Newsflash: job seekers care about the diversity of your workforce. Some 76% of applicants reveal this is a key consideration when evaluating a job offer from an employer. And 32% would go so far as not applying to a company lacking diversity in its ranks.
But the benefits of a diversity hiring focus don't stop there. A McKinsey study highlights that ethnically and gender-diverse companies are also more profitable—bet we've got your attention now! Yep, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity in leadership positions are 25% more likely to boast above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.
Applicant tracking software with in-built diversity features is the best way to support your DEI initiatives. The right tool will create a fairer and more inclusive hiring process, free from the type of bias that would otherwise screen out highly-skilled candidates from minority backgrounds.
This guide explores the must-have diversity features for ATS software (hint: only the best include them all) and 15 vendor examples to start your selection process.
What are the most important diversity features in your ATS software?
Diversity encompasses inherent and acquired characteristics. Inherent diversity refers to race, age, gender, sexual orientation, health, or anything else that is naturally tied to a person. Whereas acquired diversity includes factors that happen over time, such as education, experience, location, skills, or knowledge.
Quality ATS software levels the playing field for both inherent and acquired candidate attributes. It tracks everything from the language used in job listings to the methodology used when reviewing resumes.
Here are some of the most important ATS software features that will help you build a truly diverse workforce:
Blind hiring is a key way to phase out bias from the recruiting process. Bias is entirely natural—our brains receive 11 million pieces of information each second, so we use bias as a cognitive shortcut to make sense of the data quickly. But nevertheless, it has negative implications for applicants from underrepresented groups. Overcome these by anonymising applications and resumes to give all applicants a fair chance to apply for a role they might be a great match for. Your ATS should include anonymisation features to hide basic identifiers like:
- Date of Birth
Wouldn’t it be useful if you could forecast how well a candidate could perform in the role they’re applying for? If you’ve ever had a mismatch between a candidate profile and their performance once in-seat, you may have been looking backwards rather than focusing on the future.
Take, for example, education and experience, which research highlights as being the weakest predictors of skills. Yet, these crop up commonly in job descriptions—an ad might insist that a candidate needs 2+ years of experience in the industry or holds a specific university degree.
A better option is to use predictive validity, a subtype of criterion validity often used in educational settings, psychology, and employee selection. This boils down to using an ATS with inbuilt cognitive and skills-based assessments to accurately predict how a candidate may cope with the demands of your role.
Inclusive job descriptions
How long do you think a prospective candidate spends reviewing your job ad before deciding whether or not to apply? 5 minutes? 10 minutes? Longer? All wrong. An eye-scanning study reveals that 14 seconds is the average time a candidate will spend glancing over your job posting before making a snap judgment about the position and their likelihood of selection.
This explains why it’s critical to focus on the wording of your job description to ensure it’s inclusive. Some points to consider:
- Women will only apply for your role if they meet 100% of the requirements, so go easy on the details to ensure you're not eliminating anyone with transferable skills.
- Gendered language can inadvertently signal that you think a male or female would better fit your role. Words like superior, determined, decisive, ambitious, or rockstar are typically male vocabulary, while words like caring, committed, supportive, nurturing, or empathetic might be associated more with female candidates.
- Acronyms, abbreviations, and other jargon can baffle highly skilled candidates who haven’t worked in your industry before but possess a wide array of transferable skills for the role.
- Highlighting “drug screening” as part of the recruitment process could prevent applications from qualified candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds where criminalised drug policies have disproportionately impacted them.
- Reading complexity can put off candidates, so if you’re using challenging vocabulary and convoluted sentence structures, understand that you could be turning away hoards of ideal candidates. Aim for a clear and concise description with simple language.
Ensure your ATS includes a job description tool with inbuilt gender decoding and reading burden assessor to analyse your posting before it goes live.
Hiring employees from a wide range of backgrounds relies on having a rich and diverse pool of candidates to choose from in the first place. Then ensuring that each has an equal opportunity to progress throughout all stages of the hiring process.
The best ATS systems will include reporting that allows you to track DEI progress and identify problems in your recruitment funnel.
Example: do you notice candidates drop off at a particular stage in your process? You can zoom in and look closely at the wording or framing of a question that might not appeal to candidates from underrepresented backgrounds.
Which are the top applicant tracking systems for diversity?
We’ve researched a ton of diversity recruitment software in the market to ensure your talent pipeline includes underrepresented minorities. Here are 15 picks, including some (or all) of these key DEI features.
Our application tracking software is purpose-built for unbiased recruitment. It includes anonymised applications paired with skills-based hiring assessments to ensure employers receive the crème de la crème of applicants, each bringing different backgrounds, experience, and natural talent to the table.
Our platform creates fully inclusive job descriptions by removing gendered language and reading burden with our inbuilt Job Description tool—suitable for all job titles. Automatically post your ad to a diverse selection of job boards and compare quality candidate sources to keep accessing the best channels.
At the application stage, Applied auto-removes unconscious bias triggers like name, gender and education identifiers. The software also randomises candidate answers to guarantee fairness and offers role-specific cognitive and numerical skills tests to shortlist the most impressive candidates for your vacancy.
And that’s not all—to keep your DEI efforts on track, you'll love the live data insights enabling you to jump on any issues as they arise.
Our verdict: Applied offers the most comprehensive selection of diversity features, all within a single tool, and all backed by behavioural science research.
Greenhouse offers timely nudges to remind talent teams about the importance of diversity hiring. It allows candidates to pre-record the correct pronunciation of their name and list their accepted pronouns.
Anonymous grading of take-home candidates and insights into pipeline demographics are both useful features, along with the option to share a company culture and mission statement on your dedicated careers page.
Our verdict: We’re not convinced that sending reminders to human recruiters is enough to stamp bias out of the recruitment process, but the ability to record your name pronunciation is neat.
Vervoe's approach to diversity focuses on merit-based hiring, where talent acquisition teams look forwards at potential performance rather than backwards at education or experience.
This skills-based approach occurs through online interviews and simulations where candidates are graded on skills. Recruiters then view score breakdowns by skill.
Our verdict: We love Vervoe's stance on skills-based hiring, but the platform does seem to skip other inclusive measures, such as scraping bias out of job descriptions.
Lever offers a dedicated DEI dashboard, including advanced analytics, to track and measure your diversity hiring efforts. For example, you may wish to view compensation by ethnicity, race, and gender to ensure pay equity.
However, the platform does rely heavily on integrations to power most of its diversity efforts. You might partner Lever with Alooba for unbiased skills assessments or Crosschq for bias-free reference checking.
Our verdict: You’ll likely need to integrate Lever with several other diversity recruitment tools to gain an all-embracing talent acquisition platform. In most cases, it’s easier and more cost-effective to use an all-in-one solution instead.
Pinpoint uses blind hiring during the anonymous application and resume screening stages to reduce bias. It also relies on candidate scorecards and hiring rubrics to apply a skills-based focus to recruitment.
The platform offers a multilingual careers site, with the option to deliver application forms and candidate emails in multiple languages depending on your target audience.
In terms of sourcing, use Pinpoint to post your job ads in a wide range of locations, including dedicated diversity job boards. Alternatively, an employee referral program encourages underrepresented talent to apply.
Our verdict: Pinpoint includes many useful features but lacks an inclusive job description tool or DEI reporting.
Recruitee offers fair evaluations and a Careers Hub with customised pages to display your company values. This includes multilingual translations to ensure you're speaking the language of your target candidate audience.
Our verdict: Recruitee is a robust talent acquisition platform, but compared to other tools on our list it falls short in terms of diversity features.
Fetcher is an AI-based sourcing and candidate outreach tool that blends machine learning with human insights to remove bias from the recruitment equation.
The platform offers the option to set custom diversity recruitment goals and follow up with analytics to understand if your inclusion efforts resonate with candidates from minority backgrounds.
Our verdict: Fetcher makes the most of artificial intelligence to remove unconscious biases from the sourcing process. But like many other tools on the list, it doesn’t include a gender decoding tool to highlight masculine and feminine language. As the tool focuses on sourcing rather than shortlisting, it also lacks predictive testing to pinpoint the most relevant candidates.
8. Eightfold AI
Eightfold AI uses anonymisation as a key part of its inclusive hiring approach. The platform also relies on analytics to flag potential bias in the hiring process.
Our verdict: While Eightfold will likely fill your roles quickly, you won’t necessarily be accessing the most diverse talent pool. For example, the personalised candidate experience includes skills-matching rather than skills testing and also focuses on backgrounds.
Manatal allows you to auto-screen and filter candidates based on predefined selection criteria. This allows you to pinpoint candidates with specific skill sets and ensure that only the most qualified are considered for every vacancy.
Our verdict: We like Manatal’s focus on skills rather than college degrees, but think the platform could offer more in terms of anonymisation, testing and inclusive job descriptions.
Mogul is a talent acquisition platform with in-built diversity-focused search filters. Recruiters tap into Mogul’s community and contact the most appropriate passive and active candidates directly. There’s no limit to the number of searches you can complete.
Alternatively, use their dedicated search team to find high-level talent for your role.
Our verdict: Mogul’s talent acquisition platform relies on its existing Mogul community of active and passive candidates, ruling out any minority applicants who aren’t registered.
SeekOut helps companies discover talent from underrepresented groups to expand hiring funnels with a wider selection of candidates. You can also track representation across your talent pool and apply diversity filters to source qualified talent to join your team.
Our verdict: SeekOut is a reactive tool for monitoring your diversity efforts. As such, it doesn't take a proactive stance towards attracting minority candidates and treating their applications fairly.
Yello partners with WayUp, a candidate database of over 6 million job seekers, to create a campus recruiting solution. Crucially, the talent pool is made up of 71% Black, Hispanic or female candidates, and also includes tens of thousands of veterans. .
Our verdict: Although Yello and WayUp include a high proportion of ethnic and gender diverse candidates in their pool, the fact that this is a campus-based strategy immediately discludes anyone who hasn’t attended higher education.
iCIMS removes personal identifiers like names, ages, and addresses from candidate resumes to give people a fairer chance of receiving a job offer. It also uses AI to match job seekers with best-fit roles based on criteria such as qualifications.
Our verdict: We’re absolutely behind using anonymisation in the recruitment process, but reviewing people based on their qualifications can prevent highly-skilled people without the right education from progressing through your hiring funnel.
Circa's recruitment software tool analyses job descriptions to eliminate bias before publishing your ad. As a sourcing bonus, it offers outreach to 169 million potential candidates (including 13 million veterans), made up of 40% active and 60% passive candidates.
Candidate screening is blind— identifiers such as ethnicity, gender, education, and age are removed, so you'll take a skills-based approach to hiring.
Our verdict: Circa ticks many boxes and is a great way to amplify your candidate outreach to diverse audiences. However, the platform could benefit from skills-based cognitive and numerical testing, which is essential in predicting future performance.
Gem uses analytics to automatically track peoples' gender, race, and ethnicity throughout the hiring funnel and continuously aims to add strength in depth to your talent pool.
Our verdict: This is another reactive tool that will allow you to course-correct your diversity hiring strategies. It lacks proactive features like anonymisation, skills testing, and inclusive job descriptions to keep attracting the right talent to apply.
Strengthen your workforce with the best applicant tracking software for diversity hiring
If you’re not already hiring for diversity, you should probably change that. Pronto.
Long story short, there are numerous diversity recruiting solutions that aim to deliver a fair sourcing, screening, and testing process to support your ongoing DEI initiatives.
While the selection of tools is overwhelming, we would always recommend you use an all-in-one ATS like Applied that is inclusive throughout every stage of the hiring process to deliver enviable results like these:
- Up to 4x increase in the ethnic diversity of candidates
- 3x as many suitable candidates
- 93% retention rate after 12 months
- 9/10 candidate experience rating
- 66% reduction in time to hire.
Applied’s all-in-one applicant tracking system is equipped with in-built diversity features proven to stamp out bias and reliably predict future performance.
Kickstart your diversity hiring strategy today: book a demo.