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Diversity Recruiting Research

Diversity Research Services

Diversity Talent Pools

We identify the best-of-the-best diverse talent from all your favorite target companies and build custom talent pools to ensure diversity inclusion.

Diversity Benchmarking

We gather closely held information about the diversity of competitor organizations to make comparisons, gain valuable insights, and discover opportunities to increase the diversity of senior executive talent.

Executive Search Research

We ensure the best-of-the-best diverse candidates are well represented in every executive search we conduct. We measure and track diversity every step of the way.

Diversity Recruiting Research

Sourcing for Diverse Executives

How to Discover Diverse Executives

Diversity Sourcing drives success in recruiting underrepresented, diverse candidates at the executive level. Because women leaders and executives who are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC) are under-represented in the workplace, there are comparatively fewer diverse executives to be found. One needs to look a little harder and dig a little deeper to level the playing field. And that’s where traditional sourcing teams run into trouble.

Diverse Candidates Overlooked or Missed Entirely

Progress has been increasing diversity at the senior executive level, but it has been slow. Despite growing corporate interest in boosting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the C-Suite, far too many women leaders and executives of color are overlooked or missed entirely by executive recruiters. Because there are fewer women and BIPOC leaders at the executive level, they remain under-represented in executive search.

Standard Sourcing Perpetuates Underrepresentation

Traditional sourcing holds up a mirror. It reflects the greater problem. Standard sourcing methods capture what is most obvious and available to find. So sourcing teams come back with lists of candidates that lack diversity because the executive talent pool is not yet diverse enough. In other words, most sourcing teams give you a snapshot of what exists, not what should be. In so doing, they perpetuate the status quo. And that should not be surprising. Status quo bias is real. (More on that below.)

For Different Results, Source Differently

Consequently, you cannot conduct executive search sourcing the same way and expect different results. You must source differently. Diversity sourcing requires greater expertise to discover leaders who are deemed different from the majority, whether that difference is race and ethnicity; age and generation; gender and gender identity; sexual orientation; religious and spiritual beliefs; disability; or socioeconomic status and background. Diversity sourcing must be investigative.

Why Diversity Sourcing Must Be Investigative

Executive search researchers who are investigative excel at the discovery of diverse candidates — helping them to be seen, appreciated, and recruited. Investigative researchers are ideally suited to uncover what others miss. That’s what they do. They have the expertise to spot patterns, pull at threads, and follow breadcrumbs. They know how to find things out. They know how to find people. Investigative candidate sourcing research discovers dream candidates others miss — diverse executives who are under-represented in executive search.

Why is Diversity Sourcing So Hard?

Diversity Sourcing identifies and profiles potential executives whose gender or racial representation is disproportionately less than their proportion in the general population. In the United States at the senior executive level, rarely are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC) and women well-represented. The very fact that there are fewer diverse leaders sets up challenges for any candidate sourcer, research associate, or executive recruiter.

You Cannot Filter by Diversity-Specific Fields

Another reason conducting diversity research is challenging is that you cannot filter by diversity-specific fields on LinkedIn or other publicly available sources of executive data. You cannot filter by gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or other diverse class using a specific field for that purpose. Diversity information is personal. Much of it is sensitive. While you may want to use it to boost diversity, bad actors can use it to discriminate and do real harm. Consequently, that information is not easily found.

Many Executives Don’t Share They’re Diverse

Many diverse executives do not overtly state they’re Black, Latinx, Indigenous, or People of Color on social profiles. And why should they? Whether a candidate is a person of color is immaterial to their qualifications as a candidate.

Moreover, some diverse candidates don’t want to risk discrimination or being recruited for the color of their skin. That is why some LinkedIn profiles for BIPOC candidates lack any evidence they are diverse. That is why investigative research is required.

How Does Diversity Sourcing Work?

Diversity Sourcers Follow the Data

Because diversity information is not readily available as standardized data in fields devoted to diversity, sourcers must do a lot of detective work to find it. The information is scattered like buckshot across the Internet and in proprietary databases. The list of resources one can check is infinite. Articles. Associations. Awards. Biographies. College Activities. Conferences. Corporate Websites. Court Filings. Press Releases. Professional Licenses. Twitter Commentary. SEC Filings. Speeches. And more. The sources vary depending on what we’re being asked to research.

They Conduct Boolean Searches on LinkedIn

Diversity sourcers must resort to searching LinkedIn member profiles using complex Boolean searches. The work is granular and painstaking. Experienced executive search researchers write down every search string they use to prevent holes in their research. Failing to do so virtually guarantees ideal women and BIPOC executives will be missed.

Diversity Sourcers Make Educated Guesses

Sourcers are able to verify an executive’s gender, race, or ethnicity when the executive reveals the information in their own profile or when another reliable source confirms it. Yet, in the absence of verification, to ensure inclusion, candidate sourcers must make educated guesses to determine whether a candidate is diverse. Consequently, unless there is unimpeachable evidence confirming an individual’s diversity, that information is not verified until the executive self-identifies. Usually, the opportunity to self-identify occurs when a candidate fills out an application for a specific job.

They Go Into Adjacent Industries or Down a Level

Of course, the challenge for diversity sourcing teams is finding enough diverse executive candidates to ensure inclusion. Comparatively, they are in shorter supply. Women and BIPOC candidates do not advance as quickly up the career ladder.

Consequently, Diversity Recruiting sourcers often benefit from going into adjacent industries or down a half-level from Vice President to Senior Director, understanding that underrepresented candidates are often held back. The Senior Directors likely would be at the right level at this point in their career if they were not diverse.

Who Should Do the Diversity Sourcing?

In-House Diversity Teams Lack Time for Sourcing

Many in-house executive recruiting teams lack the time, resources, and research expertise necessary to uncover diverse executives deserving of their attention. Traditional candidate sourcers and diversity recruiters simply are not equipped to sift through hundreds of millions of candidate profiles to separate the signal (the diverse candidate) from the noise (everyone else). As a result, many companies turn to trusted strategic executive search research partners that specialize in diversity recruiting.

Investigative Researchers Ideal for Diversity Sourcing

Investigative recruiting researchers are ideally suited to conduct diversity sourcing. That’s because discovering diverse candidates requires more digging and greater expertise. Many diverse executives do not overtly state they’re Black, Latinx, Indigenous, or People of Color on social profiles. And why should they? White LinkedIn Members don’t overtly state they’re white.

Whether a candidate is a person of color is immaterial to their qualifications as a candidate. Moreover, some diverse candidates don’t want to risk discrimination or being recruited for the color of their skin. That is why some LinkedIn profiles for BIPOC candidates lack any evidence they are diverse. That is why investigative research is required.

What’s the Diversity Deliverable?

Imagine a Database of Women and BIPOC Leaders

To boost diversity, build an actionable database of diverse candidate profiles to have at the ready. The research should not be tied to any specific opening. Rather, the Diversity Talent Pool brimming with profiles enables companies to get to know underrepresented executives in advance of any opening.

It also ensures BIPOC leaders and women executives are well represented as candidates for executive searches that arise. The greater the percentage of diverse candidates at the top of the funnel, then the more likely a woman leader or a Black, Latinx, or Indigenous executive will be hired.

How Can We Make More Diverse Hires?

Start with Education.

An organization cannot succeed at Diversity Recruiting without becoming more aware of how pervasive systemic racism and unconscious bias are. A great place to learn how to be a better ally is by taking the Anti-Racism and Allyship 7-Day Journey It was created by Dr. Sarah A. Soule, the Morgridge Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB), and her colleagues Dr. Maggie Neale and Hannah Yanow.

Learn about the status quo bias.

For diversity recruiting, it is important to learn about the status quo bias. It’s an actual thing. We humans have an unconscious bias to select a candidate that is in the majority to maintain the status quo.

Consequently, if your goal is for diverse candidates to have equal opportunity on a slate of finalists, that will never happen when there is just one diverse executive on the slate.

To give any underrepresented candidate a decent shot at being hired, that person’s diverse class must never be in the minority on the slate of finalists. Researchers Stefanie K. Johnson, David R. Hekman, and Elsa T. Chan found if there is only one woman on your slate of finalists, statistically there is no chance she will be hired.

Why does being the only woman in a pool of finalists matter? For one thing, it highlights how different she is from the norm. And deviating from the norm can be risky for decision makers, as people tend to ostracize people who are different from the group. For women and minorities, having your differences made salient can also lead to inferences of incompetence.

Stefanie K. Johnson, David R. Hekman, and Elsa T. Chan at Harvard Business Review

Remember the Rule of 2

The authors’ research discovered that if there are at least two female candidates in a slate of 3 finalists, the odds of hiring a female candidate are 79 times greater. If there are at least two minority candidates in a slate of three finalists, the odds of hiring a minority candidate are 194 times.

Use the Status Quo Bias to Your Advantage

The authors point out we can use the status quo bias to our advantage to level the playing field if we create a new status quo on the slate of finalists. When a diverse candidate’s class is in the majority the odds of a diverse hire skyrocket

Ready to Boost Executive Diversity?

If your senior leadership has too few women and Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color (BIPOC), boosting diversity is one of the Top 10 Reasons to Use a Recruiting Research Firm. Our work in succession planning increases corporate diversity by building slates of potential successors in which women and diverse candidates are well-represented.

Above all, our research addresses structural issues that stand in the way of great talent (that happens to be diverse) and great companies (that want to be more diverse) from finding one another.

Intellerati reaches beyond traditional recruiting resources, diverse communities, and social networks. As a result, we deliver top diverse talent others miss. Intellerati’s diversity recruiting research elevates corporate diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at the executive level so we all rise.

Got questions? Let’s talk.

If you’d like to explore possible ways to work together, let’s talk. We understand that no recruitment research firm is the right firm for every engagement every time. But, regardless, we make it a practice to listen and to try to help.