Cracking the code for hiring diversity in tech

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5 mins, 37 secs read time

How do you build a sustainable hiring process that brings in technical talent from underrepresented groups? Greenhouse recently teamed up with Codility for Building a future-proof and diverse engineering team. In this virtual event, Manjuri Sinha, Global Head of Talent Acquisition at OLX Group, Kristina Nieves, VP of Professional Services at Greenhouse, and Enna Jimenez, Head of Quality Assurance at Idemia, weighed in on this important topic.

Read on for some of their insights to help you build out your inclusive hiring process and bring in great talent.

How the shift to remote work has affected workplace DE&I practices

The shift to remote work doesn’t automatically make the workplace more inclusive. In fact, microaggressions are just as common in a remote setting. Plus, working women – who are much more likely to be caretakers for children and other relatives – have been leaving the workforce at four times the rate of men.

But it’s not all bad news. Kristina says, “Removing geographical barriers allows you to source from more locations, so your talent pool can grow.” When you’re open to distributed workers, you’re no longer limited to hiring in specific geographic hubs.

Be aware that promoting inclusion in a remote setting takes some extra effort. For example, to recreate those random hallway encounters that used to happen pre-pandemic, Enna makes a point to reach out to people periodically via Teams for short, casual conversations. Around the holidays, her team members had the chance to opt in to a gift exchange and unbox their gifts together on a video call.

The remote setting doesn’t mean you have to shy away from difficult topics, either. Kristina says Greenhouse has been intentional about creating a consistent and inclusive workplace culture since going remote. One approach that has worked well is offering a series called “Virtual Realities.” These are thoughtful conversations about pressing topics like race and social injustices. The sessions are offered at several times to make them accessible to employees across all timezones.

After setting the stage with their discussion about remote work, the experts provide insights on how to ensure your hiring process is bringing diverse talent onto your tech and engineering teams.

Tips for promoting DE&I on tech teams: Start by creating a culture rooted in inclusivity

All panelists agree that one of the most important things you can do before diving straight into diversity hiring initiatives is ensure that your engineering team is fostering inclusion. Diversity hiring efforts will not be successful if your workplace environment doesn’t support a sense of belonging. You may be able to bring people in, but they will not stay if they do not feel valued and invested in. Here are a few tips from the panelists for creating an inclusive culture.

Use company-wide surveys

It’s important to do regular pulse-checks to find out what’s on employees’ minds and how you can best support them. Manjuri says, “We send out a regular wellbeing survey to understand the small nuances of how people are feeling. We also have open office hour sessions to ask about responsibilities to get to know what other people are going through.”

Create equitable workplace policies

As some employees return to the workplace, it’s important to create an equitable experience for everyone. Manjuri gives the example of team meetings. When you have some people in the same room and others who are calling in from home, distributed employees are automatically at a disadvantage. She recommends having all employees call in to video meetings from their individual computers to create a consistent experience for all meeting participants.

Kristina also highlights the importance of considering everyone’s individual circumstances. This is especially important when people are working from home. For example, can you create more flexible working hours to accommodate those who have caregiving or homeschooling duties?

Asking employees to turn the camera on for every meeting can quickly lead to Zoom burnout. This is why Enna recommends making video optional for most meetings. She suggests occasionally choosing a meeting where you ask everyone to turn on their video. Be sure to give your team ample warning so they have time to plan and coordinate with other members of their household if necessary.

Get creative with your sourcing and hiring practices

Want to create more inclusive hiring practices? Our panelists have plenty of tips for everything from sourcing to interviewing.

Meet underrepresented talent where they are

Don’t be afraid to proactively source underrepresented talent. Kristina says that at Greenhouse,diversity sourcing is prioritized before a role is even opened. Our talent acquisition team tries to meet underrepresented talent where they are, in groups like People of Color in Tech and the Black Professionals Tech Network. “We can start the conversation very early with candidates we might not have attracted otherwise. And we encourage our customers to do the same,” she says.

Enna is a strong believer in the power of networking. She says it’s important to attend events, be a part of your community and create buzz about your company. Enna also recommends encouraging your technical team members to speak at events as another way of building your talent pipeline.

Follow a systematic framework

Manjuri says that promoting DE&I is not just “a problem for the recruiter to solve.” It takes a coordinated and systematic effort that considers every step of the hiring process. She outlines the following four-pronged approach:

  1. When sourcing, look for ways to expand your criteria and find more diverse candidates.
  2. Consider different ways of attracting diverse candidates. This can include using augmented writing tools to ensure your job descriptions are inclusive.
  3. For technical roles, selection testing can reduce bias since it lets hiring managers focus on a candidate’s skills and not get distracted by factors like gender, race, age, etc.
  4. Consider the interviewing experience. How diverse is the interviewing panel? Do you have systems in place to limit bias in decision-making?

Keep the conversation going

Each panelist acknowledges that as a woman of color, she has often felt alone in her career. Being the only voice in the room isn’t easy. They had to advocate for themselves and proactively seek out opportunities. The challenges they faced have led them to feel passionately about DE&I because they want to continue to create a path for those who come after them. Consider their stories as a call to action: How might you encourage people from underrepresented groups to become role models and leaders at your company?

Get even more great tips from the panelists, like how to keep up your momentum and which tech and tools can help you on your DE&I journey. Tune into the on-demand webinar here.

Watch the webinar
Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno

is a freelance writer and former Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Melissa previously built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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