I was doing a bit of research and came across this messaging. It’s on the website of a seemingly well-known recruiting tool.
This is flawed, filled with assumptions, and speaks to a much larger issue in the recruitment tech industry.
Let’s get into it:
First, “passive” is an attempt at quality, not diversity.
Recruiters do passive candidate outreach because it’s currently the fastest way to filter for quality at the top of the funnel. It’s simple: When inbound quality is low, recruiters go outbound. If inbound quality was high, recruiters would be acting like inbound AEs, not outbound SDRs.
Bottom line: Passive candidates do not equal diverse candidates. These aren’t if/then terms. Therefore, passive and diverse should never be used in the same sentence. We’re talking about two different—and completely separate—recruiting intentions and challenges. And therefore, two different solutions.
Second, what does diversity mean?
Color? Gender? Age? Geography? Professional background? Thought and perspective?
Well, based on this website, they’re optimizing for color.
Anyone in recruiting knows that passive candidates are largely sourced based on skill set, pedigree (former/current company, school, etc), and experience, first. Because, at least on the surface, these are the best indicators of a role fit. Like it or not, this is the reality. Hence the homogeneity of engineering and sales teams at your average tech company.
Side note: I hope that we have evolved past companies thinking they only need to check the token boxes, and on to intentionally diversifying our cultures through spectrums of age, political and social perspectives, physical locations, backgrounds, and professional/educational paths, in addition to race and gender.
The fact that any software company 1) is this disconnected from the realities of their industry when it comes to why recruiters engage in passive candidate outreach, and 2) thinks that they can dictate what diversity means for a company and its employees is alarming.
Passive candidate outreach done well is an art. It’s not something that software can do for you.
And seeking diversity through clear intention, nuance, and organizational self-awareness is one of the noblest business initiatives. This takes effort. A lot of it. It doesn’t result from using “AI” to scrape profile pictures of potentially diverse candidates. In most cases, technology will only limit your creativity by constructing artificial guardrails that hinder the growth and design of your culture.
Most buyers probably miss this messaging as they skim over the site. Or worse, they see the word “diversity” and check the terminology box for what constitutes an acceptable product these days.
Either way, this example exposes the fundamental problem with the recruitment tech industry: it’s completely disconnected from the realities of the people it claims to be serving.
In sectors like tech, recruiters have become the gatekeepers to upward mobility.
Solutions that can help well-intentioned startups meet talent from all walks of life and open up opportunities that have historically been inaccessible to many feels like the most honest of pursuits.