You cannot hope that things will get better, you have got to take action which includes not only actions to start, but also actions to stop because they are creating barriers to progress.
As a part of my HR Strategy Series, I’m talking to top experts in the field to teach prospects what hiring managers are actually looking for, while also supporting business leaders in their hiring and retention strategies. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Jennifer Tardy.
Jenn Tardy is an official partner to LinkedIn and The Society for Diversity where she serves as a career coach to its members. Jennifer has vast industry experience as a Recruiting Thought Leader, Diversity Practitioner, and Career Success Coach with over 14 years of experience in the field of human resources and recruiting. She is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Business Administration and has received several certifications in Human Resources and Diversity and Inclusion.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! First, please tell us what brought you to this specific career path?
Asa Black woman, I know what it feels like to be ambitious yet always perceived as different from the status quo. It has been a challenge I’ve faced while on my own personal journey to reaching the top of my profession. As I moved up the leadership ladder, I noticed that this challenge was not only unique to me, but to the vast majority of ambitious professionals from historically underrepresented populations. I wanted to affect change. I knew that true change would be two-fold. I would need to help job seekers navigate the bias impacting their ability to gain access to top jobs. Simultaneously, I needed to support employers to see and dismantle the bias preventing them from hiring more women, people of color, veterans, the differently abled, and individuals who identify as LGBTQ+.
Can you share the most interesting or funny story that happened to you since you started this career and what lesson you learned from that?
We begin all of our diversity recruiting programs with a pre-assessment, and it is fascinating to me the level of confidence many leaders have when starting. Many enter the program with an overly inflated sense of confidence about what they know about diversity recruiting. Breaking through this barrier is challenging and fun. It enables me to explore other perspectives, but also share my own experience and recommendations in a safe environment. Therefore, it is a great sense of accomplishment by the end of the program when they answer the same questions with a greater understanding of the techniques they can use to build a more equitable and inclusive hiring strategy.
Wonderful. Now let’s jump into the main focus of our series. Hiring can be very time consuming and difficult. Can you share 5 techniques that you use to identify the talent that would be best suited for the job you want to fill?
Yes, keep in mind that these techniques will ALSO help you to increase representation among the talent identified:
(#1) Develop an effective job description. Make sure that any job you post is open because of a business need. Be clear on the job duties and ensure they are aligned to the needs of the company.
(#2) Align all qualifications to the job duties only. Separate minimum from preferred qualifications. Ensure minimum qualifications are practical, relevant, and non-restrictive.
(#3) Build a candidate profile based on the qualifications AND the underrepresented populations you are seeking to target to increase representation within your candidate pool.
(#4) Identify the job boards, schools, organizations, etc. your target populations are more likely to frequent when applying for a job. Include these sources in your overall sourcing and recruitment strategy.
(#5) Ensure your interview team has been trained on best practice interview techniques and building cultural competence.
With so much noise and competition out there, what are your top 3 ways to attract and engage the best talent in an industry when they haven’t already reached out to you?
(#1) Encourage senior leaders to speak more openly about underrepresentation within their organization, how their org unknowingly contributed to it, and what it plans to do to increase diversity. The ownership, accountability, and vulnerability will begin to attract more talent to the company. This leads to authenticity and organizations demonstrating that they are true to their values. With just a little investigating, job seekers will know when employers (future and current) are not being genuine.
(#2) Encourage managers to talk openly with their direct reports about the Network Gap (as coined by LinkedIn). The more employees are encouraged to increase diversity within their personal and professional networks, the more likely organizations will see an increase in diversity through referral programs.
(#3) Create inclusive job descriptions. Use gender-neutral language, focus on minimum qualifications, and use industry-recognized language rather than company-specific jargon that would confuse job seekers.
If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would create a “lean into diversity recruiting” challenge for hiring leaders. Imagine the impact 10,000 hiring leaders, for example, could have on an organization’s ability to increase diversity.
Thank you so much for sharing your insights with us today!