Tech companies of all sizes and types regularly acknowledge there’s room to improve in recruiting and hiring diversity. And amid the ongoing Great Resignation, employee retention is more important than ever.
But when attempting to address important issues like diversity, equity, and inclusion, sometimes it’s hard to know where or how to start.
To provide some inspiration, we asked tech company leaders: What is your current strategy for diversity and inclusion when it comes to recruitment and hiring?
Here’s what five of them had to say. Their responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Steven Walker, CEO of Spylix
It’s one thing to say you value diverse recruiting strategies and teams, but it’s quite another to live those values daily. That is why it is critical for us to proactively implement company policies that appeal to a diverse range of candidates.
One of the most effective ways to recruit diverse candidates is to audit our previous recruitment ads and make changes to appeal to a wider range of candidates.
We look for ways to make our language more inclusive to attract candidates from diverse backgrounds. To improve our diversity recruiting strategy, we are not afraid to write job ads with specific demographics in mind. We inform our target candidates that we are looking for them and explain why our company would be a good fit for them.
Darrian Mikell, co-founder and CEO of Qualifi
In terms of recruitment, we have implemented these key measures to make sure we are building with diversity in mind.
Remote first: We’re a remote-first team, which means we can and will hire anybody from anywhere in the world in many cases. This allows us to broaden our horizons and find the best candidates regardless of background or location.
Diverse candidate pools: We don’t just post jobs and hope for the best. We intentionally seek out diverse candidate pools and marketplaces. For example, we recently partnered with The Mom Project to increase our chances and ability to hire highly qualified women for roles. We will continue to target other demographic groups going forward.
Structured Interviewing: Structured interviewing has been a practice with our team from day one. Companies like Google have switched their interview practices to this model to be more inclusive and also lead to better hiring outcomes, as opposed to free-flowing conversations with brain-teaser questions.
In simple terms, we pre-plan and script our live interviews with candidates, per each job, with questions that truly matter to the role and us as a company. Every candidate will get asked the same questions while we record the interview and take notes in the moment.
Nabila Salem, president of Revolent
We go out of our way to recruit people who are not a cultural fit, encouraging those who feel underrepresented in tech to cross-train and develop amazing careers in the cloud through us. Since diversity is an issue that affects the entire sector, it can only be solved together, so we’ve forged partnerships with the likes of Salesforce Talent Alliance. We have regional DEI recruitment strategies in place, too.
For example, in Australia, we’ve partnered with Salesforce and PwC’s Indigenous Consulting to launch the Indigenous Tech Academy-an initiative to encourage young adults from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds to start a career in tech.
Jeff Fleischman, chief marketing officer of Altimetrik
Altimetrik’s hiring strategy includes the launch of two progressive programs:
WINGS (Women’s Initiative in Networking Growth and Success), which has led to over 550 hires of women to date
Rebound-Back to Work, which brings women back into the job market who have taken time off, aimed at bringing women to a STEM field
One aspect of the WINGS program is sensitization workshops for male and female line managers to raise their awareness of their own gender bias and psychological barriers such as imposter syndrome and unconscious bias.
For the Rebound program, selected candidates will go through six to eight weeks of a comprehensive development program which will consist of free technical boot camp sessions, mentoring sessions, interpersonal skills training, leadership connections, and more.
Trevor Larson, CEO of Nectar HR
We have to keep in mind that people are quitting because they’re unhappy. It’s not just about the money. They don’t feel like they have a voice, they don’t feel valued, and they do not see a future for themselves at the company.
The focus has to be on creating an environment where people feel like they can thrive. The way we have taken that up is by really focusing on building a sense of community. We have town halls every month where we talk about what’s going on in the company, we do regular pulse checks to see how people are feeling, and we make it a point to create opportunities for people to connect with each other.
We’ve also been intentional about creating opportunities for career growth for diverse staff that have historically been marginalized by hiring practices. This includes things like ensuring that people have access to the same training and development opportunities, as well as making sure that they’re included in leadership roles. We have really taken [environmental, social, and governance] guidelines to heart and it’s made a big difference for us.
This article was reviewed by Laila Abdalla, Ph.D. and Paige J. Gardner, Ph.D.
Laila Abdalla obtained her Ph.D. in English from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She taught undergraduate and graduate courses in English and successful writing at Central Washington University for over 21 years.
Currently, Abdalla serves as a Washington state career coach and advocate for individuals on temporary state assistance. Abdalla has devoted her career, teaching, and leadership to matters of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Above all, she is committed to her clients’ and students’ complete experience, raising awareness of BIPOC issues in employment, language, community, and culture.
Abdalla leads with equity in management and nonprofit volunteering, and continues to develop her own understandings of these complex issues — both professionally and in her lived experiences.
Laila Abdalla is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education Integrity Network.
Dr. Paige J. Gardner, Ph.D. is currently an Assistant Professor of Student Development Administration at Seattle University. Prior to this role, Dr. Gardner served as Assistant Dean of Students at Loyola University Chicago and has 12 years of experience in crisis management, facilitating diversity and equity training, identity development workshops, and professional development retreats for college students, staff, and faculty. Her research centers race and gender-equity in the workplace, the experience of emotional labor at historically White institutions, and scholar-practitioner identity development. As a queer, Black, cisgender Woman of Color, Dr. Gardner is deeply invested in advocating, empowering, and building solidarity-based coalitions with and for those on the margins of society.
Paige Gardner is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education Integrity Network.
Last reviewed April 29, 2022.