THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

March 2, 2006   view past issues

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Feature: Is Your Web-Site Prejudiced?

Bias can and does creep into recruitment processes. Some of this prejudice originates among our colleagues (and ourselves), and some is unwittingly institutionalized in our employers’ practices and procedures. Despite regulations, policies and statutes against it, bias still creeps into sourcing and recruiting activities, although today it is often less overt, lurking beneath the surface of our individual behavior and organizational operations.

While politicians and social reformers appropriately focus on the cultural implications of bias, we recruiters should be no less proactive about addressing its impact on our employers. A prejudiced recruiting process is the one sure way to lose the War for Talent. Blocking or even limiting an organization’s access to skilled performers because of their age, ethnicity, gender, religion or any other non-work related factor reduces the organization’s capabilities and, as a result, jeopardizes its success. No less important, it undercuts our own performance as recruiters and diminishes our contribution to the mission of the enterprise.

Fighting bias is hard enough when it’s apparent or conscious, but fighting bias when it is subtle or unconscious is an order of magnitude more difficult. That is particularly true in the Career areas on organizational Web-sites. Even the most carefully planned areas can be designed and operated in a way that creates an aura of bias, a sensibility or feeling that diversity candidates are not welcome. While this effect is almost always unintended, it is just as harmful to an employer’s recruiting yield as the most blatant kind of prejudice. It sends a message that is both entirely without subtlety and the opposite of what is required to recruit a diverse and talented workforce. It’s the cyberspace equivalent of hanging out a sign that says “Blacks, Arabs, Women, Workers over 50-you fill in the blank-Need Not Apply.”

How can you determine if your Web-site inadvertently creates an aura of bias? Take the following assessment and use the scoring key at the end to see where it stands.

Assessing Your Web-Site for Bias

Please answer Yes or No to each of the following questions.

Number 1. Are the images of people used on your site-the pictures of employees or individuals in stock photos-representative of the diversity of your workforce? (If they are, and the people are almost all white or black or young or male or all anything else, you’ve got a larger problem than a biased Web-site.)

Number 2. Do you have a separate channel or area on your site that is both devoted to diversity candidates and prominently featured on the site?

Number 3. Is the content in the separate diversity channel or area described in Number 2 tailored to the interests and needs of diversity candidates?

Number 4. Do you make an affirmative statement about your employer’s commitment to workforce diversity on your site and is that statement written in English or in language only a lawyer could love?

Number 5. Is the statement of your employer’s commitment to diversity described in Number 4 prominently displayed on the site (i.e., on the first page of the Career area or no more than one click from it)?

Number 6. Do you collect diversity data from job applicants when they submit their credentials for an open position?

Number 7. Do you use the data collection described in Number 6 proactively to assess and improve your site’s reach into diverse populations (in addition to using it for EEO/AA audits by Federal Government)?

Number 8. Is your site continuously promoted on other Web-sites that attract and serve diversity populations (e.g., sites for Women, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, those over 50)?

Number 9. Do the individuals selected for employee testimonials on your site represent the diversity of your workforce? (If you don’t use employee testimonials, you should; they are one of the most important tools for influencing passive prospects; if your testimonials are representative of your workforce and there is no diversity among those who appear, see Number 1.)

Number 10. Is the language on your site (to include the content of job postings that appear there) free of bias (e.g., does it avoid statements such as “We’re looking for a young go-getter …” or “We’re guys who get things done. If you can too, then …”)?

The Scoring Key

Site Score How many questions were you able to answer Yes?

  • 9 or 10 out of 10: Well done; your site and employer are models for all of us.
  • 8 out of 10: A solid performance … and now, you know where to focus your site improvements.
  • 7 out of 10: Your site is probably already hurting your yield among diversity candidates so get improvements going as soon as possible.
  • 6 or fewer out of 10: Your site has an aura of bias that is undermining your recruiting efforts. Take it down or get it fixed right away.
  • Of course, even a great corporate Career site will not guarantee success in recruiting a diverse workforce. There are many other facets of the recruiting process that must be addressed, as well. These include:

  • developing a corporate culture of inclusiveness,
  • walking the talk about diversity in promotions and developmental opportunities,
  • using an array of job boards, including those that specialize in diversity candidates,
  • building your organization’s brand among diversity populations, and
  • training hiring managers and anyone else involved with recruiting to guard against bias in interviewing.
  • While all of these facets are important, however, your Career site is often the first stop for job seekers. That makes it an appropriate and productive place to begin. And, given the growing severity of the War for Talent, I think there’s no better time than now to get started.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. Don’t keep WEDDLE’s to yourself. If you like our newsletter, please tell your friends and colleagues about it. They’ll appreciate your thinking of them. And, we will too!


    This Issue’s Sponsor: IEEE Job Site

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of the IEEE Job Site.

    The IEEE Job Site connects you with the world’s largest targeted technology talent pool. More than 1,400 leading corporations in fields ranging from ASIC design to aerospace and defense system development use the IEEE Job Site.

    Find senior-level managers, engineers and technology experts, and make job offers to these top-notch candidates before your competitors know about them. Register an account and you can begin posting positions within minutes! Click here for a special offer available only to WEDDLE’s Newsletter Subscribers.

    For more information or to place a posting today, contact Deb Grant at d.a.grant@ieee.org or call +1 732 981 3420.


    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    Cand-ex.com launched as a talent exchange or marketplace for employers and recruitment and staffing agencies. The site enables employers to post all of their vacancies at no cost on the site so that subscribing agencies can identify those for which they have qualified candidates. Cand-ex is currently offering its service at no charge; in the future, it will continue to be free to employers, while recruitment and staffing firms will pay a time-based subscription fee.

    ERI Economic Research Institute and CareerJournal.com published the results of their survey of CEO cash compensation. The results are depressingly familiar. While the rest of us are driving used Hondas to make ends meet, the corner office crowd is now taking home an average $3.9 million per year, besting the previous record high set in September, 2001. This figure, which does not include stock options and other elements of executive compensation, represents an increase of 5.7% over 2005. That’s better than double the increase provided to rank-and-file employees (which hovered around a measly 2.8%). The rationale for this top-centric largesse? Corporate revenues have increased by 83.2%. Memo to CEOs: You may have dreamed up the strategy for such success, but the folks who made it happen were those down in the trenches. So, please, don’t forget what you learned in Mrs. Murphy’s kindergarten class: it’s nice to share.

    The Shanghai Guide reported that Jilin Jiangshan Human Resources Development Company Ltd. recently took candidate selection to a whole new level. The company’s job postings have announced that it will now only hire individuals born in the Asian zodiac’s Year of the Dog. A member of the company’s HR Department explained that the company believes people born under this sign are better suited to its corporate culture. I guess that means they are more loyal, hard working, and will pant enthusiastically whenever the boss enters the room. Myers-Briggs move over.

    Mercer Human Resource Consulting and Harvard Business School Press released a white paper entitled Tempered By Fire: Where HR Is, Where It Needs to Go. Based on a survey of 65 senior HR leaders, it opines that the most important HR activity in 2010 will be talent management, which it defines as a function comprising the recruitment, development and retention of talent. While all of those tasks are clearly important (today as well as in 2010), I would respectfully disagree that they are the most important. Indeed, I think identifying them as such is a good example of the “old think” that afflicts much of the HR profession today. In a world of scarce internal resources (and ferocious competition for them), functional expertise is a secondary requirement. The first and primary requirement is the ability to out-champion, out-sell, and out-defend all other claimants on organizational resources so that important functions can actually be performed. That’s called leadership, and I would argue that it-far more than functional expertise-is the key competency for HR in the 21st Century.

    The U.S. Department of Labor implemented its final regulation under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, also known by its acronym USERRA. The Act details employer obligations with regard to military service members called to active duty in the Military Reserves and National Guard. More than 525,000 men and women in these two branches of the Armed Forces have been mobilized for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the largest call-up since World War II. The Act contains a large number of provisions, including the so-called “escalator principle,” which requires employers to restore returning service members to the same seniority, status and pay they would have attained if continuously employed, and clarifying that “promptly” reemploying service members upon their return means doing so within two weeks of their reporting for work. The entire Act may be found here.


    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?

    1. Your university’s basketball team will not make the NCAA tournament for the twenty-fifth year in a row, so the president has decided to look for a new coach. Which of the following sites would be a winner for finding great prospects?

  • CoachingJobs.com
  • JobsinSports.com
  • CoachingTalent.com
  • TAZsport.com
  • 2. Sales are down at your home construction company, and you’ve decided to add an Advertising Manager to your team. Which of the following sites would help your promote your opening to top talent?

  • AdPeople.com
  • TalentZoo.com
  • PromoTalent.com
  • AdvertisingGurus.com
  • 3. Your consumer electronics company is about to introduce a new line of products, and you need to hire an editor to oversee production of manuals and other documentation. Which of the following sites would dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s in your search?

  • Sunoasis.com
  • EditorJobs.com
  • JournalismJobs.com
  • MediaBistro.com
  • (answers below)

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2005/6 Guides and Directories

    Software Contractors’ Guild

    http://www.scguild.com

    Post full time jobs: No

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes – Contract, Consulting

    Distribution of jobs: International

    Fee to post a job: $5/posting

    Posting period: 60 days

    Can posting be linked to your site: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    Number of resumes: 2,067

    Source of resumes: Direct from individuals

    Top occupations among visitors: Software engineering/consultant

    Other services for employers: Automated resume agent

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: No

    Answers to Site Insite

    1. All but CoachingTalent.com, the site of an executive and personal coach.

    2. Only TalentZoo.com; AdPeople.com is the site of an advertising agency in Denmark, PromoTalent.com is a trade show and exhibit staffing company, and AdvertisingGurus.com is a promotional products company.

    3. All of them.


    Support Our Sponsor: IEEE Job Site

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of the IEEE Job Site.

    The IEEE Job Site connects you with the world’s largest targeted technology talent pool. More than 1,400 leading corporations in fields ranging from ASIC design to aerospace and defense system development use the IEEE Job Site.

    Find senior-level managers, engineers and technology experts, and make job offers to these top-notch candidates before your competitors know about them. Register an account and you can begin posting positions within minutes! Click here for a special offer available only to WEDDLE’s Newsletter Subscribers.

    For more information or to place a posting today, contact Deb Grant at d.a.grant@ieee.org or call +1 732 981 3420.