In the past year, we saw a string of companies release diversity reports that exposed the numbers behind the underrepresentation of women and minorities in tech roles. Along with those reports came commitments to do better.
Entelo is a platform that businesses can use to search for job candidates that has been adopted by familiar tech companies, from Microsoft to fast-scaling companies like Lyft.
The company introduced a diversity tool last year that allows companies to find qualified women and minorities as they hire. So far, it’s being used by dozens of companies, including Yelp and several Fortune 500 brands.
Using big data, the platform has an algorithm that helps companies match with candidates who have social profiles that indicate they meet gender, race or military requirements. It draws on information already publicly available, such as self-reported data on a social network like gender or affinity group memberships.
Tech’s diversity problem stems from many sources. As we’ve seen from high profile lawsuits, workplace culture at many companies does not foster diversity in the field. There’s also a pipeline problem in which women and minorities do not study STEM subjects like computer science as frequently as white men.
But Entelo wants to fix the matching problem in hiring by making it easier for tech companies to find diverse candidates.
“You always want to hire the best person for the job,” said Entelo CEO Jon Bischke. “To find that person, you should be hiring from a diverse pool.”
Bischke said Entelo’s tool is about helping you expand that pool. He said often when early startups are hiring, they don’t think about building diverse teams.
“Companies get started through networks,” he explained. “Odds are the early engineers in a company are going to look a lot like the founders.”
Bischke believes diversity in tech could improve if companies look outside that network early. The earlier companies start thinking about diversity, the more diverse they will be as they scale, he said.
“Too many companies wait until they hire 40, 50, 60 engineers to think about diversity,” he said. “By that point it might be really difficult to convince a woman to join the team.”
Bischke said Google’s decision to release a diversity report last year changed how tech companies view diversity. Now he says there is pressure for the companies who released reports to show the numbers are improving.
“If those numbers get worse, there’s going to be a lot of head scratching,” he said. “It’s raised the ante.”
Bischke said Entelo saw a demand for a diversity tool from its customers. Entelo itself is expanding quickly, now serving more than 200 companies.
Entelo recently brought on a new vice president of sales, Sam East. East said hiring diverse candidates comes up frequently in meetings with diverse customers.
“It’s coming up again and again,” he said. “Almost every sales conversation is focusing on diversity as aspect on our platform.”
Entelo is also a tech startup itself, and Bischke said the company has tried to be conscious of hiring diverse tech employees. Of the ten members of its tech team, there are three to four women.
For Bischke, bringing this tool to the marketplace is also personal.
“I have a 2-year-old daughter at home,” he said. “I want her to grow up in a world where she could do anything.”