Tech & Work

10 tools to help your company improve diversity

A variety of new apps aim to create blind hiring processes and draw more women and minority job candidates to tech businesses.

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Image: iStockphoto/eternalcreative

There's no secret that tech companies are overwhelmingly staffed by white males. The issue is complicated and nuanced, with much debate over whether or not it's a pipeline problem, a hiring issue, a hostile workplace struggle, or a combination of these and other factors that keep women and minorities from entering the field.

Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College, where 55% of computer science graduates are women, explained that often women and minorities think tech is uninteresting, that they wouldn't be good at it, and that they would be working with people they wouldn't feel comfortable with.

Several studies demonstrate the benefits of diverse workforces, including increased financial returns. With that in mind, here are 10 programs that some companies are turning to in order to increase blind hiring processes and ensure they are truly hiring the best candidate for the position regardless of race or gender.

1. Blendoor

Blendoor is a blind recruiting app, created by MIT grad Stephanie Lampkin, that hides a candidate's name and photo to fight unconscious bias in hiring. The app also shows candidates a company's profile, including information on employee resource groups, inclusion programs, and diversity in executive leadership. It also uses machine learning to analyze candidate behavior and provide recommendations for skills and career development.

2. Door of Clubs Diverse Talent Identification Platform

Last month, campus recruiting platform Door of Clubs launched a Diverse Talent Identification Platform that provides recruiters with an online dashboard to search for, identify, and communicate with specific types of diverse student talent. Recruiters can search through a pool of students based on gender, minority groups, school, major, graduation year, location, and skills; and keep in touch with them until they graduate and become job candidates. More than 500 clubs from over 140 universities are currently on the Door of Clubs platform, including Carnegie Mellon National Society of Black Engineers, Notre Dame Society of Women Engineers, and the Harvard Computer Society.

3. Unitive

Unitive is a software created to remove unconscious bias in the hiring process. It helps hiring managers develop job postings that will attract a wide range of candidates, and structure job interviews that focus on the candidate's specific qualifications. It launched in 2015, and now has hundreds of companies using it, according to CEO Laura Mather.

4. SAP Success Factors

SAP Success Factors is a program that aims to objectively assess employee potential and identify, develop, and retain talent. It includes a calibration tool designed to help managers with performance management. In the coming months, a new version will alert managers to gender bias issues. For example, if all of the employees designated "high potential" are males, or if a woman who went on maternity leave was demoted, the manager will be notified to examine the issue.

5. Textio

Textio's Textio Talent software has been dubbed "spellcheck for job postings." It uses machine learning to analyze job postings and hiring outcomes from more than 10,000 companies. Those patterns can predict the performance of an individual company's job posting, and claim to be able to tell if the role will be popular among qualified job seekers, if it will fill quickly, and if the language is gender-biased. As you type in your job posting, it will analyze the language in real-time and offer tips for improving the post.

SEE: IT hiring is broken. Here are three ways to fix it.

6. GapJumpers

GapJumpers is a platform that uses performance audition challenges to evaluate job applicants on their work performance, rather than their resume. Employers post a job, along with a challenge designed to assess the skills required for the position, such as creating a web page, or writing a social media strategy. To apply for the job, the candidate just takes the challenge, and their performance is evaluated without any other identifying information. The top-performing submissions are reviewed by the hiring manager, still without any other applicant information, and top candidates are invited for an interview. About 60% of the top talent identified from the blind audition process is from candidates from underrepresented backgrounds, according to The Atlantic.

7. Entelo Diversity

Entelo Diversity is a recruiting platform that uses an algorithm to help companies search candidates from underrepresented groups based on gender, ethnicity, and veteran status. These identifiers are layered on top of a candidate's skills and qualifications for a more objective look at what each person might bring to your company. The platform also helps hiring managers craft targeted emails using information from a candidate's profile.

8. Piazza Careers

Piazza Careers was launched in 2011 as a college science and technology class discussion platform, and is currently used by 1.25 million students across the US. In 2013, the program began allowing hiring managers to find job candidates by asking questions such as "Find me all undergraduates who were TAs in MIT's hardest classes," or "Find me seniors who were top performers in mobile programming classes." Companies can also send messages to potential candidates, and target women and minority students.

9. interviewing.io

interviewing.io is a platform that allows a job candidate to practice interviewing anonymously with engineers who have worked at tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft. The interviewers know nothing about the candidate before the interview, including their name, education, employment history, or any other identifying information. Candidates are scored based on communication and technical skills. If they do well in the practice, they may be invited to interview anonymously with companies looking to make a hire.

10. HRx Technology

HRx Technology, launching September 18, is an online recruitment service that creates blind applications by removing all information in a candidate's job profile that could lead to discrimination—including name, race, gender, schools attended, and past workplaces. Then, hiring managers can search through a list of candidate profiles, which are vetted and ranked on the software based on feedback from their references. HRx uses a passive recruitment approach, meaning companies can connect with potential candidates who are not actively searching for jobs, in order to attract the best talent.

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About Alison DeNisco

Alison DeNisco is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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