More fair hiring

I’m attending the Recruitment Automation Conference today and reminded again why I feel passionate about my work in recruiting technology and people strategy. 

I’ve been proud to work for organizations that have taken steps to address inequality in their hiring and management, and I’ve been happy to see new laws that restrict asking about previous compensation in order to minimize persistent compensation gaps. But these are tiny steps – there is so much more work to do. 

A core American value is belief in meritocracy – power and capital is distributed on the basis of talent, effort, and achievement, rather than wealth or social class, and advancement is based on performance. This is absolutely not the case when it comes to hiring. 

Some statistics: 

  • In a meta-analysis of callback rates for applicants, white applicants received, on average, 36% more callbacks than black applicants and 24% more callbacks than Latino applicants with identical résumés (HBR).
  • In 1967 African-American median household income was 55% that of whites; in 2016 that number was 61% (HBR).
  • Black men and women still represent a very low percentage of the professional white-collar workforce (less than 8%), given their overall representation in the population (HBR).

We can and must do better. 

Unconscious bias and subtle racial stereotyping impacts hiring decisions that for the most part have very little oversight. Compensation practices are rarely transparent and progressive policies that address racial bias reach only a small fraction of hiring. 

Doing structured hiring, measuring outcomes and introducing blind screening are just some ways that technology and automation can (and do!) move the needle on recruiting. 

There is so much more that we can do, and I want to be part of the change.

Applying for jobs in a tech-driven process: The takeaways

Last week I presented on job searching in a tech-driven process to Columbia Business School alumni. By tech-driven process, I mean conducting a job search that feels largely driven by technology rather than humans. This could mean:

  • Searching and sourcing job opportunities online (LinkedIn, Indeed, company career pages)
  • Applying via company application portals
  • Reaching out to contacts via email, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

This is, in many ways, the reality of the modern job search! But as someone who has touched so many elements of technology in the recruiting process – as a recruiter, a data analyst, a product manager and a recruiting operations leader – it crushes me to hear how painful people’s experiences and outcomes are with these elements of the job search. I don’t know that I can make it less painful, but I certainly find some sliver of fulfillment sharing why the process is configured this way and how modern job seekers can proactively pursue opportunities instead of feel like anonymous data bits in a huge world of applicants.

In my presentation, I go through some of the elements of why companies share their jobs the way they do and then talk through the myths and realities of applying. I’ll post here when I have another presentation coming soon. In the meantime, I’ll share some takeaways for job seekers.

  1. Online applications should not be your only connection to a company. There’s a lot to this single sentence – sometimes applying immediately for a job you see posted is the best way to go! But if you are spending all your time applying online, your job search will likely take a very, very long time.
  2. Forget gaming the system – apply as if you’re communicating with a person. This is because at many companies, the goal is to have a person touch all relevant applications!
  3. Companies that are serious about hiring treat their applicants well, and poor experiences can be an early red flag. Companies that are competing for great talent are thoughtful about the experience for everyone going through their process – whether they get an offer or not. So consider your own experience as a candidate informative.

Job search strategy in a tech-driven process

I’m hosting a webinar on job searching next Thursday, Feb 13 for alumni of Columbia Business School. If you’re part of that community, you can sign up here: If not, read on — if this topic interests you I’ll post a recap following the workshop next week.

If you’re job searching, chances are you’ve shared your information with an applicant tracking system – an ATS. This is the software companies use to manage their recruiting process. This workshop on the myths and realities of ATS will orient you to what is critical in your application and job search strategies that position you for success in a technology-driven process.

I’ve worked in recruiting and HR technology for over ten years, touching nearly every aspect of hiring from corporate recruiting, to people analytics, to recruiting operations and product management of ATS systems. Join me next Thursday!