Can Innovative Technology Actually Fix Diversity Hiring?

When it comes to diversity recruiting, there is no silver bullet.  Diversity hiring has been a priority for years yet whatever we are doing, doesn’t seem to be working. Just look at the stats. According to the National Science Foundation (NSF),  in 2013, 70% of workers in science and engineering occupations were white. Also, women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, but only 29% of the science and engineering workforce. Companies appear to be desperate to find diverse candidates. So what can we do about it? There are software companies that think they know, but is it enough?

Send in the Recruiters

Recently, I attended a “Diversity in Tech Town Hall” here in the Bay Area.  One of the themes of the evening was the awareness and access to jobs in tech.  There were about twenty people at this event, and they were sharing very relevant frustrations.  As the conversation went on, career opportunities came up, and people were sharing quite a lot.  Finally, I raised my hand said, “who here is in some function of talent acquisition?”  Zero hands were raised.  Zero. If companies are so desperate for diverse candidates, where are the recruiters? 

Another example occurred at a “Black Engineers of San Francisco” event. I was one of the few non-Blacks but was absolutely the only recruiter. Another example happened at a Girls in Tech event.  I was having a great conversation with one of the participants but all of a sudden, she quickly came up with an excuse to exit the conversation when she heard I was in recruiting.

To be honest, it is heartbreaking that this is the response I get. But, I can’t blame her for being biased. Isn’t that the same problem recruiters are facing? Unconscious bias is a real recruiting problem. Because… it is unconscious. Software companies have definitely jumped on the bandwagon. Not to teach us how to be less biased but rather depend on an algorithm to do it for us. Here are a few you can research:


GettingHired is an online service organization that focuses on creating employment opportunities for job seekers with disabilities. Even better, they host virtual career fairs that connect employers with job seekers.

Veteran Recruiting

Veteran Recruiting is the global leader in virtual career fairs for the military community. In the past, Veteran Recruiting virtual career fairs have helped more than 120,000 veterans find meaningful employment after their military career has ended.



Blendoor hides applicants’ information from companies that may lead to bias. It matches based on skills and suggests learning and development courses if candidates lack some core skills that may make them miss out on jobs.


GapJumpers takes its inspiration from the TV show “The Voice” by setting what it calls “blind auditions.” It offers performance challenges that potential employees take to showcase their skills, instead of just using a resume.


Atipica uses artificial and human intelligence. As a result, companies get access to qualified candidates with the core skill sets bias-free, ensuring the discovery of candidates with diverse backgrounds.

Start Walkin’

Software is a good place to startWhile I wholeheartedly appreciate the backend work and the different tools to source talent, nothing compares to actually having a live conversation in an open environment. Unfortunately, while companies have many strategies to diversify the workplace, but I haven’t seen one around getting into the community.  You see, diversity also equals inclusion and belonging. Without belonging, you will just bring on diversity turnover.  How will you know what a diverse community needs unless you understand where they are coming from?  Moreover, what are you doing to learn about the candidates you are targeting?  It is time for us to get uncomfortable, ask questions, meet people, and step away from the computer.  It’s time for us to not only talk the talk but walk the walk.

About the Author:

Allison Mackay is currently responsible for Infrastructure Data Center Recruiting at Facebook.  Her current team manages hiring for the Facebook team responsible for design center site selection strategy, infrastructure design and creation, the operation of data centers, servers, and network hardware, and managing Facebook’s standards compliance and sustainability programs across Facebook’s data center sites.

A graduate of San Jose State University, Alison is also the co-founder of the Silicon Valley Recruiters Association.

Follow Alison on Twitter at @am_recruiter_sv or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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