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Unlocking D&I Goals in Talent Acquisition: A Nuanced Approach to Problem Analysis

Unlocking D&I Goals in Talent Acquisition A Nuanced Approach to Problem Analysis

HiredScore will be speaking at Spark Live 2020 on November 12th 2020 as part of our Future Of Work panel discussion, "Transformative Talent Technology: What are the Barriers to Impact?". Don't miss it, secure your free spot at

Diversity. Diversity. Diversity. If it’s anything, 2020 is the year to finally get serious about diversity. Conscientious CEO’s have been making public pledges for years, committing to a diverse and inclusive workforce and even setting goals of how to measure the organization’s Diversity achievements. While these headlines and commitments seem like a good way to show your company is onboard and getting serious about this topic, HR and Talent Acquisition teams are left to figure out how to make these goals a reality in an ethical, legal, and authentic way.

When it comes down to it, the real solution at your company is your people. There is no magic tool that will “solve” diversity for you. A company culture that deeply values creativity and risk-taking will leave enough oxygen for managers to get excited about hiring different people from different backgrounds for their fresh perspectives. When managers and teams are afraid to fail they are going to avoid risk wherever they think they see it, including the risk of hiring someone that doesn’t ‘look just like everybody already on the team’. Simple right? Changing a company’s culture starts at the top and requires a deep collaboration with HR. It will take years of diligent practice and reinforcement to embed the right values at every level of the company. Part of that reinforcement is getting managers comfortable with looking at diverse slates of candidates. Comfort only comes with consistent exposure. If you want to move the needle at your company you can start with one audacious goal: be able to present a well-qualified and diverse slate to every manager every time.

To tackle diversity CHRO’s, Executive Teams, and Boards often start with asking a deceptively simple question: “where in the company do we have the largest gap in diversity and inclusion and how do we begin to solve this?” There is no silver bullet and there is no “one size fits all” solution to this problem. Fortunately, every company we work with has the data to get started diagnosing the complex factors that hinder D&I goals.We recommend starting at a slightly different place, the very beginning, or as we call it your “Front Door”. An analysis of the yield of diverse applicants to your posted jobs by departments, divisions, locations, and seniority levels can give you some surprising insight into where you are fighting an uphill battle. These hotspots are important to identify because you’ll never hire your way out of your diversity problem if you aren’t attracting the right mix of candidates to begin with.


Take, for example, this chart produced from actual aggregated job and candidate data from companies across multiple industries in the US. The accounting department received roughly twice as many male applicants as female applicants (Data excludes applications where gender is not declared and only includes binary gender. Analysis of 5,825 requisitions across multiple industries in 2020.), Given these imbalances, if recruiters are truly unbiased they will inevitably present more male candidates to hiring managers. Correcting this in-flow of applicants starts with investment in pipelines and a strategic nurturing & campaigning strategy, but doesn’t end there. Another key way to combat this for companies that attract large candidate pools and, for example, only hire 5% or less of the candidates who apply is to leverage unbiased and compliant solutions to resurface qualified diverse talent in the future when an appropriate requisition is opened.

The next step is to scrutinize the requisitions themselves. While style and wording can have some impact, there is often a more fundamental problem that no style will overcome. The job requirements may be eliminating interested applicants because your requirements may be too restrictive and thus preventing underrepresented talent to begin with. HiredScore’s unique artificial intelligence allows us to analyze and surface the impact of those requirements on the diverse talent you’re attracting by looking at each applicant and their fit based on any set of job related qualifications.


Let’s look at everyone’s favorite qualification, years of relevant experience, to illustrate the impact of required years of experience on the viable applicant pool. In the graph to the left you’ll see that by decreasing the years of relevant experience required by four years, these jobs could have unlocked 15% more qualified female candidates. Even changes as small as 2 years more, could hinder an additional 14% of female applicants.

If you’ve spent any time trying to improve representation at your company you’ll know that there is not a magic solution. You can choose one vendor or a combination of vendors, but none of them will “solve” diversity for you. At HiredScore, our AI sits at the intersection of systems and recruiters. With nearly a decade under our belt we understand that the data in your HR systems are just as important as the solutions themselves. The Recruiter of the Future is one that will partner with their tools and leverage intelligent solutions to identify, provide information to the business, and ultimately help eliminate the bottlenecks that hinder today’s diversity initiatives.

About the Author

Athena is the CEO & founder of HiredScore, an Artificial Intelligence HR tech company powering the Fortune 500. HiredScore leverages the power of data and machine learning to drive deep recruitment process efficiencies, enhance talent mobility, and help organizations move to a fully optimized TA function.

Profile Photo of Athena Karp