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Hiring the right engineers for your org can be hard. In order to find the best talent, you need to spread the net wide and create processes that allow all candidates to demonstrate their potential.
This is where inclusive hiring comes in. The fact is that the pipeline of talent flowing through to recruiters tends to be very homogenous. A global Stack Overflow survey from 2020 sampled more than 38,000 professional developers and found that 91% were men and 70.7% were White or of European descent. These statistics call for a dire need for more intentional hiring practices in order to bring in candidates of all backgrounds.
That’s why the hiring process must be consistent. Without standardizing your assessments, interview questions, and decision-making processes, you can’t isolate and fairly evaluate the only variable that matters: the candidate.
So, what steps can you take to make sure your hiring processes are consistent, so you can find the right engineers for your org?
1. Ensure sourcing is equitable
Unfortunately, technical recruiting and engineering teams often assume that diverse talent is scarce and feel they can’t afford the time to work on diversifying their talent pools. But this isn’t necessarily the case. There is a rich pool of diverse tech professionals out there waiting for the right opportunities. To access talent from diverse backgrounds, you need to intentionally increase the size of your talent pipeline. You might do this by leveraging partnerships with organizations and universities with diverse populations. For example, The National Society for Black Engineers and the Grace Hopper Conference have successfully helped organizations increase access and representation for years.
2. Ensure job descriptions are inclusive
Neutral words, fair language, and a concise description of skills and competencies required for success will help candidates visualize themselves in the role and give your team a roadmap for how to assess and interview them. Once your job descriptions are ready, then you can drive candidates from a variety of backgrounds to them.
3. Use technology to improve consistency and measure hiring outcomes
Many engineering leaders have a set of interview questions and coding problems that they’ve utilized and trusted for years. But these techniques might not have been validated or reviewed as to whether they cause unintended bias. Also, the content of the questions or problems might not directly assess relevant skills and competencies needed by today’s engineers. Using pre-configured questions, technical assessments, and automated scoring specific to the role can ensure better hiring outcomes for all. Technology can also support the measurement of the hiring process, including tracking how good (or not) your assessment is at reducing false negatives and accurately identifying false positives.
4. Hire for potential with soft skills assessments
Engineering teams need to hire for technical skills and the knowledge that’s required today, while also being able to predict how those skills will need to adjust overtime. They also need to hire for soft skills that will allow for a great team dynamic. To scale the evaluation of behavioral competencies, like ability to learn and adapt to change, you can use scientifically driven soft skills assessments. These assessments reduce ambiguity about the traits and behaviors a candidate demonstrates and serve as a reliable guide for hiring managers to make their final decision. You might just find your next director of engineering early on in their career.
5. Use scoring rubrics to make hiring decisions
Scoring rubrics might sound challenging to use, but actually they’re quite simple. Research shows that many teams traditionally apply a 1 to 5 scale to rank prospects, also known as the ‘Yelp review’. The issue here is that this ranking is subjective. A rank of 2 from one recruiting manager may be a 4 from another. The scoring rubric's job is to anchor responses around ‘what good looks like’ and convert a subjective grade into an objective one.
6. Leverage insights about employee's soft skills to create inclusive career growth opportunities
If you’ve established a fair hiring process that shows equitable outcomes for candidates from a variety of backgrounds, well done! However, the process of inclusion is not limited to hiring; it also means creating career growth opportunities equitably. Assessments that identify candidates' strengths can support managers in constructive career growth conversations with team members. Make sure that you communicate the career path, opportunities, and growth prospects to new hires. This includes access to mentoring, transparent review processes, opportunities for internal mobility, and promotions.