I recently had a conversation with a tech recruiter about her struggles to find qualified job candidates. She explained to me that her start-up was seeking the 'unicorns' of the industry. I, myself, did not realize the extent to which these groups were underrepresented until I did some research of my own after our conversation. Many argue that there is a 'pipeline problem' - not enough qualified candidates from these underrepresented groups applying to tech roles. While the pipeline issue does deserve to be addressed (perhaps in another article), it is critical to focus on what can be done NOW.
Here are 4 tips for companies looking to find their unicorns.
The first thing that organizations should do is cast a wider net when it comes to where the candidates are being sourced. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and professional organizations such as the National Society of Hispanic Engineers (NSHE) are great resources for diverse talent.
To piggyback off tip #1, when looking at HBCUs, it's beneficial to also examine smaller HBCUs with strong engineering programs (Morgan State University and Prairie View A&M are great examples). Typically, the focus is on larger HBCUs but there is a pool of talented candidates at smaller programs that are often overlooked.
For those that say there is a 'pipeline problem,' create your own pipeline! Organizations can create internships for underrepresented groups. If the internship goes successfully, it can turn into an employment opportunity. The obvious benefit here is that the employee will already be trained and will possess the skills necessary to perform the job well.
If you're looking for women, go to the places where women go. Find the events, luncheons, etc., where talented women in the industry congregate and discuss the job opportunities that are available at your organization. Meetup.com is a great place to start for this. If you are located in a larger city, like San Francisco or New York City, there are ongoing Meetups for women in technology. Attend those meet ups and promote the job opportunities.
What are some tips you can offer organizations on how to attract the unicorns they are seeking?