Announcing Entelo Diversity

April 30, 2014 at 6:30 AM by Jon Bischke

Entelo-DiversityIt’s with great pleasure that we’re announcing the launch of Entelo Diversity.

The genesis of Diversity occurred well over a year ago when we surfaced a recurring need among our customer base: More powerful tools to ensure that they were recruiting a diverse mix of candidates. Specifically, a common request among many of our customers was a desire to improve the gender balance among their engineering teams. 

Diversity is a hot button issue. In fact, there’s a pretty large segment of the population that might think that what we are doing with Entelo Diversity is wrong or possibly even a violation of employment law. We knew when we started talking about this product that it could generate some controversy and thought for a long time about that. In the end, we felt very strongly that the potential good of a tool like Entelo Diversity far outweighed any potential negative commentary we’d receive.

So I wanted to answer some common questions that we’ve already fielded about Entelo Diversity and that might be on the tip of your tongue.

Q: Isn’t this just a tool for reverse discrimination? Isn’t filtering out people based on characteristics like gender or race a violation of employment law?

A: This is a very common question and one we’ve heard a lot. And we want to be clear about one thing: You should always hire the best person for the job. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 both have a lot to say about discrimination in hiring decisions based on things like gender and race.

But there’s a big difference between discriminating in hiring decisions and diversity recruiting. Diversity recruiting has to do with correcting under-representation within certain groups. For example, if your company has an applicant pool that consists of 90% men and 10% women, you might be allowed to take steps to bring that ratio more into balance. In fact, if you’re a federal contractor, you might be required to take such steps or be at risk.

Q: Can my company use this product? Will we get into trouble?

A: Our advice to each company we speak with is to do the proper due diligence necessary. In most companies with diversity recruiting initiatives, new tools and techniques are vetted and we’d advise the same here. Many of the companies we’ve spoken to about Entelo Diversity are already undertaking manual efforts similar to some of the things that this product allows them to do in a more automated fashion. So in many ways, Entelo Diversity isn’t new — it's just a more powerful way to do things that companies have been doing for years.

Q: Can the Entelo Diversity tool be used to filter out women or minorities and actually have the opposite effect of what’s intended?

A: We’ve specifically designed the tool so that it cannot be used to discriminate. Rather, the tool is designed to allow people to find candidates of certain types only. We put some faith in our customers to have the right policies and procedures in place around hiring (as all recruiting software companies do). However, it’s our plan to arm them with any technical capabilities to make this even easier. For example, if an organization’s policy doesn’t allow them to look at images of candidates they are considering sourcing, we have an “Images Off" mode that they can enter.

And here are a few other common questions we’ve received:

Q: What factors do you use in your algorithm to determine that someone is, say, a women or Hispanic?

A: We don’t reveal all of the factors that go into helping us determine whether someone is a member of a certain group. However, you can guess at many of them and a good number are ones that many recruiting organizations have used for years. For example, someone attended a certain university or is a part of a certain affinity group. We only use publicly available data and while in some cases, this data is self-reported (e.g., someone listing publicly on a social network that they are female), most of the time our algorithms assess this in a probabilistic fashion.

Q: What groups am I allowed to search for using Entelo Diversity?

A: You can currently search for women, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians and military veterans. For many organizations, these are the groups where they find they often have under-representation. In the future, we may add more groups but will do so very carefully and only if it’s quite clear to us that adding them is permissible by law.

Q: Does this replace traditional diversity recruiting efforts such as recruiting at women's colleges, historically black colleges or military academies?

A: We hope not! We applaud any and all efforts at ensuring a more diverse candidate pool. That said, we also recognize the need to have more tools in the toolkit and we hope that Entelo Diversity becomes one of those tools for many companies. There’s nothing wrong with the way diversity recruiting has historically been done. We just feel that it’s possible there might be a better way, or at least an alternate way to do it.

Q: Have there been any studies done on the benefits of having a diverse workforce?

A: Yes! Many of them. Just a handful that we’ve come across are ones that indicate that a more diverse workplace contributes directly to increased sales and profitability, a more creative and innovative workforce and happy, more productive employees.

Q: What’s your overall goal for Entelo Diversity?

For there not to be a need for Entelo Diversity :) . In theory, economic opportunity becomes so evenly distributed that companies don’t have under-representation and imbalances within their teams. Certainly, workforces are already a lot more diverse than they were just a couple of decades ago. We’re moving in the right direction as a society.

That said, there are times when society can use a little nudge and it’s our hope that Entelo Diversity can be that nudge for many companies. Not all companies have huge resources to devote to our diversity recruiting and we hope that Entelo Diversity is a tool that is both cost-effective and highly successful in achieving company goals. If we can play a part in helping more people find economic opportunity, we’ve accomplished our mission.

Want to learn more about how Entelo Diversity can work for you? Take a tour of our product today!

UPDATE: We're really thrilled by all of the interest! Here are some recent press pieces on the launch of Entelo Diversity:

Wall Street Journal: Can This Algorithm Find Hires of a Certain Race?

Cnet: A tech shortcut to diversity in the workplace? (Q&A)

Forbes: As Firms Seek Minority Hires, Social-Media Tool May Help

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