There’s more to engineering than a Computer Science degree. But folks from nontraditional backgrounds are often overlooked when it comes to hiring.
As engineering leaders, it’s your job to recruit diverse candidates into the industry. How can you support more folks on their journey into engineering, regardless of their backgrounds? How can you rethink your hiring practices to support a broader range of candidates? And how can you reach a more diverse pool of applicants?
To find a pool of talented, diverse individuals, it’s important to understand that not everyone has had access to the same opportunities. In this roundtable discussion, our panelists explored how companies can reimagine their hiring processes to seek out potential, regardless of their candidates’ backgrounds.
Featuring Jason Brewer (Engineering Manager at Mailchimp), Preetha Appan (Senior Director of Engineering at Hashicorp), Shannon Hogue-Brown (CTO at Karat), Jason Wong (Engineering Leader at JWong Works), the panel explored:
- How the access gap manifests in hiring processes
- How to build a diverse engineering team with folks from nontraditional backgrounds, including those without CS degrees
- How to reframe the recruitment process to be more equitable for underrepresented engineers
- How to design new hiring processes that look at assessing candidates on their potential
There’s nothing wrong with helping a contact get a foot in the door at your company, but what about the many great engineers who aren’t in your circle? In this article, Shannon Hogue-Brown shares why it’s important to consciously open up your hiring funnel and take steps to ensure all candidates are starting off on a level playing field.
From being transparent with your interviewees around how they will be evaluated, to tackling pedigree bias by loosening automatic screening requirements around certain schools and organizations, Shannon shares how you can make your hiring processes more equitable.
Bootcamps and university courses are great places for companies to find new talent. But focusing too much on these routes means that exceptional, self-taught folks can be overlooked. In this article, Amina Adewusi shares advice for attracting this group, helping you to find driven, organized, and resourceful new hires while improving diversity within the industry.
Amina encourages leaders to create more entry-level jobs, maximize the impact of graduate schemes by making them open to self-taught folks, and provide new starters with the right support to find their place and grow within the company. When engineering teams do back these folks, they quickly realize the value of their investment.
Too often, when hiring or onboarding new engineers, we focus on treating candidates equally. But this only works if everyone has had the same opportunities and experiences. In this article, Michelle Brenner shares why it’s important to treat potential and new hires with equity, instead of equality.
From writing inclusive job descriptions and building diverse pools of applicants to testing candidates fairly and planning a new engineer’s first six months, Michelle shares techniques for getting the hiring process right so that you can actively break down the barriers to entry in your company.
A final takeaway
Throughout the series, the authors and panelists agreed that reducing the tech industry’s access gap won’t happen overnight. But as Shannon Hogue-Brown observed, when you start pushing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, ‘your organization will be better for it, and if enough organizations follow, so will the world of tech.’ By taking steps to rethink your hiring practices, making your processes more transparent, and consciously valuing ability above experience, you can start recruiting more great engineers to your team, regardless of their backgrounds.