Workplace

LinkedIn Recruiter wants to help you find women

Last month, LinkedIn launched a new feature called “Diversity Nudges” to show recruiters how to widen their search and recruit more women.

LinkedIn profiles

Leaders sometimes say underrepresented talent is “hard to find.” Usually, they’re just looking in the wrong places.

Illustration: Alina Naumova/iStock/Getty Images Plus; Protocol

Tech leaders have made their commitment to DEI loud and clear. Meta, Google and Apple publicly back affirmative action, cybersecurity companies are trying to close the talent gap by hiring diverse employees for entry-level positions and some of those meticulously tracking their numbers have met some of the goals they set for themselves. But tech’s progress in hiring workers of color, women and other underrepresented folks is still incremental.

One excuse leaders give is that underrepresented talent is “hard to find.” Usually, they’re just looking in the wrong places.

Last month, LinkedIn began rolling out a feature called “Diversity Nudges” for LinkedIn Recruiter, the paid plan that companies use to find and manage candidates. The new update is designed to challenge that “hard to find” myth and help hiring managers find a more diverse group of candidates. According to LinkedIn, the feature will be available everywhere in the coming weeks. Right now, the feature only works for gender diversity.

How LinkedIn’s Diversity Nudges work

If a recruiter’s search results skew either too male or female, the nudge feature will recommend ways to broaden the pool of results. LinkedIn says that if less than 45% of the talent pool is male or female, hiring managers will see a banner in their search urging them to change the criteria. The nudges also recommend certain locations, skills and companies that will most impact the hiring search. For example, adding candidates from a particular location or with a particular skill might increase the percentage of female candidates.

“It’s not an extra step that we’re asking recruiters to take,” said Jennifer Shappley, VP of global talent acquisition at LinkedIn. “It’s built into the day-to-day activities of a recruiter.”

Diversity Nudges will direct recruiters on ways to appropriately widen their talent pool.Image: LinkedIn

The goal is to help hiring managers expand their preconceived ideas of what makes a candidate qualified. Shappley noted that women tend to emphasize soft skills and men tend to emphasize technical skills. A nudge might tell recruiters that including soft skills in their search criteria will amass more female candidates. Ideally, that knowledge will stick with them.

Mandy Price, co-founder and CEO of Kanarys, a diversity, equity and inclusion technology company, told Protocol that “while many organizations claim there’s a pipeline problem when they can’t find diverse talent, we know that’s not the case because talent resides everywhere.”

How does LinkedIn know my gender?

LinkedIn infers gender through the information you provide in your profile and pronouns that others use when they endorse you. According to its website, LinkedIn does not infer gender through profile photos. Some people tell LinkedIn their gender in an “anonymous manner,” Shappley said, as the information is not public-facing. LinkedIn can also infer gender via LinkedIn identity-based groups listed in profiles. Anyone using LinkedIn can read how the company uses their demographic information, update their own and remove that information later if they so choose.

Diversity Nudges are limited to gender right now, as the company doesn’t have enough data yet to identify race, age, sexuality or whether someone is nonbinary. “Once we have sufficient self-ID data to have accurate sample sizes, we’ll also be able to expand our insights to race, age and more,” a LinkedIn spokesperson told Protocol.

Challenging recruiter bias

The idea is that Diversity Nudges would make it that much harder for leaders to lean on the “they’re hard to find” defense, and is one more way to hold companies accountable to their DEI promises. Many big tech companies invest in elaborate tech that uses machine learning to root out recruiting bias. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try the simpler solutions too.

Recruiters might not be aware that their approach to the day-to-day candidate search is actively impeding their diversity goals. “It is really hard to get people out of the routine that they have become used to,” Shappley said. “Being able to connect folks to that outcome they say they want with their daily behavior is really important.”

Two recruiters who spoke to Protocol were interested in the idea of the Diversity Nudges, but pointed to another feature of LinkedIn Recruiter as potentially even more useful. Both Kindall Carlson, senior technical recruiter at DailyPay, and Dan Logan, senior director of global recruiting at Beamery, said the tool that allows recruiters to hide photos and names in their search could do even more to eliminate unconscious bias.

Price from Kanarys called the Diversity Nudge “a great first step.” But if companies really want to fix their diversity problems, they must look within. “They need to examine their entire policies, practices and procedures to eliminate bias — not just change how they search for talent on job boards and other online platforms.” Price said this includes “standardizing interview questions, creating diverse interview panels, reworking job listings to include inclusive language, shifting to skills-based hiring and more.”

Entertainment

Inside Amazon’s free video strategy

Amazon has been doubling down on original content for Freevee, its ad-supported video service, which has seen a lot of growth thanks to a deep integration with other Amazon properties.

Freevee’s investment into original programming like 'Bosch: Legacy' has increased by 70%.

Photo: Tyler Golden/Amazon Freevee

Amazon’s streaming efforts have long been all about Prime Video. So the company caught pundits by surprise when, in early 2019, it launched a stand-alone ad-supported streaming service called IMDb Freedive, with Techcrunch calling the move “a bit odd.”

Nearly four years and two rebrandings later, Amazon’s ad-supported video efforts appear to be flourishing. Viewership of the service grew by 138% from 2020 to 2021, according to Amazon. The company declined to share any updated performance data on the service, which is now called Freevee, but a spokesperson told Protocol the performance of originals in particular “exceeded expectations,” leading Amazon to increase investments into original content by 70% year-over-year.

Keep Reading Show less
Janko Roettgers

Janko Roettgers (@jank0) is a senior reporter at Protocol, reporting on the shifting power dynamics between tech, media, and entertainment, including the impact of new technologies. Previously, Janko was Variety's first-ever technology writer in San Francisco, where he covered big tech and emerging technologies. He has reported for Gigaom, Frankfurter Rundschau, Berliner Zeitung, and ORF, among others. He has written three books on consumer cord-cutting and online music and co-edited an anthology on internet subcultures. He lives with his family in Oakland.

Sponsored Content

Great products are built on strong patents

Experts say robust intellectual property protection is essential to ensure the long-term R&D required to innovate and maintain America's technology leadership.

Every great tech product that you rely on each day, from the smartphone in your pocket to your music streaming service and navigational system in the car, shares one important thing: part of its innovative design is protected by intellectual property (IP) laws.

From 5G to artificial intelligence, IP protection offers a powerful incentive for researchers to create ground-breaking products, and governmental leaders say its protection is an essential part of maintaining US technology leadership. To quote Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo: "intellectual property protection is vital for American innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Keep Reading Show less
James Daly
James Daly has a deep knowledge of creating brand voice identity, including understanding various audiences and targeting messaging accordingly. He enjoys commissioning, editing, writing, and business development, particularly in launching new ventures and building passionate audiences. Daly has led teams large and small to multiple awards and quantifiable success through a strategy built on teamwork, passion, fact-checking, intelligence, analytics, and audience growth while meeting budget goals and production deadlines in fast-paced environments. Daly is the Editorial Director of 2030 Media and a contributor at Wired.
Fintech

Wall Street is warming up to crypto

Secure, well-regulated technology infrastructure could draw more large banks to crypto.

Technology infrastructure for crypto has begun to mature.

Illustration: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

Despite a downturn in crypto markets, more large institutional investors are seeking to invest in crypto.

One factor holding them back is a lack of infrastructure for large institutions compared to what exists in the traditional, regulated capital markets.

Keep Reading Show less
Tomio Geron

Tomio Geron ( @tomiogeron) is a San Francisco-based reporter covering fintech. He was previously a reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal, covering venture capital and startups. Before that, he worked as a staff writer at Forbes, covering social media and venture capital, and also edited the Midas List of top tech investors. He has also worked at newspapers covering crime, courts, health and other topics. He can be reached at tgeron@protocol.com or tgeron@protonmail.com.

Policy

How I decided to go all-in on a federal contract — before assignment

Amanda Renteria knew Code for America could help facilitate access to expanded child tax credits. She also knew there was no guarantee her proof of concept would convince others — but tried anyway.

Code for America CEO Amanda Renteria explained how it's helped people claim the Child Tax Credit.

Photo: Code for America

Click banner image for more How I decided series

After the American Rescue Plan Act passed in March 2021, the U.S. government expanded child tax credits to provide relief for American families during the pandemic. The legislation allowed some families to nearly double their tax benefits per child, which was especially critical for low-income families, who disproportionately bore the financial brunt of the pandemic.

Keep Reading Show less
Hirsh Chitkara

Hirsh Chitkara ( @HirshChitkara) is a reporter at Protocol focused on the intersection of politics, technology and society. Before joining Protocol, he helped write a daily newsletter at Insider that covered all things Big Tech. He's based in New York and can be reached at hchitkara@protocol.com.

Climate

This carbon capture startup wants to clean up the worst polluters

The founder and CEO of point-source carbon capture company Carbon Clean discusses what the startup has learned, the future of carbon capture technology, as well as the role of companies like his in battling the climate crisis.

Carbon Clean CEO Aniruddha Sharma told Protocol that fossil fuels are necessary, at least in the near term, to lift the living standards of those who don’t have access to cars and electricity.

Photo: Carbon Clean

Carbon capture and storage has taken on increasing importance as companies with stubborn emissions look for new ways to meet their net zero goals. For hard-to-abate industries like cement and steel production, it’s one of the few options that exist to help them get there.

Yet it’s proven incredibly challenging to scale the technology, which captures carbon pollution at the source. U.K.-based company Carbon Clean is leading the charge to bring down costs. This year, it raised a $150 million series C round, which the startup said is the largest-ever funding round for a point-source carbon capture company.

Keep Reading Show less
Michelle Ma

Michelle Ma (@himichellema) is a reporter at Protocol covering climate. Previously, she was a news editor of live journalism and special coverage for The Wall Street Journal. Prior to that, she worked as a staff writer at Wirecutter. She can be reached at mma@protocol.com.

Latest Stories
Bulletins