Optimizing Your Tech Hiring Practices

The Experts' Guide to Increasing Diversity on Engineering Teams

Fact: Companies that are racially and ethnically diverse outperform industry norms by 35%. This guide brings together proven strategies from leaders in engineering and talent acquisition at leading companies for increasing diversity on your engineering team.

Introduction

Today, more and more companies are recognizing the value that employees from diverse backgrounds bring to an organization as they scale their technical teams. A recent study found, for example, that companies that are racially and ethnically diverse outperform industry norms by 35%. Engineering teams, however, are often the least diverse teams in an organization—in large part because technical recruiting still relies heavily on bias-laden methods like resume review and traditional interviews to identify top candidates.

This guide brings together proven strategies from leaders in engineering and talent acquisition at industry-leading companies for reducing bias in your hiring and increasing diversity on your engineering team. From opening up the top of your recruiting funnel using validated skills evaluations, to conducting structured interviews that reduce bias, you’ll learn concrete actions you can take to move the needle on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives at your company.

5 Key Takeaways

To successfully increase diversity on their engineering teams, both talent acquisition and engineering teams need to be involved and implement best practices for technical hiring at all stages of the recruiting funnel. Here are the top 5 takeaways from the engineering and talent acquisition leaders included in this guide:

01. Open up the top of the recruiting funnel using validated skills evaluations

A tried-and-true way to open up your technical hiring to a more diverse talent pool is to replace resume review at the top of the funnel with objective skills assessments. Done well, skills assessments help identify top technical talent early in the hiring process while saving time for your engineering team and moving candidates through the hiring process more quickly, which improves their candidate experience and increases the likelihood that your offer will be accepted.

02. Implement structure and consistency in your hiring interviews

Interviews provide both hiring teams and candidates with valuable information about how each party collaborates and problem-solves on the job. However, they’re also rife with potential for human bias to creep in—whether it’s through how coding questions are written, how interviews differ from candidate to candidate, or how different interviewers assess a candidate’s competency. Structured interviews, conducted consistently across all candidates for a role, help mitigate bias by giving all candidates access to the same interview experience and a standard set of requirements against which they’ll be evaluated.

03. Create and track measurable tech hiring initiatives around DE&I

It’s a common saying in the business world that “what gets measured gets done.” This holds true for initiatives around diversity, equity, and inclusion in technical hiring, as well. Engineering and recruiting stakeholders should work together to define what “diversity” means to them and decide which metrics, such as employee demographic data, to track. Tracking and measuring DE&I initiatives should hold the same level of importance as other strategic initiatives at your company.

04. Scrutinize your own hiring processes for potential bias

None of us is free from bias, and even the most carefully-designed hiring processes can inadvertently harm candidates from underrepresented backgrounds. Engaging IO Psychologists, like those at CodeSignal’s Skills Evaluation Lab, in developing your technical evaluation tools allows you to ensure that your recruiting methods accurately measure candidates’ job-relevant skills and do not introduce adverse impact to protected groups.

05. Listen to what underrepresented candidates are looking for in potential employers

Lastly, one of the best—but often underutilized—sources of advice for increasing diversity on engineering teams is underrepresented candidates themselves, who have recently experienced what it’s like to go through the technical hiring process. Rather than assuming what women engineers want from potential employers, for example, or what Black engineers think about your interview process, ask these candidates. You may be surprised by the insights they offer.

Meet the Authors

Jehron Petty

CEO & Co-Founder

Ariana Moon

Director of Talent Acquisition

Sylvia Mol

Assessment Research Lead

Sophia Yamauchi

Emerging Talent Programs Manager

Peter Lu

VP of Solutions Engineering

Michael Newman

VP of Engineering

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