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

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The internet is on FIRE. It is used for everything imaginable. A great deal of people search for jobs on the internet and don’t give a second thought to it being any different or unsafe than any other method. Let me ask you this. How many times have you gone to a message board, Myspace, or any other public forum and posted your address, phone number and email address? You might be thinking “why the heck would anyone do that?”. But you know what? YOU do it all the time. We all do (well not me). That is how recruiters, like myself find you. Here’s what I mean.

It is a common thought that job boards, like Monster, Careerbuilder, Dice, etc are only accessible by recruiters and HR professionals. WRONG. Kind of. The problem is they allow any company or agency to buy a subscription. Here is why that is a problem. We assume for the sake of argument that companies legitimately buy their subscriptions to seek out employees and post their jobs. But people leave their jobs (recruiters, HR people, etc). Sometimes companies forget to change log in information. Also, smaller agencies look to “sub lease” or sell their subscriptions to other independent agencies to help alleviate the costs. So you don’t truly know who is getting access to this information. Now this is not to knock or point the finger at any one board. A lot of those boards have helped me do my job in the past (I’ve moved on to more sophisticated search methods). And they do fulfill a need…matching employers and job seekers. But it is up to the individual to take precautions on their own.

  1. Don’t post any information on your resume or online job search profile that you would not put on Craig’s List, the supermarket bulletin board, MySpace, or any other public forum. This includes home or work phone numbers, home or work addresses, social security numbers, etc. You’d be surprised at the number of people who put this information on their resumes.
  2. Personal security begins with you. When preparing your resume, opt for a P.O.Box address or simply use just the city and state you live in. A recruiter who is truly interested in contacting you will understand your apprehension of sharing your address.
  3. Use a cell phone number…that you check often. Some people use their cell number as their primary contact number. That’s fine. If you feel comfortable using a work number or home number, you can do so.  Just remember you are opening yourself up to calls. A cell phone number is more discreet and can be changed easily without disrupting your life.
  4. Do not use your work email. First of all, you shouldn’t be getting job solicitations at work. The public doesn’t need to know where you work. You can use your alumni email, a home email through your ISP or any of the free email options out there. I would opt for a first initial and last name if possible when creating our email address. Whole names or those funky names some people come up with (you now what they are) are not ideal to use.
  5. Make your current employer confidential. I usually advise people to make all of the employers on their resume confidential and only cite the position, city and state if you are really looking to remain confidential. If you think about it, say they have your name but not your current employer’s name. Well, all they have to do is go back to your previously listed employer and call them to try to find you. So having all of them confidential isn’t a bad idea. It’s a matter of personal preference.
  6. Always research any company that contacts you. Now, I’m not intimating that you should be afraid to speak with a recruiter. There will be times when you have not heard of a company. It doesn’t mean they are not legitimate. Ask for a number to call them back, then check the web to see if you can find information about them. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. And besides, what if your boss happens to stumble upon your resume.  Confidential is the way to go to avoid drama.

I hope this doesn’t scare you out of a job search. We all could stand to be a little bit more cognizant of what we put out about ourselves. A little commons sense and an ounce of prevention go a long way.

Til next time.
Adrienne Graham