Unpacking MongoDB’s approach to DE&I: Insights from AfroTech

Two people of color speaking in meeting

2 mins, 47 secs read time

What do a delicious cookout and a convention hall full of techies have in common? AfroTech.

This year’s AfroTech Conference, hosted by black millennial media company Blavity, was nothing short of phenomenal. Held at the Oakland Convention Center, the conference hosted 10,000+ techies, entrepreneurs and startups looking to gain best practices into the conference’s highlighted tracks of Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Engineering & Design.

From the informative booths (Amazon, Slack, Google and many more) to the inspirational panels from leading tech orgs like Pinterest and Lyft, this conference empowered attendees to learn, inspire, innovate and grow.

I couldn’t keep all the gems to myself, so I’m here to share some of the key takeaways. Here are my top three insights that any organization should take into consideration if they want to be successful in inclusive hiring practices.

  1. Data matters
    There were many “mic drop” moments at Lyft’s ‘Ask me Anything’ (AMA), but one thing that the founder mentioned was that numbers speak volumes – and that understanding the right ones will land you the best talent.

  2. A strong hire is collaborative
    I’m sure attendees are still pinning quotes from Pinterest Palooza. The Pinterest team spoke about collaboration within the hiring process as it isn’t just up to the recruiter, hiring star talent requires a dream team.

  3. Diverse perspectives lead to innovation
    The Pinterest panels also revealed that recruiters can sometimes get “lost in the sauce,” which can result in a homogenized team. The same input equates to the same outcome. Switch it up!

I could gush all day about AfroTech and inclusive hiring efforts, but don’t just take it from me. To delve deeper into the subject, I decided to get an expert opinion on inclusive hiring and sourcing strategies from a Greenhouse customer excelling in the space. Here’s what MongoDB’s Lead Corporate Recruiter Nneka Ogbourne had to say:

Greenhouse: What are some creative ways you’re proactively sourcing candidates from underrepresented communities?

Nneka: “Every week, our recruiting team has the opportunity to take part in a Diversity Sourcing Meeting. All recruiters who can make it spend one hour sourcing together using prebuilt boolean strings aimed at targeting underrepresented groups, schools, areas and geographies.

We also actively engage in diversity conversations with hiring managers throughout the entire process. Many times, we won't make a final decision until we have interviewed several candidates coming from different/diverse backgrounds, companies, etc.”

Greenhouse: How is your company supporting people who identify as a Black or African American? ERGs? Inclusion initiatives?

Nneka: “We have multiple affinity groups that our employees are welcome to join. We offer MongoDB Diversity Scholarships to help break down the barriers that prevent underrepresented groups in technology from attending our conferences.

Greenhouse: How are they strategically positioning themselves to help bring in more diverse talent?

Nneka: “I think this is a bit of a cultural thing that we do well. If the first several onsite interviews are candidates who all look and feel the same, we make it a point to seek more diversity in order to compare and find the right fit for the role. It's one thing for us to start a search specifically seeking diverse talent, however it's another that interviewers on lineups are also engaged in the conversation and actively want to participate in growing a diverse team and culture.”

Looking to join over 10K black tech professionals at the groundbreaking AfroTech conference next year? Sign up for early registration today.