment to communicate in as many different ways as possible. And as for hiring managers? You’re not just employing one person, but a diverse group of human beings.
Understand There is a Bias
Everyone from the hiring manager to the C-suite levels employees should understand that we, as human beings, are biased. Perhaps you’re disappointed a candidate didn’t graduate from a certain college or that he or she doesn’t have the experience you want at the moment—the important thing is that you’re including all strong candidates, no matter their background.
One benefit of using Woo’s recruiting technology is that it’s bias-free—it doesn’t detect gender, or ethnicity and remains open to education. It helps ensure recruiters are open to being matched with candidates they may have otherwise overlooked. In fact, after many hires, recruiters tell us they would have never originally sourced a candidate like that independently.
Be Aware of Hiring Trends Coming Up
Looking ahead into 2019, Andy sees a few trends on the forefront. While dependent on the market, Andy believes New York City companies will be looking for elite developers. He notes that the landscape will become more competitive than it already is.
His hope is that companies start to transition back toward a more traditional hiring process, looking at a person and not just at paper. With so many open tech positions, Andy notes that the NYC hiring rate won’t slow and will, in fact, continue to increase.
The type of jobs that are hiring are changing and it is our responsibility as a city to educate citizens on how to take advantage, says Andy. It’s important to provide some education on what to look for in a loyal employee. The trend needs to move towards hiring quality people and training them for the roles you need filled—no matter how long that may take. The payoff will be worth it in the end. “We can chip away at the problem. If we all do a little bit of chipping, we’ll make big strides,” said Andy.