Tech talent startup to host August virtual career fair
Shtudy strengthens opportunities for professionals of color, connects employers with diverse candidates
Shtudy, a Manchester-based startup that connects high-tech employers to candidates of color, is hosting a virtual career fair on Wednesday, Aug. 25 with employers and professionals in New Hampshire and across the country.
Founded by University of New Hampshire grads Geno Miller and Rayvoughn Millings, Shtudy has completed buildout of its full platform, which screens, trains and connects tech talent of color to companies looking to increase workforce diversity and inclusion.
(By the end of the year, in partnership with the National Society of Black Engineers, the company expects to launch free online courses that allow tech professionals to become certified in a variety of software and coding languages.)
Miller told NH Business Review the first 100 candidates to signup for the virtual fair will be assigned 10-minute scheduled interviews with their top companies on the day of the fair.
Employers include Denver-based enterprise software company JumpCloud; Boulder, Colo.-based global investment platform Techstars; New York-based digital marketing privacy software company Sourcepoint; Washington-based remote patient monitoring company Optimize.Health; and potentially a NBA team, fortune 50 companies and several New Hampshire employers yet to be named.
Miller notes employers will be offering a mix of remote and in-person positions, with remote work common in the tech field.
“We have some really cool sponsors who are going to be at the fair, with amazing culture and who prioritize healthy workplaces,” said Miller. “We encourage all candidates to take this opportunity because these are employees that appreciate them and want them there too.”
The career fair is open to professionals of color who are active or passive job seekers.
Miller recommends professionals come prepared with specific questions for companies and their respective industries. Candidates should also polish their LinkedIn, Shtudy and other online profiles, and resume, of course. And, as is the case with networking, candidates should be prepared to stay in touch with company representatives after the virtual fair and ask follow-up questions.
A holistic DEI plan
Miller, who interviewed Silicon Valley executives when first forming Shtudy a few years ago, has seen that employers are aware of the benefits of attracting a diverse workforce – where they could use some fine-tuning is learning where to find diverse talent and how to retain them.
“What’s really sticking out to us is helping these employers grasp that diversity recruiting is a holistic approach and not just simply sourcing candidates and hiring ‘x’ amount of people,” said Miller. “We want to make sure there’s a diversity hiring plan in place,” which establishes clear steps across departments to ensure the company is ready with resources for the candidate, he said.
“The first thing I highly recommend is making sure there is some level or a similar aspect to an employee resource group in place, where candidates coming from different communities have a place to feel like they’re supported,” said Miller. Establishing and promoting existing employee resource groups effectively often ties in with general employee engagement strategies. And that can also mean ensuring and encouraging mentorship opportunities between professionals who can relate to one another – including making introductions between employees and job candidates in the hiring process.
“Whether it be for people of color, whether it be women – having a mentor, someone who identifies with a lot of the same experiences as that specific individual who is considering the new job opportunity, the ability to speak to that person goes a very long way,” said Miller. “During that interview process, we advise candidates to get in touch with someone in the organization (who is) similar to them.”
He provided the example of a black woman who interviewed for a company in Boston. A crucial deciding factor for her was speaking with another black woman who worked as an engineer at the company and learning about her experience.
“It’s not another white person or white man telling her it’s a great place to work, she can consider that feedback to a standpoint she can trust,” said Miller, who explained by offering that introduction it boosts employee retention by making candidates of color feel more comfortable at the company, since they’ve already taken that first step toward developing a relationship with a colleague and/or mentor.
Adopting a holistic approach takes time, but Miller said his team is “very optimistic of how the New England area is approaching the situation.”
“We have lot of companies that are continuing to reach out to us and asking to hire diverse candidates,” he said.