Diversity as a Differentiator – How Recruiters Can Attract 70% More Diverse Talent, with Helen McGuire, Ep #57

Your recruiting clients are increasingly aware of the commercial benefits of recruiting a diverse workforce. That means they will soon expect and require their recruitment partners to be capable of delivering a diverse shortlist.

Merely claiming to be a champion of D&I isn’t enough — clients want to see evidence that you have a process in place to deliver diverse talent.  The recruiters who are able to demonstrate this capability will differentiate themselves in the marketplace and steal a march on their competitors.

To discuss how recruiters can achieve this, I invited entrepreneur Helen McGuire to join me on The Resilient Recruiter podcast.

Helen is the CEO and Co-Founder of Diversely.io, an end-to-end hiring platform that uses tech to reduce bias in the hiring process for businesses. As an award-winning entrepreneur in the diversity space, she founded the first women’s careers platform in the Middle East – Hopscotch – in 2016, which grew to a worldwide community of over 80,000 working with businesses like Facebook, Mastercard and Nestle, and expanding to Singapore in 2018. 

Helen began her career in London, achieving her dream role at BBC Radio 1 in her early twenties producing award-winning shows for the likes of John Peel, Mary Anne Hobbs and Gilles Peterson. Concurrently, Helen presented her own monthly radio programme – Join The-Dots – airing in over 15 countries globally, DJ’d and wrote for top music publications and travelled the world interviewing artists. Helen was the first female resident DJ at Club 360 in Dubai and still occasionally DJ’s to this day.

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [2:00] Helen shares how they were awarded HRM Asia’s Top 3 Tech Start-Ups 2020.
  • [4:15] How to check your diversity score online.
  • [6:00] Approaching the diversity space from a technology perspective.
  • [12:08] Unconscious bias – why should we care? 
  • [14:51] Sourcing – how to attract more candidates by changing your language
  • [19:24] How Helen turned a massive idea into a product.
  • [25:06] Helen shares the process of getting funding for her business 
  • [32:18] Helen reveals by far the biggest challenge that she had to overcome.
  • [40:15] Juggling your tasks – starting a business and having a work-life balance.

Approaching the Diversity Space – from a Technology Point of View

Working in the diversity space for about six years, Helen shared what drove her passion. When she had her first baby in 2014, she very quickly realized that a lot of women (colleagues, friends) were frustrated and had to end their career – for the reason that employers could not think a little more outside the box and offer flexible working schedules to their tenured female staff members. 

This moved her to create an award-winning women’s careers platform – Hopscotch. The initial aim was to find women more flexibility in their careers but ended up being helpful to women of all professions. Growing rapidly, the platform gained around 80,000 in their network! With this initiative, Helen had three realizations:

  • Diversity around women – not everybody was open to thinking about things differently
  • The impact of unconscious bias – not only women are affected
  • Despite the reach, she felt that she is only making a very minimal impact

This lead Helen to look for a deeper and wide-ranging solution to address the above problem.

Diversity in Sourcing – Adapting your Language

Here is something really interesting. Did you know that during sourcing, changing your language can attract 70% more diverse candidates and twice as many candidates with the skillset that you’re looking for?

Here is how Helen explained it: “Think about it from a day to day perspective. If you are speaking to your grandma, if you are speaking to a child, if you are speaking to your boss, if you are speaking to your friends, you don’t use the same language right? You don’t talk to them in exactly the same way. You use language that they understand, that helps you to have a conversation with them, that helps you to have something in common with them. The same is true when you’re sourcing.”

Listen to what else she said to support this fantastic concept and how to adapt your language to your potential candidates.

Helen McGuire Bio and Contact Info

Helen McGuire is the CEO and Co-Founder of Diversely.io, an end-to-end hiring platform that uses tech to reduce bias in the hiring process for businesses. To scale the impact of her work Helen joined the renowned tech start-up accelerator programme, Antler, in January 2020 and the idea for Diversely was born. Joining forces with her Diversely co-founder and CPO, Hayley Bakker, in April of the same year, the vision for the company is to reduce workplace bias for all those from under-represented groups – not just women – by creating a scalable, global solution through the use of AI-driven tech. The company successfully completed its pre-seed round in November of 2020 and has a five-strong team working to deliver online solutions for its clients in beta, with a full launch expected in Q2 2021. Helen’s focus is on the marketing, content and sales side of the business and she regularly speaks globally on the topics of diversity, equality and inclusion.

Helen is also a mother of three young children – Clementine (6), Arlo (4) and Iris (2) and lives with her husband, Justin, and their English bulldog, Percy, in Singapore. She is a passionate speaker, writer and photographer, a proud part-time vegan and loves fashion, horses and travel.

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