Campus recruiting is a staple of hiring for tech companies, but the process feeds into the lack of diversity already plaguing the industry.
Elite colleges have their own diversity problems. And when companies only recruit from elite schools the lack of diversity is magnified.
That’s what LinkedIn found when the professional network ditched campus recruiting in favor of regional recruitment events not limited to students at four-year colleges.
“Our goal is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. When I looked at the process of traditional college recruiting, it wasn’t necessarily in line with our company’s vision to do just that,” Tey Scott, LinkedIn’s talent acquisition executive behind the change in strategy, told Mashable.
In 2016, LinkedIn only attended five traditional campus recruitment events, compared to 30 the prior year. The move upped LinkedIn’s hiring of people with underrepresented backgrounds in its non-technical teams by 23 percent.
The regional events that replaced college recruiting generally bring together students from a variety of schools including online degree programs, historically black colleges and universities and junior colleges. A recent recruitment event in Atlanta included candidates from 15 schools.
When LinkedIn does go to campuses now, it tries to arrange events with student groups rather than career centers.
On the technical side, the program is too new to report any measurable changes in hiring, a LinkedIn spokeswoman said.
And the strategy hasn’t yet come close to solving LinkedIn’s diversity problem. According to the company’s 2016 diversity report, 3 percent of its employees are black and 5 percent are Latino. Those numbers are comparable to other tech companies like Facebook, where 2 percent of employees were black and 4 percent were Latino according to a 2016 diversity report.
College recruitment is mostly for internships, but many of those interns do end up in full-time jobs.
“It’s helping us attract a totally different demographic than we were before,” Scott said.