How M-AAA is Diversifying their Workforce by Standardizing their Hiring Process with Datapeople

Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) is a nonprofit regional arts organization that strengthens and supports artists, cultural organizations, and communities in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, and beyond.

Datapeople is helping M-AAA build a more diverse workforce, develop a consistent – and subsequently more fair and efficient – hiring process, and save valuable time for its lean HR team. It all begins with implementing standards throughout the hiring process and harnessing data to guide future improvements.

M-AAA’s challenges

According to M-AAA’s Director of HR, Angie Sevart, improving diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) became a strategic priority for the organization in 2020 after events such as George Floyd’s murder and the COVID-19 pandemic underscored social injustice in the US.

At the suggestion of their DEIA consultant, M-AAA decided to audit their job posts and hiring practices to ensure they were fair and inclusive. In doing so, M-AAA found that inconsistency in the hiring process, including their job posts, was leading to inefficiencies and unintentional inequities.         

Workforce lacking the diversity of its community

Like many professionals in the arts, M-AAA’s employees were historically mostly “white and female.” But as a nonprofit charged with stewarding funds responsibly, M-AAA needed its workforce to better represent its constituents “to make sure we don’t serve one specific group over another,” says Angie. “We needed to make sure that the grant and mentorship recipients accurately represented [the artists and nonprofit leaders] residing in our region.”   

Inconsistent job descriptions as job ads

As a nonprofit organization with finite resources, M-AAA needed to be strategic to consistently attract qualified, diverse candidate pools. They had to make their job posts attractive, concise, and clear, and their practice of using job descriptions as job ads didn’t give them the desired results.

Job descriptions (i.e., detailed internal HR and legal documents) aren’t great job posts – marketing documents intended to draw applicants in. But the problem was exacerbated by M-AAA’s job descriptions being inconsistent, which meant inconsistent candidate volume and quality across requisitions.  

“Our job descriptions were all in a Word document, and there wasn’t a template. Before Datapeople, we just grabbed pieces here and there and combined them into a job description,” Angie recalls.

Internal misalignment hindering clarity 

During the pandemic, M-AAA transitioned to having a largely distributed workforce. Explains Angie, “Almost all of our workforce can be remote now. Before COVID, 100 percent of our employees lived in Kansas City, and now it’s probably getting really close to 50/50.”

Going remote brought many advantages – but also its share of challenges. One notable obstacle was that remote work made it harder to standardize recruiting efforts among different hiring managers now spread across the country. And this geographic dispersion added complexity to consistently finding qualified, diverse talent. 

Misalignment often showed up as confusing, contradictory, or exclusionary qualifications in M-AAA’s job posts, which were long and unnecessarily filled with requirements such as vague soft skills (which can deter qualified candidates from applying and are better assessed during interviews) and physical stipulations (e.g., “the ability to lift 50 lbs”) for roles that didn’t warrant them.

Datapeople’s solutions

Datapeople enables M-AAA to not only make their job ads more inclusive but more consistent and performant through standardization and stakeholder alignment.

Establishing consistency with job post templates 

In their pursuit of standardization, M-AAA found a solution in Datapeople’s job post templates, which offer an accessible and scalable vehicle toward inclusivity, consistency, and effectiveness.

With Datapeople, M-AAA built and saved templates to drive uniformity across their various hiring managers and open roles. This way, they quickly established a consistent structure for every single job post aligned with their employer brand that includes all of their standard company content (e.g., benefits, a diversity statement) and desired language.

While Datapeople allows users to write jobs from scratch, M-AAA overwhelmingly uses their pre-built templates. Angie estimates that “95 percent” of their job posts leverage “offered templates,” saving them countless hours and securing alignment early on in the hiring process.

Optimizing job posts to attract diverse, qualified candidate pools

It’s important for M-AAA that their published job posts are “in the green,” by which Angie means perfectly optimized according to Datapeople’s scientific scoring system. A score of 85 or higher (out of 100) indicates an inclusive and effective job ad – and turns green. 

Jobs that score 85+ in Datapeople are proven to attract more qualified and diverse candidate pools, a benefit that M-AAA has realized time and again by committing to this target.

“I feel like I’m not winning if it’s not in the green. If I’m not in the green, then I don’t move forward with [publishing the job] until I figure it out,” says Angie. (Don’t worry – Datapeople’s in-app guidance suggests exactly what to add, delete, or change in order to improve your score.) 

Datapeople’s predictive performance score is based on our analysis of over 65 million job posts and thousands of hiring outcomes. By gamifying the job writing process, the Datapeople platform helps ensure no listing goes live before it’s complete, clear, and calibrated with the market.

Datapeople also flags eight potential biases in job posts, including racism, sexism, and ableism.

“Datapeople helps us be mindful of our wording,” Angie says. “I like that it makes you think about the words that you’re using and how those words can be interpreted.”  

Embracing transparency to power better hiring outcomes

Even though pay transparency is mandatory in just a handful of states, M-AAA realized that by publishing salary ranges in all of their job posts, they could attract more qualified candidates.

But it’s not just pay transparency that Datapeople helps enforce. By demonstrating that clarity delivers better results, the Datapeople platform encourages hiring team members to embrace its data-backed suggestions and enables better collaboration among all those involved. This internal alignment results in greater transparency and expectation management for job seekers, which improves hiring outcomes.

Since implementing the Datapeople platform, in addition to salary information, “every job description is very consistent on the title, who supervises you, whom you supervise, and where the location is,” explains Angie. “It’s just helped us to be more transparent in all of our job postings.” 

She expands: “It’s definitely more clear, especially for the hiring managers because they now understand the [job creation] process from the beginning to the end. They understand why certain decisions are made.”

Distinctive customer service and ease of use

Just because technology offers a great solution to a problem doesn’t guarantee customers will use it. Sometimes, software can be so complicated that users give up before they even get started. But according to Angie, the Datapeople platform is different. 

The minimal learning curve encourages users to adopt it from day one. “With Datapeople, I don’t have to watch 20 videos and [then ask], what did that video just tell me to do? It’s pretty intuitive to use,” says Angie. 

On top of its user-friendly UI, Datapeople’s impeccable customer service helps M-AAA quickly resolve any challenges they do encounter. “I think customer service is super important,” Angie notes. “Datapeople has always proactively reached out to me any time I’ve had a question or concern.”

The results

Using Datapeople, M-AAA has delivered on their strategic plan to improve DEIA among their employee population – while simultaneously optimizing candidate quality and hiring efficiency.

A more diverse workforce 

Datapeople has played a key part in increasing M-AAA’s workplace diversity by optimizing the hiring process, starting with job post creation. 

“It’s really helped us look at [DEIA] all the way around to see how we can improve it and how we can make our job descriptions more inclusive,” Angie says. “I can say that we have hired a more diverse pool of people, which means that we’re getting diverse applicants.” 

More qualified applicants

Since adopting Datapeople, M-AAA has gone from receiving 50-60 applications per opening to 200-300 for similar roles – a staggering 400-500% increase! While M-AAA’s new remote opportunities are no doubt contributing, Angie believes that Datapeople is the major reason for the meaningful increase in qualified applicants. 

“When you spell out the exact qualifications you need for the job, you get a more qualified [talent] pool,” Angie says. “When I hired a candidate for a tech job, we received so many candidates with similar qualifications that I think every single one of them could do the job.”

Increased efficiency and time saved 

The Datapeople platform offers a range of integration options, but Angie has wholeheartedly embraced Datapeople Anywhere, a browser overlay that brings the Datapeople experience directly into her (and any) ATS. Says Angie, “It saves time without having to copy-paste everything. And everyone’s trying to find more time. So I think it’s a massive benefit.”

Simplifying recruiting workflows is one of many ways Datapeople helps customers save time. Instantly putting job and labor market intelligence right at users’ fingertips is another. 

Angie has particularly gravitated to Datapeople’s “Similar Jobs” feature, which automatically displays external (and, when available, internal) jobs that are similar to the one you’re writing based on your company and job’s skills, requirements, and location. This accessible market intelligence helps M-AAA improve their job posts and successfully compete in the market.

“It’s just good to have a checkpoint like that,” says Angie, who specifically uses Similar Jobs to gauge whether M-AAA’s salary ranges are in line with the market. “And again, it’s great that it’s just in Datapeople. So I don’t have to go to a separate website and go to a separate resource and then try to Google what I need.”

She continues, “So I think that’s extremely helpful. Again, it saves time.”

Finally, M-AAA’s consistently clear and thoughtfully crafted job posts make the end-to-end recruiting process more efficient for everyone involved – Angie, her hiring manager partners, and job seekers – by attracting qualified applicants and deterring those who are unqualified at the very start. Standardized, optimized jobs that accurately reflect internal decisions are a win-win for M-AAA and their candidates. 

A candidate isn’t surprised when you start interviewing them because there’s an alignment of expectations right from the get-go, from the job posting,” says Angie. 

Try Datapeople

Want to see for yourself how easy it is to consistently write job posts that attract more diverse and qualified candidate pools – and make your entire hiring process more fair and efficient? Schedule a demo of the Datapeople platform and we’ll show you around.

About Angie

Angelette Sevart is the Director of HR at Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA). Formerly, she was the Operations Manager at the same nonprofit organization. She and one more colleague have been leading the hiring and recruiting process across the States.

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