Beyond LinkedIn and Indeed: The Case for Expanding Your Search to Attract More Diverse Candidates

By: Simone Crawley*

Leading the recruitment process for any company is daunting work and a great responsibility. New employees have a significant impact on company culture and outcomes, for better or worse. These four tips will support recruiters and hiring managers in discovering more diverse talent:

  1. As is the case for all professionals, recruiters and hiring managers are susceptible to their own implicit biases. These are particularly impactful as they exist outside of the subconscious. Holding negative perceptions or assumptions based on class, racial identity, nationality, age, or other cultural identities is one of the biggest threats to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Prioritizing ongoing implicit bias training or taking an Implicit Association Test (IAT) from Project Implicit is a critically important step in improving diverse recruitment. The IAT offers a window into subconscious associations that may influence decision-making.
  2. There is a natural tendency to lean into “sameness” as a method of predicting company fit. The rationale is that candidates with similar lifestyles, political affiliations, or other commonalities as their potential colleagues come with a higher likelihood of retention. This hiring practice surfaces during the interview process and results in the very overrepresentation that DEI is meant to reduce. Challenge the attitude that colleagues must want to become “like a family” or be entirely like-minded to find success in their work.
  3. One of the most important factors in the process of filling open positions is to do so as quickly as possible. The financial and cultural impact of not being fully staffed cannot be overstated. Commitment to DEI requires resisting the urge to speed through the process so that alternative methods of recruitment (reviewed below) can be seen through to fruition. These methods may initially feel as if they are slowing down the process.
  4. A common mistake companies make is to rely too heavily on certain platforms during the recruitment process. Two of the most common (and popular) are LinkedIn and Indeed. While both provide access to large numbers of job seekers and other key factors, they also have downsides that directly impact DEI objectives.


Indeed and Resume Bias

Ethnocentrism is the concept of seeing your culture (language, location, religion, etc.) as the norm and perceiving all others as “abnormal.” Whether these differences are seen as negative or positive is subjective.

Job postings on sites such as Indeed can garner applicants from diverse backgrounds given the size of their talent pool and their popularity. However, the review of applicants is heavily reliant on examining resumes. Name bias speaks to the negative judgments and assumptions made (immediately and without consideration of other factors) about job applicants with names deemed difficult to pronounce or atypical. This form of bias is widely responsible for the rejection of qualified candidates from underrepresented nationalities, religions, racial/ethnic groups, and gender identities before they have a chance to interview.

Drawbacks of LinkedIn

LinkedIn has evolved significantly over the years from a quiet platform for resume sharing to a social media channel to share frustrations, concerns, and trends across all industries. This is especially true for employees and job seekers of color who can compare experiences and push for accountability among companies with toxic cultures. The ongoing, robust conversation on how to best implement DEI takes center stage on the platform as well.

LinkedIn (like virtually every social media platform these days) struggles to provide equitable representation and access for underrepresented employees and candidates. Frustration around censorship has been expressed by users and led to a shift in how these groups utilize the platform.

To introduce DEI considerations in recruitment, the platform launched “Diversity Nudges” in August 2022. The feature is designed to encourage an expansion of search criteria when there appears to be bias toward candidates of a particular gender identity. It is still too soon to measure the true impact of this addition, but the focus is solely on addressing gender equity for now.

Casting A Wider Net

There is no perfect method of seeking out diverse talent, but there are some important cultural considerations that help inform the process. This centers on seeking out platforms and networks outside of the more popular or traditional methods. Despite their numbers, not everyone utilizes LinkedIn or Indeed. It is also a mistake to assume that those platforms house the most diverse candidates from “preferred” schools or with sought-after experience.

Marginalization, discrimination, and other barriers to job placement have led candidates with underrepresented identities to seek out spaces that understand their unique challenges. Smaller, more concentrated platforms also provide increased visibility and a higher likelihood of connecting with companies. They bridge the gap between candidates and industries in a targeted and specific manner that sets them apart from the larger options.

Consider connecting with these networks, organizations, and platforms that are specially designed to support underrepresented candidates:

It may also be beneficial to seek out partnerships with local trade schools and community colleges.

In Summary

Achieving a diversified staff is no easy feat, but willingness to address bias in the recruitment process will significantly improve candidate pools. This should be an ongoing practice of examining and challenging preconceived notions that impact the selection process.

Seek out platforms that have prioritized underrepresented identities and built safe spaces for these candidates to shine. Relying solely on platforms such as LinkedIn or Indeed leads to pitfalls and missed opportunities to bring invaluable talent on board. 




*Simone Crawley heads Crawley Cultural Consulting (CCC), a firm working with the IAA to provide diversity resources for its Career Center. CCC specializes in the implementation of diversity, equity, inclusion, cultural competence, and antiracism practices for business clients from a wide range of industries. Find more information on CCC at