Tech: A Force for Good DEI


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are on the lips of Talent Acquisition professionals all over the world.

Many of those companies talk-the-talk when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion, but most do not walk-the-walk. Of course, vendors who service the recruiting industry have a heightened level of responsibility to be good corporate citizens. That's where popular ATS solution SmartRecruiters comes in. The company has committed to going above and beyond talking about diversity by actually becoming a force, beyond press releases and empty rhetoric and it all starts with an anti-racism stance to doing the work.


Enter founder and CEO Jerome Ternynck on the podcast to dig into what's going on at the company, and learn what others in the space can do to model themselves after SmartRecruiters.


Another The Chad & Cheese podcast challenging the status quo, powered by Nexxt. How are you going to target more diverse candidates for that requisition you just opened? That's a good question to ask Nexxt.



PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:

Disability Solutions is your bridge to the disability community, delivering custom solutions in outreach, recruiting, talent management and compliance.


Jerome (0s):

Well, you either enjoy the system which makes you a racist or you fight the system, which makes you anti-racist


INTRO (9s):

Hide your kids! Lock the doors! You're listening to HR’s most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheeseman are here to punch the recruiting industry, right where it hurts! Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark, buckle up boys and girls, it's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.


Joel (30s):

Oh yeah. 2020 is not so bad we've got one of our favorite guests coming back to chat with us. What's up everybody? You're listening to the Chad and Cheese podcast. I'm your co-host Joel Cheeseman joined as always by Chad Sowash. Chad, how are you?


Chad (46s):

Good man.


Joel (47s):

Welcome to the show. A past guest Jerome Ternynck founder, CEO board member, geez. How many more titles can you get?


Chad (59s):

Stud.


Joel (59s):

From Smart Recruiters, Jerome, welcome to the show. Let's go. We're talking about diversity.


Chad (1m 4s):

Ah, we're talking about anti-racism today. We're going beyond diversity. My friend, we're going into the anti racism waters and I don't, I don't think anybody else in our industry has actually used that terminology in a manifesto like Smart Recruiters has? Have you seen that? Joel?


Joel (1m 25s):

Nothing. Nobody touting it as much as these guys for sure. And no, one's sort of putting their balls out there for, for guys like us to put into the test. So big applause, big applause for that just by putting yourself out there.


Chad (1m 40s):

Yeah.


Joel (1m 40s):

So, Jerome, the last time, last time we chatted you were pimping a book. Just really curious how how's the book going and how was it received since we last spoke?


Jerome (1m 48s):

It's actually been received really well. And if I judge by the fact that I recently got a note from someone saying, Hey, Jerome, your book is in back order. I can't seem to get it on Amazon. And yeah, we've actually been selling everything that we created initiative, which is a few thousand copies and it's generally being well-received. So I'm happy about that and know that people have something else to do these days, then be at home and read a book.


Joel (2m 16s):

Yeah. Are you going to add a chapter on the Covid phenomenon and how things might have changed might change from that?


Jerome (2m 22s):

That might be a book in itself, right?


Joel (2m 24s):

Yeah. Good point.


Chad (2m 25s):

Yeah. I want to know if Jerome actually voiced the audible version because I think that would be a very tranquil.


Joel (2m 33s):

It sounded like a Jacques Cousteau, deep sea mission.


Chad (2m 36s):

Deep sea hiring.


Joel (2m 37s):

Hello everybody. We are talking about hiring success tests, how visionary CEO is compete for the best talent.


Jerome (2m 44s):

Here's an anecdote for you. I actually go down to a, a TV, a live show like this probably four or five years ago. My PR team was all excited! "Hey Jerome, on this, there's a segment. They're going to talk about unemployment. And they won't to talk to the news anchor, like to prep the show. And I get on the phone with this reporter and like literally four sentences in she says, I'm sorry, do you, do you have any one American in your team? I don't think your accent is going to make it. And she totally kicked me out of the show. Oh, anyway.


Chad (3m 21s):

Oh, that's awesome. Oh, well guess what, Jerome, this is your second time on. So we're not kicking your ass off, but that being said, we talked before about your plan to become an anti-racist force in the recruitment market. And again, that's going beyond pretty much what everybody else is saying. Everybody's talking about unbiased tech, but they're not talking really anti racism. So what's the difference between not being a racist and being anti-racist.


Jerome (3m 51s):

Like, there's no option to be like, non-discriminatory I think you either enjoy the system and which makes you a racist or you fight the system, which makes you anti-racist. And I think that applies with that applies for everything. You know, the conversation has been a lot about race and forever, but it's valid for forms of discrimination. And so we're really here. What we're saying is we're going to actually take a stand and actively fight all forms of discrimination. Obviously starting with racism in recruiting.


Chad (4m 31s):

If you're just sitting around and you're a white guy, like Joel and I are not doing anything, you're not voicing anything and you're not actively combating racism then. I mean, really you're just enjoying the racism that's happening around you. You might feel like it's wrong, but that doesn't mean that you're anti-racist? Anti-racist means you're actually standing up, you're saying something and you're doing something about it, right?


Joel (4m 55s):

Speaking up.


Jerome (4m 56s):

Yeah. You're you're speaking up and well, first I think it means you understand your privilege and it, again, it can be your privilege about being white and racism. It can also be your privilege without not being disabled. And you know what, maybe you don't even think about it that you're like, you're not disabled. Oh, that's great. Well, who cares? Right? What are you actually doing for people who are disabled? So you can extend this to any form of minorities or underprivileged, underrepresented groups. Obviously the ethnic diversity here as it is at the heart of the conversation. And as a white man, you have a lot of privilege.


Jerome (5m 38s):

I happen to have most of them, both being a man, being white, being privileged having a good job. And I personally like this is a pretty compelling reason was like, Oh, I might just going to continue to enjoy my good life or I'm going to put my privilege to work, to change life for others.


Chad (5m 56s):

So the big question is, you know,


3 (5m 59s):

When you hear cause racist is, is a very, very tough, hard smack you in the face word, right? It's uncomfortable, which is exactly what white, white dudes need right now. When it comes, when it comes down to using that kind of verbiage, do you find that it could perspective repel some people and push them away from what the good that you guys are trying to do versus bring them in?


Jerome (6m 26s):

You know, I think that goes to white silencing, right? And to the whole tone policing that goes around, this is like, Oh, let's not be too hard. These poor white people, they actually, you know, I disagree like, no, let's not turn police. And yes, as a black person or a person of color, you have the right to be angry. And as a white person, I have to listen to your anger and not ask you to tone police yourself cause it makes me uncomfortable. Yeah.


Chad (6m 59s):

Hundreds of years of people, of color being uncomfortable and that's putting it nicely to get into an uncomfortable conversation, being a white man. I think you can handle it


Joel (7m 10s):

No one's rying for us. No, one's crying for us. Jerome. So, so I'm curious from you guys kind of made some official statements and policies in your recruiting. So for the listeners that don't know what exactly is Smart Recruiters doing now to include diversity and racism at the company.


Jerome (7m 29s):

We published a plan a few months ago that we said, this is what we're going to do. And the plan has four, four key action. One is awareness. So we're going to start by making sure that all Smartians is how we call ourselves. You will have a good understanding of what white privilege and over discrimination looks like. So that, that part is easy. It's probably every, every company should do it. Second. We said, we're going to be a role model than ourselves. And so that, you know, we're not out there educating the market about wha