Diversity is a wonderful concept.  Total Inclusion is even better, when you can find it.

There was a discussion on a recruiting site that I occasionally visit in their Diversity Forum regarding the lack luster performance (is that an accurate term for a job board?) of diversity job sites. Now, I do keep up on what sites are out there. That’s my job as a Recruiter, to keep up on all the places to seek talent.  But being that my specialty is Diversity Recruiting, I go to great lengths to keep in the know about where to find diverse talent.  Ethnicity specific, gender specific, disability or veteran specific, all the way to total inclusion (which would make it supposedly like all the other job sites I suppose). But there is a lingering misconception that a diversity job board will magically bring in diversity candidates. I can’t tell you how wrong that is and how frustrating it is to me as someone who specializes in diversity recruiting. I think some people just don’t get it. Some companies are tight fisted with the dollars and don’t want to put their money where their mouth is as far as diversity initiatives go. Recruiters on the average don’t care about diversity because their objective it to fill the job by any means necessary.

I bring you this post from the perspective of a recruiter and a diverse candidate and hope you’ll feel compelled to fill in any areas I may inadvertently leave out.  I won’t get too heavy into it from the recruiter perspective, as that is not my intended audience.

Job boards of any kind are but a tool and should not be relied on to be used for a major portion of “diversity” sourcing. I think everyone would agree with me that a true diversity (or rather inclusion) initiative would include the company GETTING OUT IN SIGHT OF CANDIDATES. Posting an ad on any diversity job board is not enough. I believe candidates want to see companies who get out and get involved to show that they stand by their mission. Attending events that target diverse candidates, creating a message to share that will catch the interest of diverse candidates, and contributing time, expertise and writing talent to deliver content attracts diverse (or specific) candidates.  Most employers fail to take advantage of those opportunities to step forward and present their company in a different light from the competition. Honestly speaking, I, as a diverse candidate, would only utilize a diversity job site if it had other things besides job postings to catch my eye. Show me why I stand out. Show me why I matter as a diverse candidate. Show me how you as a company promote diversity, not just that you are posting a job on a site to attract my attention. You need to HOLD my attention. Show me how you have a message I might be interested in. Show me that your experts look just like me. Show me that I can see a kaleidescope of people in your company that match the global landscape (and I don’t mean just in the call center). Wouldn’t you agree?

There are lots of sites in the internet to choose from.  In terms of Diversity sites, I know people sometimes want to visit a site that relates to them in some manner.  A site that shows they understand the needs and wants of you as a person from a certain gender or ethnicity.  Some hit the mark and provide a range of tools, articles and activities to keep the continuity of interest. Others are an extension of a network or organization (such as Empower Me! Careers…which is still in development).  Then there are some that put up some cute graphics or flash and proclaim to be the #1 source for [insert ethnicity or gender here] and want to charge exorbitant fees for access to their “exclusive” database of resumes.  Newsflash….if they are selling their database to anyone who pays for it, how is it exclusive?  But I digress.

As a diversity recruiter (and an African American and Hispanic Woman), my approach is different than the average recruiter. I gauge a job site by how useful it is to candidates. I put myself in the mindset of a (so-called diverse candidate) and try to understand the draw of the site. Is it related to an active organization? Do the members actively participate? How does the site get into the mindset of the candidates who visit the site? What types of people does the site draw? What is the attraction and why do people want to return? Are there things for me to do there as a recruiter other than just posting? Will I be able to create a relationship with the site through contributions (articles, etc) that will brand my company as being truly involved in diversity initiative? The answer to many of these questions for a lot of diversity sites is often NO.

As head of Empower Me!, I know that my members are fickle. They are not looking for companies that are just fishing for black women to add to their staff. They are savvy when it comes to making their career decisions and are interested in looking at genuine opportunities from top notch companies. They want to see more than just a job ad, so they expect more in a job site than just a colorized version of Monster or Careerbuilder. Companies that do advertise jobs on the Empower Me Careers site need to understand that they need to create a message for the candidates they seek, and they are agreeing to a partnership of sorts to promote their employment brand to members. They can’t just post a job and run. Companies that we partner with are excited about being able to answer these very same questions (I mentioned above) and know that they are not just being sold the same database that other employers are receiving the same access to. Oh yeah, and I don’t sell the resume database. The site allows for companies to create their brand identity to attract diverse candidates. In other words, they have to put in time and work to cultivate relationships and get their message out.

So I ask you as visitors and potential users of the site.  What, besides job postings, keeps you returning to a job site?  How important is the diversity message that each company portrays? What tools would be helpful to you? What type of content will make you think and take action to use in your own career?  What do you like to see from employers?  And finally, what are your thoughts on a website created “just for you”?  Your answers will help me in further refining the site to bring you the best tool possible.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham