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In Conversation

In Conversation: Recruiting a Diverse Workforce

A diverse workforce is directly related to a successful business, so how can we make sure our recruitment efforts and company culture are attractive to the talent we want to be hiring?

July 8, 2020

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The following interview is an excerpt from our video series, SHIFT - In Conversation. To watch the full interview and see more video content, click here. Or you can listen to the SHIFT - In Conversation podcast here. 

Jason Jones - Senior Recruitment Marketing Specialist - DraftKings
Grace Amodeo - Program Manager - SHIFT 

Grace:
Tell us about yourself and DraftKings.

Jason:
DraftKings is a digital sports entertainment and gaming company with products that range from daily fantasy sports, regulated gaming, and digital media. We launched in 2012 and we are the only US-based vertically integrated sports betting partner. My career in tech began around 2013 where I was in a traditional talent acquisition role. I was tasked with uncovering passive talent, and finding people based off of the needs of the hiring manager's qualifications.

Grace:
In the scope of a larger company, what is the importance of recruitment marketing? What influence does recruiting have over a company as a whole?

Jason:
Recruiters are your talent market experts, and they do more than just post a job on a job board. They are consultants to the business, especially in times of rapid growth. Recruitment marketing has many benefits, the first is creating an Employee Value Proposition. What makes your company unique and special? Your EVP is woven through your career site, job descriptions, marketing campaigns, and social media content. It’s your differentiator to attract the right candidates. People don't apply to jobs, they apply to brands. Candidates want to work for a company that aligns with their values and goals. 

People don't apply to jobs, they apply to brands. Candidates want to work for a company that aligns with their values and goals. 

Grace:
What is that influence of recruitment marketing on the company culture and employee experience?

Jason:
In doing my job, I think about the candidate journey. How are candidates finding DraftKings, and what mechanism are they using to research the company as an employer of choice? By understanding their journey, I work with the business to produce authentic content that will convert them to an applicant. Our employment brand externally is called DraftKings Life, especially on social media. Our strategy was to showcase our people, to spotlight employees with unique backgrounds and stories that appeal to different audiences who are looking at DraftKings as their next employer. I believe that storytelling is important for recruiting marketers, because the stories you tell result in interest that you garner from candidates. We work to tell the stories of our employees.

Grace:
Do you think directly about diversity in your recruitment role? How important is that in your job, and why?

By making your company attractive to diverse audiences, you expand your talent pool to new candidates who you previously wouldn't have come across.

Jason:
We've seen stats on how tech companies struggle to hire for diversity. When companies continue to tap into the same sources of talent, the well dries up quickly. By making your company attractive to diverse audiences, you expand your talent pool to new candidates who you previously wouldn't have come across. Being a Black male in tech, representation matters. By hiring diverse talent, your employer brand improves and, because it appeals to different candidates, it deepens your talent pools for future hiring needs. Many people aren't aware that DraftKings is a technology company, we hire and employ hundreds of software engineers and data analysts. If all of our external content featured people who look the same, we'd struggle to hire anyone who looked differently that could provide diverse thoughts and ideas to improve our company and products. 

Grace:
From a business perspective, how does diversity benefit the bottom line?

Jason:
Diverse teams are six times more likely to be innovative and agile than homogeneous teams, according to Deloitte Research. So as DraftKings enters into new states with unique regulations, we need this ability to be agile and innovative with respect to our product suite. One estimate says that Blacks make up 9% of core IT roles in the tech industry. By improving that 9% of Blacks in tech roles, imagine the endless possibilities of thoughts and ideas to progress technology for the masses. That same Deloitte study also says that diverse teams are two times more likely to meet and exceed financial targets, and eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes.

Grace:
What are some tangible things you do in your job to make sure that when candidates are looking at DraftKings, they are seeing a diverse and happy place to work? 

Jason:
It's all about making your employment brand attainable to candidates. We could say until we're blue in the face, “DraftKings is a great place to work”, but what’s validating that statement? Everything we do is rooted in data, and is driven by being the voice and the face of our employees and our culture. Anything that I am turning out from an external standpoint, I'm constantly getting internal validation. Does this piece of content resonate with you, and why you work at DraftKings? We're constantly working with our employees to understand what the value prop of DraftKings is. Even as we grow in scale, what keeps you here? And what can we do to tell a story to attract other like minded people?

Grace:
Can you share a specific example of a project or partnership you've implemented that showed the positive tangible result you were looking for?

Jason:
I'm the co-host of the DraftKing Life podcast, and we've really had success in the past showcasing our people and culture. We wanted to explore a new medium that would go deeper and share stories of our employees outside of just a picture and a quote. The podcast really allows us to dive deep, and understand your first impressions of the company, why you joined, and what keeps you here. I'm a firm believer in not being identified by your job title. I'm not a recruitment marketer, I'm Jason the recruitment marketer. We really want to understand the person behind the job title, and telling these stories is invaluable to anyone considering us as their next employer. 

We really want to understand the person behind the job title, and telling these stories is invaluable to anyone considering us as their next employer. 

Grace:
Can give any guidance on how someone can start to evaluate and measure their own recruitment marketing efforts?

Jason:
Your measurement efforts are only as good as your data integrity. What that means is you need a baseline to give you a starting point of where to improve. If you're in talent acquisition or HR, I recommend starting with your applicant tracking system. Another good starting point is your source of hire, time to fill, cost per hire, and quality of hire. As your data capturing becomes more sophisticated you can also fold in candidate experience, diversity stats, offer acceptance rate, and channel effectiveness. Your data capturing will evolve as your company evolves. So if you work for a small startup and you have a small team, having the ability to capture key metrics is important. Work with the business and the hiring manager to ask them their recruitment needs and what they care about.

Grace:
Let's say you're at a company that isn’t where they want to be in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion. What are some actionable things that an HR manager or recruiting manager can do to start that process?

Jason:
What I would say is don't worry, you're definitely not alone. Given recent times, corporate America is scrambling to get their house in order to fix this issue. Before you get started, ask yourself why diversity matters to your business. Are you doing it because everyone else is doing it, or do you care about hiring diverse talent? If your company is looking to make a diverse hire and there's no support system in place to allow them to do their best work, your diverse hire is going to walk out the door. So to get started, partner with your People Analytics team to uncover the data across the employee life cycle. If you don't have that capability, reach out to a DEI consultant who can assist and guide you along this journey. It's by no means a sprint, it's a journey. 

If your company is looking to make a diverse hire and there's no support system in place to allow them to do their best work, your diverse hire is going to walk out the door.

Grace:
Are there any organizations, action items, or resources that someone can check out if they are looking to get started on this journey?

Jason:
This problem that we're facing is systemic, but we all have the ability to affect change. So if your organization has the ability to explore groups and resources, do so. If you have a Corporate Social Responsibility team, leverage their expertise as a starting point. At DraftKings, we partnered with Vets in Tech to launch Tech for Heroes, a program that provides vets and their spouses with high-tech job training skills. You can also look at the vendors that you partner with for swag, food, and other solutions. Are they minority or women owned? There are ways to make an impact, and it takes a lot of work but the work is worth it.

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Would you like to participate in a future In Conversation video interview? Email grace@shift.io for more information. 

Grace Amodeo is a program manager at SHIFT, where she oversees the annual SHIFT Creative Fund grant program. She is a graduate of Emerson College, where she studied film with a concentration in directing narrative fiction. Grace lives in Los Angeles.
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