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As companies prioritize diversity, startups are trying to productize diverse hiring – TechCrunch

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When the iconic American power tools company Stanley Black & Decker began looking for ways to improve the pipeline of diverse candidates that the company was reviewing for potential roles, it turned to an Israeli-based startup called Talenya for help.

As part of that assessment, companies came to the realization that the hiring tools they’d been using to simplify the process of recruiting, cultivating and promoting talent weren’t capturing the broadest and most capable applicants.


That’s where tools like Talenya, Textio, TalVista, WayUp, Handshake, The Mom Project, Flockjay, Kanarys, JumpStart and SeekOut have come in.

To accelerate our progress, we started using Talenya’s AI software in 2020 to help increase the candidate pool of women and people of color,” said Suzan Morno-Wade, EVP and chief human resources officer at Xerox, another company using Talenya’s software, in a statement.

It seems that women and people of color use fewer keywords and are less effusive when they describe themselves in profiles or on job applications, according to a recent study published by Talenya.

In some ways, that functionality seems a lot like tools on offer from companies like SeekOut, the recruiting startup that just landed a whopping million round from investors including Tiger Global, Madrona Group and Mayfield.

The company’s new tool provides an assessment for how diverse applicant pools are slowly winnowed down to a group of candidates that is far less diverse through the testing process.

WayUp co-founder and chief executive Liz Wessel said that the pool of applicants often narrows significantly after a battery of technical assessment and programming tests.

While some startups focus on the hiring process itself, other companies are taking approaches to diversify-specific jobs or to try to recruit from particular talent pools to help increase diversity in the tech industry.

“Most people don’t even know that a job in tech sales is even a possibility,” Shaan Hathiramani, the founder and chief executive of Flockjay, a company offering a tech sales training curriculum to the masses, said earlier this year.

Hathiramani said his startup could be an on-ramp to the tech industry for legions of workers who have the skill sets to work in tech, but lack the network to see themselves in the business.

Just like coding bootcamps have enabled thousands to get jobs as programmers in the tech business, Flockjay helps talented people who had never considered a job in tech get into the industry.

And it’s a way for those tech companies to find a more diverse pool of workers who can bring different skill sets and perspectives to the table.

It’s obvious that tech needs to “do better” on inclusion, and The Mom Project — a Chicago startup that focuses on connecting women, including parents, with jobs from organizations specifically open to employing people who meet that profile — is one company tackling an aspect of the problem that’s become acute in the pandemic.

“Sixty percent of the job losses in the pandemic have been women, and the statistics have been even worse for women of color,” said Mom Project chief executive Allison Robinson.

While The Mom Project doesn’t have any tools today to surface candidates that meet more diverse profiles on that front, Robinson told TechCrunch that they are considering it and how to approach that in a way that works.