To Recruit Diverse Job Candidates, Look Locally

By Cecile Bonini, associate director of human resources, and Karina Delgado-Carrasco, residency program manager

On February 22, 2021, the university shared The Ideal Dashboard—a dashboard of demographic data of our faculty, students and staff which is part of The University’s IDEAL—Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Access in a Learning Environment—Long-Range Vision. We found there to be a disconnect between our staff demographics and that of the communities of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, the counties in which we conduct most of our operations. The IDEAL data around the Hispanic/Latinx Community in the SOM was particularly surprising. Latinx/Hispanic staff comprise only 9% of SOM staff though they represent 25% and 24% of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties respectively.

As Latinas, daughters of immigrants, a first-generation college graduate, and women in medicine who were born and raised in the Stanford community, we reflected on how we both started careers at Stanford, what motivated us to apply, and what inspired us to grow our careers here. At that point, we knew we needed to do targeted outreach and connect with students that may not otherwise have an opportunity to network with Stanford staff. As the largest department in the SOM, we also knew that if we developed a strategic approach to address the discrepancy in our recruitment efforts that was contributing to this disconnect, we’d have the ability to move the needle.

Cecile Bonini, associate director of human resources

Karina Delgado-Carrasco, residency program manager

With spring and the graduations that accompany the season quickly approaching, we looked at our local universities as an opportunity to connect with prospective employees who more closely represented the demographics of our neighboring communities. The Cal State University (CSU) system is generally far more representative of the ethnic makeup of its communities. CSUs provide more than half of all undergraduate degrees earned by California’s Latinx, African American and Native American students combined, and nearly one-third of CSU students are also the first in their families to attend college. With a student body of 28% Hispanic/Latinx, 3% Black or African American we found San Jose State University, which is in the CSU system, to be representative of our surrounding area. Similarly, Cal State East Bay, another CSU with a student body of 23% Latinx/Hispanic and 11% Black or African American, proved to be a potential source of local talent. Our goal is to continue to build and develop relationships with potential candidates at universities and organizations that reflect the people we serve.

By February 25, 2021, we had registered for four Virtual Career Fairs. To reach the talent driven by our tripartite mission—research, education and patient care—we were very intentional about career fairs that targeted candidates with the desire to work in the social impact and health and human services fields. We knew that upon graduation, two-thirds of San Jose State students plan to live and work in the Silicon Valley, so we were hoping to attract a pool of candidates that were eager to work in the nonprofit sector who were also familiar with and eager to remain in the Silicon Valley despite the cost of living.

In April and May, we met with over 80 mission-driven candidates, most of whom were women, who met the minimum qualifications for over 10 entry point jobs frequently used in our department. Throughout these meetings we reminded candidates to speak to their experience and skills along with their academic or professional accolades.

We urge you as managers and leaders in your work group to:

1 Design

Design a recruitment strategy

2 Select

Select a diverse hiring committee and educate the committee on methods of assessing potential candidates during interviews, for example, validating any paid work and the relevant skills that experience brings to the role

3 Include

Include at least one diversity-related question during the interview

In the meantime, our next Virtual Career Fair is a “Diversity Career Fair” at San Jose State scheduled for October 7, 2021. Please let us know if you have a vacancy that you would like us to feature to potential candidates!