Want Greater Diversity? Remove Bias from Sourcing

[fa icon="calendar"] Sep 28, 2016 9:54:09 AM / by Andy Wolfe

Andy Wolfe


For the last decade, sourcing has worked like this:

  1. Start with 400 million candidates.
  2. Filter aggressively until that number seems manageable.
  3. Lob messages into the abyss.

It’s not a perfect system.

Not just because 400 million profiles is laughably large. And not just because the likelihood of a response is about nil. But because this process is inherently biased.

With millions of profiles to choose from, recruiters are forced to generate hyper-specific searches. These require complex booleans made up of keywords, titles, schools, work experience, and more. Each of these filters is limiting, and each search is completely subject to the person actually conducting the search.

While the profiles that come back may appear great on paper, the results of this process speak for themselves: most companies are failing when it comes to diversity.

The solution? Invert the sourcing process.

Instead of starting with 400 million profiles and adding filters to narrow down the results, try a more personal approach:

  1. Ask your employees “who would you love to work with?” You’ll get a few thousand great names from all backgrounds.
  2. Match these high-caliber referrals to your jobs. Since they came recommended from people you trust within your company, they’ll likely be able to adapt to roles even if they haven’t performed that specific job before.
  3. Send personalized messages with a friendly opening subject like “Christian Rice said you’d be great here!”

What does this new approach accomplish?

No more rigid booleans

Instead of asking for referrals to specific jobs with specific requirements, you’re asking people to scan through their diverse personal networks and simply recommend people who are great.

Why does this work? Because trust is transitive. Since you trust your employees, you can likely trust the people they trust.

This approach finds great people who might not make it through traditional filters. Maybe they breed lizards but are excellent at customer service. Maybe they design birthday cards but would be perfect for your upcoming rebrand.

When you’re working with high-caliber candidates at small volume, you’ll quickly notice everyone’s potential.

Find unlikely connections

Your employees all know great people. Some will come from professional networks, but an even more diverse pool will come from personal connections.

One our our clients – a multi-billion dollar technology company – rolled out ROIKOI and found that 99 of their first 100 referrals were not caucasian men. Their result was not that far from the norm.

Many of our clients select to initially roll out ROIKOI to a subset of their organization which they have internally defined as diverse. Many take diversity to mean race, ethnicity, and gender, but it could equally apply to any dimension, including socio-economic status, sexual orientation, age, physical ability, religious belief, political belief, veteran status, and even personality type.

It doesn't matter how your company defines diversity — ROIKOI will help you amplify your search and find great candidates similar to the group of employees making the referrals.

Eliminate your own unconscious bias

Once you toss out rigid booleans, it’s harder to let your biases slip in. You can’t fall back to filtering by familiar schools or skills, so you’ll be exposed to candidates you wouldn’t normally bump into.

Amazing response rates

You will absolutely make someone’s day by sending an email with the subject line “Christian Rice said you’d be great here.” It’s a thoughtful, personal touch that both compliments the recipient and begs at least a thank you.

Even through automated messages, clients on our platform typically see response rates around 25% when they include this personal touch.

Give it a try!

If diversity is going to be your number one priority in recruiting, you need to start at square one: building a pool of qualified diverse candidates.

Our recruiting platform brings a totally unique approach to sourcing that will help you naturally expand your team’s diversity.

Interested to learn more? Drop us a line at diversity@roikoi.com.

Topics: Diversity, Recruiting, Sourcing

Andy Wolfe

Written by Andy Wolfe

I'm co-founder and CEO of ROIKOI, a smarter sourcing platform where you get your own database of candidates pre-filtered for talent and fit.