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3 Key Takeaways on DE&I from Greenhouse’s Building Belonging Event

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are top of mind for all businesses that want to become great at hiring. But the mission is much bigger: Creating fair and equitable hiring practices is how we contribute to a world we want to live in. 

To share practical ideas about how teams can improve their DE&I hiring strategies, Greenhouse hosted Building Belonging, an Open Forum virtual event on June 16, 2021. “Be kind” and “be curious” were the mottos of the day, reflected in the amazing energy of the audience and speakers. CodeSignal was truly proud to partner with Greenhouse and sponsor this event. 

Here’s a wrap-up of some key takeaways. Want more? Go to the event page to watch recordings of the sessions for free and learn about the speakers. 

Key Takeaway #1: DE&I requires a new kind of awareness and planning

Every recruiter is busy with ambitious hiring goals and strapped for time. But when you’re in reactive mode, you may be likely to default to less inclusive practices and overlook qualified candidates. Pretty soon, you might realize you’ve hired the same person over and over again. 

Change often begins with taking a step back. “Rather than jumping into action, you need to know what the problem is, learn where the opportunities lie, and hear employee feedback,” said Stacy Gordon, Chief Diversity Strategist at Rework Work.

More tips from the event:

“It’s important we are doing strong intake and scoping sessions that recruiters are co-creating with managers. What are we looking for, what is the design of the process, and how will that lead to a great outcome?” —Michael Kyle, Head of Talent & Belonging at Planet

“If it’s just moving as fast as possible, you are not going to see any change. See if you can set recruiting goals specific to each team or hiring manager. It may be, ‘Hey, we need to increase our percentage of underrepresented groups in tech that are moving from the hiring manager screen to the next stage.’“ —Liz Hall, Chief People Officer at Splash

Key Takeaway #2: To avoid bias, rely on clear metrics and structured interviews

“Data, not feelings,” said Liz Hall, Chief People Officer at Splash—a statement that summed up a major theme of the day’s conversations. “We need to measure what matters and hold ourselves accountable.” This comes down to defining your goals clearly and tracking your progress with visible, shared metrics.

Relying on objective data also helps you avoid bias in hiring. It’s important to note that bias is an evolutionary component of the human brain, and impossible to remove completely. However, you can make sure to follow structured interview practices that let you focus on measurable skills. This creates consistency and fairness in your recruiting pipeline. 

More advice from the event:

“I think structured interviewing is just good interviewing. I think it is really creating the consistent, equitable conditions to allow all of our candidates, particularly folks from nontraditional or underrepresented backgrounds, to present their strengths, skills, and experiences—and also allow our interviewers the opportunities and the skills to move from that old lazy notion of ‘gut instinct’ to more data-backed decisions. So we can actually predict success and performance in a role, versus go off of what we think ‘good’ looks like. “ —David Delaney, Senior Manager of Recruiting at Cockroach Labs

“There is no process that is going to be perfect. And there is no process that is going to eliminate these biases. But asking questions in a consistent way and looking for answers in a consistent way, where we have clearly defined success criteria we talk about, can address directly the biases we have… it results in a better hire, selected based on data rather than emotion.“ —Bailey Douglass, VP of People and Places at Mode

Key Takeaway #3: Technology should be a partner in making humans more human

All hiring teams use various technologies to run effective interview processes. Whether it’s sourcing or interviewing tools, or a tracking system with sophisticated reporting capabilities, having the right technology is key to being successful with DE&I. 

But technology can also come with its own set of risks and problems. For example, when Amazon used algorithms to screen resumes in 2015, it amplified gender bias. In the near future, said Mona Khalil, Senior Data Scientist at Greenhouse, “we are going to have a more data-driven world that is going to demand much more clarity and transparency and explanatory capacity, of how algorithms are used to make decisions about people.” 

More thoughts from the event:

“Technology at its core should be used to reduce not only bias but also administrative burden—and to do so in a way that allows everyone to have a transparent view of what is happening at each stage of the interview cycle.” —Mihir Gandhi, Vice President of Strategic Marketing at Eightfold

“What we try to remember is just that those are human beings on the other side. Even when you send things that are coming from a template, just making sure to always customize it, add a personal touch…Just making sure it is not a robot on the other side. Having technology frees up time so we can spend more time being thoughtful and personable.” —Anna Chalon Senior Director of Talent and DE&I at Frame.io


Did you know that CodeSignal Certify can help teams go beyond resumes and reduce bias at the top of the recruiting funnel? And CodeSignal Interview provides a template for conducting structured, skills-based assessments. To learn more, click here to request your free demo.

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