There are countless articles online about why tech businesses need to diversify and how beneficial a diverse workforce can be. Diversity at work now means more than gender and ethnicity; it relates to hiring people with a disability, from different generations, differing sexual orientations and religions, amongst other things. More than ever, there is a cry for businesses, especially those in the tech sector, to appeal to a broader range of talent. However, when your networks and circles are all similar to the directors and CEO of a business, it’s hard to reach a wider pool of candidates, let alone hire them.
Tech startups and scaleups often find this the easiest way to get new team members on board. When a business is just starting out, its connections, friends and former colleagues that often work together to help it get off the ground. After all, these are the people who believe in you and your mission. However, as you scale, surrounding yourself with a mix of talent could be key. It can help enhance your company culture, productivity and overall product offering as you benefit from differing viewpoints, mind sets and abilities.
Also, a varied workforce is becoming a priority for candidates, particularly from younger generations. They long to work in a more inclusive and accepting organisation as they become more socially and culturally aware.
Therefore, it may be time to rethink the idea of your typical candidate.
Diversity is not just a public talking point that can be used to make your brand look better. It’s something that is important to today’s candidates and can make a massive difference to an organisation’s productivity, creativity and appeal in the talent market. Tech companies of all sizes must take action to source diverse talent and ensure that they are nurtured and given the ability to thrive in an organisation. It’s not enough to hire an employee from a minority group and leave them to their own devices; you must create an environment where all minorities and younger generations can succeed just as well as their white male counterparts.
We’re currently in the middle of a tech talent shortage. As demand to move businesses, working processes and most aspects of life online increases, there are presently more tech jobs on the market than suitable candidates. Digitally native companies are thriving and scaling rapidly. Other businesses are trying their hardest to digitise and keep up; both of these situations require businesses to attract and hire the brightest tech talent on the market. Therefore, competition is rife, and it’s becoming increasingly challenging to resonate with tech talent never mind trying to create a more diverse organisation too.
Which means to attract the best talent, businesses have to change up their recruitment processes and think outside of the box and widen the talent pool.
This is where outsourcing recruitment comes in:
For one thing, outsourcing the recruitment process gives you another perspective. You can benefit from an external view of your tech company which can help identify areas that could benefit from differing opinions, viewpoints and talents. They may help you see candidates in a different light, emphasising other skills which could be beneficial to your organisation. RPO providers and their recruitment experts can help to reach out to candidates who may not consider your business previously, because your employer brand may have felt a little old-fashioned or exclusive.
They’ll also be able to look at your organisation’s structure as a whole, and make recommendations. Suppose there’s a trend in your workplace like ethnic minority employees not staying in your business for an extended period or lgbtq+ teammates not represented in senior positions. In that case, you may have to visit your company culture and EVP; find ways to overcome these barriers. It’s external eyes that will spot these glaringly apparent obstacles for diversity within a company.
Refine employer brand messaging to relate
It’s no good trying to relate to a diverse talent pool if your organisation doesn’t practice what it preaches. For example, if your careers website is covered in photos of white, straight, middle aged men, will you really attract a diverse workforce? You must find ways to ensure that your messaging promotes inclusivity and a right RPO provider can help with this. Using market research and their recruitment expertise, they can tailor your employer brand messaging to appeal to a broader talent pool whether it’s females candidates, graduates or just candidates who have never heard of you. They can help candidates envision life at your company and bring employees’ stories from minority groups to the fore. This will position you as an employer that allows employees to thrive regardless of their background.
They understand digital attraction
Digital attraction and social media use for recruitment means that you can target candidates based on skills, interests, and even experience in the spaces they’re spending time. Rather than reaching out to candidates in the same exhausted networks, choosing an RPO provider that can offer innovative digital recruitment campaigns will allow you to reach candidates that you may not have considered before. Utilising social media platforms that are typically aimed at consumer marketing rather than recruitment marketing, will enable you to appeal to passive candidates, who may not be considering a career move and aren’t actively looking. In this wider talent pool, you may find some qualified and outstanding tech candidates that previously wouldn’t have applied to your organisation. If your messaging and creative are correct, you should connect with more candidates than just your companies “typical candidate”. You should see a more diverse range of applications which can open up your company culture.
Expand your networks
RPO providers have their own networks which are probably much more open and diverse than your own. Typically our professional networks include people we’ve studied with, former colleagues and even friends or family members to an extent. Looking into these networks will not provide you with a diverse talent pool; in fact, they could be the exact reason your business isn’t diverse enough already. Tech startups and scaleups are especially guilty of this because when a company is just starting out its founders and teams reach out to people they know are experienced and knowledgeable for help, in the very early stages, it’s common to recruit from within networks to ensure you can trust the people you’re working with. However, as you scale, it’s vital to expand these networks so that your business can benefit from a range of perspectives, experiences and backgrounds. Otherwise you could run the risk of groupthink amongst your leadership team or even having tight-knit teams which deter other candidates. This could be the secret to helping your business appeal to a broader audience of the customer and future talent. An external recruitment provider can help you reach these new networks through their connections and knowledge of recruitment marketing techniques.
A right RPO provider also knows the value of taking a more flexible approach to the roles you currently have on offer, particularly in the current climate. While internal recruiters may look for “the perfect candidate” with no gaps in their CV and a perfect record, you need to understand that in reality, this isn’t always going to be achievable especially with the tech talent market as it is. Some people will have lost jobs and have chosen to reskill, others will have had to take time away to care for children or loved ones or to battle their challenges, and in other instances, tech roles will be relatively new so it will be hard to find experienced people. In redefining what you believe to be the ideal candidate for your organisation and taking the time to understand personal situations, you can open the doors for a more diverse workforce. Outsourcing recruitment can help with this; external recruiters have more time and resources to screen and talk with candidates, understand their personal circumstances and find the perfect person for your organisation.
A growing tech business needs to break the mould of a typical candidate. As socially conscious generations enter the world of work, scaling companies must prioritise diversity and inclusion if they wish to attract the best tech talent. Plus, breaking the candidate mould can open your eyes to perspectives and skills you didn’t know your business needed. It could lead to more experienced candidates than you expected or even an alternative viewpoint which could open up new markets to you.
Talent Works are passionate about connecting growing tech businesses with the right talent and creating working environments where everyone can thrive through EVP development. As a flexible RPO provider, we can help build an employer brand and employee value proposition that promotes diversity and direct sourcing of candidates from outside of your usual talent pool. With offices in Northampton, Manchester and Boston in the US, we’re a global RPO provider that specialises in tech recruitment. To find out more about how we can help you, get in touch with our team today.