November 10, 2021

DEI Recruitment and Hiring: Why It’s Not a Pipeline Problem

two green pipes that are separated and eyes peeking out of one

You may be familiar with the infamous statement from Wells Fargo CEO, Charles Scharf, who wrote in a company-wide memo addressing the company’s hiring efforts: “While it might sound like an excuse, the unfortunate reality is that there is a very limited pool of black talent to recruit from.”

Yes, he did issue an apology for this statement. But not before it revealed the bigger issue at play, namely:

How easy it is to use the myth of the “pipeline problem” as a DEI scapegoat. 

To truly welcome team members from all backgrounds into your company, leaders need to take real action to develop inclusive recruitment and hiring processes. In fact, more than 3 out of 4 job seekers say a diverse workforce is an important factor when assessing companies and job offers.

The good news is, growing businesses can easily get a leg up when it comes to diversity recruitment strategies and best hiring practices — especially with the help of an end-to-end recruiting tool like Breezy HR in your corner. 😉

Defining and disproving the “Pipeline Problem”

For years, leaders across industries have argued the lack of diversity at work is caused by a so-called “pipeline problem”. In essence, there is little diversity because there is little qualified talent from diverse backgrounds.

Let’s disprove this, shall we?  

Research shows there is plenty of talent coming from underrepresented groups, but it is the biases, faulty recruitment strategies, and poor job descriptions that halt the diverse hiring process.

Porter Braswell, co-founder and CEO of Jopwell, dedicates his life to lifting Black, Latinx, and Native American students’ and professionals’ voices in their careers. He knows firsthand how common it is for companies to blame the lack of diversity on the pipeline myth.  

“It’s not a pipeline challenge,” Porter says in the podcast The New Way We Work: Debunking the Pipeline Problem: “The talent has always existed. It’s just been a matter of how do you get access to that talent and how do you authentically connect and engage with that talent.” 

When it comes to diverse and inclusive hiring, Porter’s got the inside scoop. 

He points to the fact that while there is a well-known model of corporations teaming up with non-profit organizations that support underrepresented professionals, these efforts only help within a small margin.

“All of those organizations combined, and there are hundreds of them combined, represent less than 1% of the actual addressable communities of Black, Latinx, and Native American students and professionals that are qualified for opportunities,” explains Porter. 

The way he sees it, at the corporate level it’s easy to say: “We work with 10 organizations, and we’re still not seeing the talent. So therefore the talent must not exist...There’s that disconnect.” 

So, what do experts like Porter recommend? 

  • Companies need to know their ‘Why’ for increasing diversity
  • Job descriptions should not have outdated language 
  • Leaders need to look at their talent acquisition funnel and ask the hard questions
  • Companies need to pull stories from candidates that highlight their different perspectives 

Even if your business doesn’t have the same resources as a major corporation, you still have a unique opportunity to make DEI part of the fabric of your company.

Why the time for DEI hiring is now

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 38.5 million millennials will make up the largest labor force, surpassing baby boomers and Gen X, by 2029. 

Since millennials are the most diverse generation, it’s no wonder 71% prioritize diversity and inclusion at work.  

This is important to keep in mind as you focus on boosting DEI, especially post-Covid. Today’s employees and customers want to know that the companies they do business with reflect inclusive values.

“That’s the value of diversity,” says Porter. “They’re going to look at things differently. It’s not lowering the bar. It’s in fact raising the bar.

Still, some employers argue that their small business can’t risk expanding their applicant pool to help increase their overall reach to underrepresented groups. That it may even be “more work.”

Arguably, the greater risk for growing businesses is failing to increase their DEI.

Without actionable steps towards diversity, your company may continue to attract people from the same background — leaving less and less room for underrepresented candidates to be hired. Even when you do onboard diverse hires, if you lack an inclusive company culture, the data shows 1 out of 4 employees will leave the job. 

This can lock you into a vicious cycle of homogeneous hiring at a time when diversity, equity and inclusion matters more than ever.

But there is a way forward. A quality hiring process is the start of genuine DEI in the workplace — and Breezy can help you step up your game, even if resources are tight.

Use Breezy HR to boost diversity recruitment and hiring 

You’re committed to increasing diversity and inclusion in your business, but you don’t have the luxury of a Fortune 500-sized budget. We get it.

From posting inclusive job descriptions and setting up an unbiased screening process, to reporting the entire process in one place, Breezy’s got you covered! 

Use automation to reach diverse talent (while saving time) 

Say you’ve got the perfect unbiased job description written up. Well done!

Now it’s time to get your awesome new role in front of as many eyes as possible. 

With Breezy, you can automatically post and promote your open roles on over 50 free job boards and dozens of the top job boards for underrepresented talent.

From there, you can use Breezy’s automated stage actions to trigger bulk emails to thank all incoming applicants and move qualified candidates to the next step. Whether that’s filling out a questionnaire or scheduling an interview, you have it all in one place with an easy-to-manage candidate view. 

Minimize bias in your screening process with a few simple clicks

Most businesses rely solely on a person’s resume and cover letter to move candidates to the next stage. Candidates pour their heart and soul into the perfect formatting and word choices, only to be weeded out by computer software.

But with Breezy you can make it more personal (and fair). 

An applicant questionnaire is a great way to screen candidates in based on their human qualities and diverse backgrounds. 

Questions you could ask include: 

  • What job responsibilities do you excel at? 
  • Are you willing to learn new skills to best perform in this role? 
  • What management approaches are most effective in maximizing your performance?
  • Do you have any supplemental skills, knowledge areas or experiences we should know about?  

In Breezy, you can use the Send Questionnaire stage action to automatically send questionnaires when the candidate reaches a specific stage.

From the pipeline view, all you have to do is:

  1. Click Positions/Pools in the left sidebar.
  2. Open the correct position.
  3. Click the settings menu (three dots) for the stage where you want to set the action.
  4. Click Edit Stage Actions in the dropdown.
  5. Click the dropdown for Available Stage Actions and select Send Questionnaire.
  6. Click + Add next to the name of the Stage Action.
  7. Select a questionnaire from the dropdown.
  8. Select a delay period, if you’d like to postpone sending the questionnaire.
  9. Click Save Changes.

And that’s it! Now you’re ready to screen the right candidates in. 💪🏽

Pre-Screen Candidates Screenshot

Offer candidates an inclusive scheduling and interview process

Once applicant questionnaires start to fill your inbox, it’s time to choose who you’d like to invite to the interview process. 

A lot of time can be wasted going back and forth between emails (or phone calls) to choose an interview date and time. Often, candidates feel pressured to choose the time they feel is most convenient for the interviewer.

This can lead to great talent having a conflict with the time and rescheduling, or worse — passing up the interview completely. 

Luckily, there’s an easier and more inclusive way.

With Breezy, you can hand over interview self-scheduling to allow individuals to choose their own best time to connect. 

To create a system-wide scheduling link in Breezy, follow these steps:

  1. Click the gear icon ⚙️ in the left sidebar.
  2. Hover over Recruiting Preferences and click Scheduling Links.
  3. Click + Scheduling Link.
  4. Enter a name for the link and add interview, availability, and expiration details.
  5. Click + Scheduling Link.

You can also set up personal scheduling links and use them anywhere you communicate with candidates — whether that’s an automated email message or even text!

When the candidate receives your email or text message, all they have to do is click on your scheduling link to choose the time for their interview.

Interview time selection

Next, it’s time for the interview itself.

If you’re familiar with the research in this area, you know this is where a lot of the unconscious bias can sneak into your hiring process. So it’s crucial to get it right.

With Breezy’s Interview Guides, you ensure each candidate is asked the same questions and receives the same info, no matter who they meet with for an interview.

To set up your interview guides in Breezy, simply:

  1. Click the gear icon ⚙️ in the left sidebar.
  2. Hover over Recruiting Preferences.
  3. Click Interview Guides.
  4. Click + Interview Guide to create a new guide or click the copy icon (pages) to clone an existing guide.
  5. Enter a name for your Interview Guide.
  6. Attach any files needed for reference.
  7. Click + Section to create sections to help organize your questions.
  8. Click + Item under each section to create questions or list items.
  9. Click Save Changes.

When added to a scheduled interview, you’ll be able to see your Interview Guide straight from the meeting invite, the Meetings tab of the candidate’s profile, and even on-screen during a video interview, making it a breeze to ask the same questions in every interview — no exceptions.

Get the complete DEI picture with reporting 

The right data is key to a more welcoming workplace. And this starts with tracking DEI recruiting and hiring efforts from the beginning.  

If you’re like most busy hiring teams, you might be relying on Excel spreadsheets, random Google docs, and sticky notes to keep track of applicants and next steps. 

Not anymore. 

With Breezy, you can keep team members on the same page with reporting and analytics in one place. Here’s a quick roundup of the core metrics you can track: 

Pipeline metrics: Tracking pipeline metrics can help you see areas that need extra effort in the recruitment process. 

Source reports: You can see the sites and job boards candidates are viewing and applying from. This is one way to keep track of your DEI pipeline and the strength of your job description, because it can give you a better read at the number of candidates coming from job boards for underrepresented talent.

Time to fill: How long it takes to fill a position is a key metric you can use to track DEI efforts. You can pinpoint potential obstacles in the hiring process to reduce wait times and loss of diverse candidates.

Make DEI recruitment a reality

The “pipeline problem” is a proven myth. The reality is, businesses of all shapes and sizes can benefit from a diverse and inclusive team. 

Everyone deserves a fair shot at employment opportunities. And as an employer, it's your turn to make DEI recruitment and hiring your business blueprint.

Breezy HR is here to help with automation, easy candidate communication, and reporting all in one tool. Now, you can focus on growing your business while recruiting and hiring diverse candidates who are perfect for your next open role.