How to run a sourcing jam and diversify your talent pipeline

Since joining Brandwatch I’ve run two sourcing jams that have generated 400+ candidates from underrepresented backgrounds

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At Brandwatch one of our top priorities is increasing representation of underrepresented identities in our team. These groups include folks with disabilities, folks who are BIPOC, folks from the LGBT+ community and even older folks who may be switching careers or returning from a break.

One of the biggest challenges we face in achieving this goal is that whenever we open roles, we tend to find the majority of applicants representing our existing status quo: they tend to be cis-gender, white and male. This means if we are to succeed in increasing representation we need to build a pipeline that includes the exact kind of folks we are looking for.

Enter the sourcing jam.

Sourcing Jams are nothing new — a number of folks in tech and beyond have found them to be an effective way to bring your community of employees together to focus on finding talent from underrepresented backgrounds.

Here are some exciting stats: our first sourcing jam generated 200+ leads of which 88 were relevant for recruiters to pursue. That’s 88 more people from underrepresented backgrounds who may not have applied to the open roles if we didn’t seek them out.

I would urge you to consider making sourcing jams a part of your diversity recruitment plans — here are some pointers to get you started.

  1. Define your success metrics
@isaacmsmith

We decided to aim for this goal: at least 50% of candidates in final round interviews would come from an underrepresented background. We knew it would be tough to identify candidates at first sight, but hoped that as the recruitment process advanced, both hiring managers and recruiters would be able to gauge if the candidate came from an identity group that’s currently underrepresented in our team.

2. Pick your roles & aim for the most influential.

@august-de-richelieu

We decided to focus on two senior roles for our first ever jam, two Global Director positions. We felt that bringing underrepresented people into these roles would help us do the work of continuing to shift our culture to a more inclusive and equitable one.

3. Let the hiring managers share insight into what the roles does.

@bramnaus

We invite our hiring managers to kick off the sourcing jam by helping us understand how this hire will influence the business. They also have a chance to share insight into the types of experience and qualities that would help someone excel in this position.

4. Make it fun.

@cwmonty

As we are working remotely from home, we were limited to hosting this event on Zoom. I felt strongly this should be an event to look forward to, not a chore. I got budget approved so anyone who attended could order lunch or refreshments to enjoy (because we’d likely offer them to folks if we were IRL). When we got to the part where we were adding LinkedIn profiles to a form, I played afrobeats in the background to create a vibe.

5. Keep it simple & make the purpose clear.

Photo by Kelly Lacy from Pexels

My first step in announcing our first ever jam was to confirm the agenda and speakers. I picked a time that worked for the hiring manager, the recruiters and most folks across different time zones. Then I created a short Loom video to share on Slack explaining why we were running a jam and why it mattered.

Next, I created a calendar invite with the agenda and a reminder that folks could expense lunch if they joined. I emailed that reminder to the whole company. At the jam itself we asked folks to share the public LinkedIn profiles of potential candidates in a simple form we created which only recruiters and hiring managers had access to.

We continue to track the outcomes of candidates sourced from the jams, and will be measuring who makes it to final stage interviews and of course offer stage. I hope this helps you launch jams of your own — feel free to reach out with questions!

VP Global Community & Belonging at Brandwatch. Author of careers book #DreamBigHustleHard Host #Techish