If your solar company is like many in the U.S., finding the right candidates to fill job openings can sometimes be a challenge. In fact, according to the Solar Training Network 84% of installers have difficulty finding qualified applicants, with 26% finding it “very difficult.”But what if you could connect with solar job candidates that you might not otherwise reach, more easily compare candidates, and help increase diversity at your company at the same time? The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) recently joined forces with the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Community Development Action Coalition (HBCU CDAC) to highlight a solar hiring tool that can do just that!
The HBCU Talent Exchange, developed by the HBCU CDAC–which SEIA began partnering with in 2018–is a cutting edge tool that helps employers quickly connect with qualified solar job candidates while reducing hiring bias.
The HBCU CDAC is a national nonprofit founded in 2010 as a resource for historically black colleges and minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and the community economic development industry to leverage their resources and strengthen their surrounding communities. Some of its objectives include creating economic opportunity, building healthy and sustainable communities, and increasing participation in STEM fields by historically underrepresented individuals.
In 2018, SEIA launched a partnership with the HBCU CDAC with the goal of creating opportunities to increase participation of HBCU students in the solar industry workforce by exploring opportunities to connect qualified students with open solar jobs at SEIA member companies.
In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day this week, SEIA released a video (linked below) showcasing the solar hiring tool and how solar companies can benefit from it.
About the HBCU Talent Exchange
As SEIA explains, they see the HBCU Talent Exchange “as one way we can help our member companies address hiring challenges, while simultaneously reducing hiring bias and mismatches between job seekers and companies. The Talent Exchange moves beyond resume and job description searches to share more accurate information that helps both employers and job seekers make more informed hiring decisions.”
Unlike traditional hiring tools and solar job boards, the Talent Exchange is survey-based rather than resume based, using a proprietary matching software that’s designed to better assess what positions a candidate is a good fit for—and connect candidates and organizations that might not otherwise have found each other.
Companies with job openings answer a variety of questions about their needs and preferences for the position, and candidates answer questions about their skills, interests, and workplace. Candidates are ranked based on their fit for different roles and companies, and the system generates customized reports for employers and candidates that help show areas of alignment and potential misalignment. Additionally, with standardized views of candidate qualifications—and notifications of top matches—employers can more easily compare candidates and make better decisions, faster.
The system also helps ensure qualified candidates are aware of and considered for relevant positions because candidates are invited to apply for new openings relevant to their interests, and the system evaluates the fit of each applicant for every job within a category (for instance, if there are two similar jobs at the same company, the candidate will be considered for both without having to reapply). It can also mask information prone to bias. Jobs posted in the system are automatically posted to 5000 other no-cost local, regional and national job sites.
To learn more, SEIA and HBCU CDAC’s video below provides an overview of the system and how to post a job (see ~16:20 for a demonstration of the system). To post a job on the HBCU Talent exchange, you can visit its webpage, and select “Post a Job” to create an account.
If you’re looking for a new avenue to connect with qualified candidates, this is an opportunity to efficiently fill solar job openings while also reducing hiring bias and potentially increase diversity in your company. As we highlighted in a past blog post, a diverse workforce has been shown to bring many benefits to companies. The first-ever study of diversity in the solar sector (by The Solar Foundation in 2017) found plenty of room for improving racial and gender diversity in the solar workforce; this tool could be a helpful step in that direction.