Something about their communication engaged me. I usually lag on messages sent through LinkedIn because there’s an extra step to reply. Something about this email said you’re a fool if you don’t at least look at this content. And then they appeared in my gmail, where I prefer to interact. Why didn’t they send it there in the first place? Oh, I forget, LinkedIn cut email addresses from profiles so we would have to communicate with each other on their platform. I digress.
It took me a full month to get to their website. My first emotional hit was – this looks interesting. And, it was just after my friend had sent me the link to TechCrunch’s Year in Review of Diversity, which I finally read after I rediscovered it in my Gmail Updates tab, where the Includeed email had been sitting and only partially ignored for almost a week. When content is both compelling and repeated I am seduced to a least take a peek.
The webpage banner photo got me so worked up I had to respond.
I think it’s pretty gutsy to start a Diversity platform with a 50/30 gender balanced team (in favor of men) that appears to be predominantly white. Unless you think it is helpful for your journalistic efforts to be the problem you are reporting on. Please remove me from your mailing list.
A year went by with few promising entries on this market. Includdeed clearly listened to my email and the optics improved.
Then here, on another continent, over an informal networking coffee, I was asked to make introductions to my network for a new technology company in the diversity space. For me, technology has made networking infinitely easier. It helps me keep my network across the ocean warm in the absence of human contact. Sometimes an ask is a good way to keep the channels of communication open. It lets people know you are still in the game. So, I set out to use the web for a little due diligence on Vertexer. Well, the picture on the home page was definitely better. Optics make a difference people.
They’ve taken internal employee referral systems and made them external, with the same incentives, payment in exchange for quality candidates. It applies the same control, you send us crap and we’ll stop using you based on some form of rating system. Why is this important? If you are just using referrals from your company and your company isn’t diverse to begin with, guess what you are going to get? Yep, more of the same. Like attracts Like.
One of the good things about the virtual world is it is often color, faith and sexual orientation agnostic. Unless an application mandates profile photos or social pressure pushes it, people are forced to rely on the written word. When I searched for a web developer for the launch of my Two Broke Chicas website (see Adventure of a Lifetime). I had to force myself to ignore the photos and just read their qualifications. It was nearly impossible. I made unconscious judgments based on their picture and location. I was helped to follow more logical measures by the platforms rating system, so my bias became more of a choice.
We talked about the impact of color on the Digital Nomad in Global Mobile Worker in Color. The social web offers some camaflogue, but it’s not impenetrable.
We know from research that if both men and women know the gender of a candidate, even when given identical resumes, they will prefer the male candidate. So, removing the physical from the equation can make a difference.
The rise of virtual internships may be another vehicle for companies to get past their biases, think more expansively about talent and how to get work done. Many virtual internships exist in the fields of technology, business, journalism, and various forms of research. Having the capability to utilize the internet, email communications, and a cell phone makes the need for a traditional office unnecessary in many cases. (For more on virtual internships).
The concept of blind auditions has revolutionized orchestra. According to a 2001 Princeton/Harvard study, the introduction of blind auditions to American symphony orchestras increased the probability that a woman would advance from preliminary rounds by 50 percent. Thanks to blind auditions, the gender gap narrowed in the early 1990s, with women musicians making up between 46% and 49% of the total musician pool in the two decades since.
Blind auditions or blind hiring could be a solution to any company’s diversity problem forcing interviewers to make objective talent decisions by interrupting cognitive bias.
The Editor-in-Chief at VentureBeat announced Blind Auditions for his publication to hire new tech journalists. Based in the center of the Silicon Valley tech startup scene, VentureBeat’s leader is hoping that his new approach will lead to more women journalists covering tech.
So Vertexer is applying this concept, in a way, with the semi-anonymous power of social networks. Now, everyone with a network has a seat at the table, regardless of the color, gender, religion or sexual orientation of its members. All you have to be is someone who wants to help a friend.
While Vertexer is in beta, there is possibility CEO, Corey Washington, promises
On Vertexer, with three clicks, employers can reach out to people from all walks of life and a range of associations, whose members come from the very underrepresented groups companies seek to reach, and receive candidate suggestions.