Episode 7: Bias in Hiring

April 9, 2019
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Angie Chang: Welcome to Girl Geek X podcast, connecting you with insights from women in tech. I’m Angie, founder of Girl Geek X and this podcast brings you the best of Girl Geek X, events, dinners, and conferences. We’ve been elevating women in tech for over 10 years.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: Hi, I’m Sukrutha, CTO of Girl Geek X.

Gretchen DeKnikker: I’m Gretchen, COO of Girl Geek X.

Rachel Jones: And I’m Rachel, the producer of this podcast.

Angie Chang: And today, we’ll be talking about hiring.

Rachel Jones: Why might this topic be valuable for our listeners?

Sukrutha Bhadouria: We are as successful as our team, and so hiring is definitely an important part of how we function at work and how successful we are going to be at our job. I’d imagine that’s why it’s super relevant to everyone. What do you think, Gretchen?

Gretchen DeKnikker: I mean, I think this is…it’s one of the hardest things to get right. And, the first thing that will sort of–everybody, like I think we should definitely go into it today, like everybody’s worst mistake because I think those are the ones that you can learn from, ’cause we’ve all made them. And then, you know, the flip side of also when to get rid of people, right? And what do you do when you did get that hire wrong?

Angie Chang: I think the word hiring is in the air – wherever you go. Here in the Silicon Valley – everyone is hiring, everyone’s looking to also get hired. One of the things that I hear a lot about is how to bridge that gap.

Rachel Jones: For our last podcast, we did becoming a manager, and hiring was part of that conversation. So, it’s interesting just seeing how much is affected in your work just by hiring. So, I definitely think it’s valuable to look at this as its own topic and think about how to do it well.

Gretchen DeKnikker: Yeah, cause we did touch on when you inherit a team versus hiring it yourself, right? And how much that can impact your effectiveness. So, I think it is important to make it its own little topic.

Angie Chang: Hiring is definitely something that should be on the top of everyone’s mind, no matter whether you are at a growth startup that’s aiming to be a billion-dollar company with thousands of employees, to even the small business where you still need to hire people who are going to be leaving your company and there’s still always hiring to be had.

Rachel Jones: So, one of the most basic questions that comes up when hiring is what to look for in a candidate. How would you all answer that question?

Angie Chang: One of my first thoughts when we ask about what do we look for in candidates is, also, what are we looking for in the role? Many times when people are starting to talk to candidates, they don’t actually have a well-defined role, or that role continues to evolve over weeks and months. So, it’s always kind of like a moving target. And then later when you hear about candidates who are turned down for this role, and they blame themselves. It’s actually that the role had changed, or it wound up not being a good fit because of the constant nature of changing needs of the organization.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: Someone once asked me, would I choose a candidate who is really smart, or someone who is really hard-working? It would suck to have to choose between the two, but I typically look for potential, and sometimes that comes through in an interview process and sometimes that doesn’t. Sometimes, I’ve really felt someone came across like they were high potential, and they were…I misread it, and vice versa. Sometimes, people have come across really laid back, and I’ve just taken a chance on them, and they’ve actually been amazing contributors. What’s been your experience, Angie?

Angie Chang: I completely agree with you. Sometimes people phrase it as, whether you want someone who is smart versus hard-working. When I was younger, I used to say “smart”, and now I think hard-working is actually trumps smart when smart doesn’t work hard. And whether I think that you had mentioned potential, it’s so hard to understand what that looks like and try not to model that off the typical Harvard/Stanford look and feel. I hear a lot of people are like, Oh we have hired a former Googler, we have hired a former Facebooker, former Stanforder, and is like, is that really a mark of what’s smart? I know plenty of mediocre Stanford and Harvard people, too. So what are the markers we can really look for? Besides a very high-energy bubbly person, is it someone who is laid back, but laid back can also mean they’re like “slow and steady wins the race” and they’ll figure it out. When hiring, usually the goal, I think, is to not try to put someone into a box, but also to look for just a more diverse team.

Gretchen DeKnikker: Yeah, I think 10 years ago, I would have answered this question different. And I think somewhere along the way, a few people sort of made me realize it was okay for me to not be good at a bunch of things and to hire for your weaknesses. And that also helps when you have a layer of management beneath you too, right, to hire people. So, I have ADHD and this VC Mark Suster started writing about his struggles with it, and I felt like that when I read that blog, it actually freed me a little bit because he’s like, “I’m not a finisher, I get really impatient with these things, I get annoyed in meetings when they’re going like this and these are the things that I do” but, also in this way of like, you don’t have to apologize for those things being, right, he’s just like, “now I hire finishers” and I’m not like, sorry, he’s like, I can get the first 80 percent done faster than anyone else, and then I get really frustrated with the last 20 percent. I was like, Oh, thank you for saying that. And it changed the way that I look at hiring.

Rachel Jones: I think for me, thinking back on the two different people that I’ve hired during my career and comparing what I was looking for in those hiring processes showed what I learned about hiring through those experiences. So I think with the first person that I hired, I was working for a non-profit and I was really interested in seeing, do they understand our mission? Can they fit into the organization’s culture? Is their philosophy about this work aligned with what we’re doing, kind of thinking that a lot of stuff would flow from that. But then the second time around, I was like, can this person do the technical aspects of this job, and actually give me the support that a person in this role is supposed to give? And really coming down to a more basic level of what I was looking for, just seeing about…yeah, really thinking about hiring as filling the needs of myself, and of the program, and the team, and not really thinking about it as much in terms of fit, like I had before.

Gretchen DeKnikker: It’s sort of the harder and smarter thing, but I look for qualities of determination. I look for someone who worked while they were in college or took like a… you know, like they are the oldest child who had to care for younger siblings. Or, something about their story that shows me that they are willing to figure it out, like there’s sort of this self-sufficiency. And, I think that’s probably what you guys are talking about when you say work harder. But, there’s something about that, like will this person stick with it and try to figure it out before they come back with like, here’s what I learned, can you help me with this last part? Rather than coming and being like, I tried that, what else? Right, where you’re essentially sort of having to feed them everything to get it done. So, that kind of brings us to Alice Guillaume and Katie Jansen, who are respectively the Director of Marketing and the CMO at AppLovin, where we hosted a dinner last year. And they give their advice on what they look for in candidates.

Alice Guillaume: So I’m very passionate about hiring and recruiting. The resume is important, but for me, it’s really the human and the psychological aspect of who you are. So when I interview candidates, there are two main things that I care about. The first one is ability to learn, so you will hear throughout the theme of our panel that the only constant is change, and that’s, I think, a core thing that has driven our company to be so successful today, is constantly evolving. To be able to move that fast, we need to hire people who are open to learning, who are open to self-improving, and who are receptive to knowledge and feedback. So, for example, when our team ramped up from 15 to over 30, that doesn’t happen overnight. That’s a collaborative effort of everybody on the team, from the individual contributors to the leads. And that really requires that openness and heart to be flexible. The second thing I care about is grit and passion. So, I think that speaks to the first one is, be receptive, be open to learning, and two is apply that in your day-to-day, and be able to put in the amount of work that it takes, and you need to have the passion to be able to want to do that.

Katie Jansen: I have had clear conversations before where, I will say, I am not talking about skin color. I am not talking about gender. I am talking about this person is different than we normally hire, and I don’t want to talk about team fit. Do they fit the company? ‘Cause when you say team fit, that is actually just who people on the team want to hang out with, in my opinion. And that’s uncomfortable to say, but it’s kind of the truth, right? And so, how can we…and so now we have more people on the team that are, you know, commuting from an hour-and-a-half away, or they have kids that are in high school, and that isn’t what the makeup of our team used to be. We have someone who just started who is a former professor. It is different and I’m really trying to push the team to do that ’cause I think we will be better and we will push the envelope more if we can start to do that.

Rachel Jones: Do you have any thoughts on the criteria that Alice uses? I think that kind of sounded similar to what you were talking about with hiring hard workers.

Angie Chang: On those hiring guidelines, hiring for openness and grit, I think those all sound like wonderful things. It does make me a little cautious because then I start painting a picture of someone who grew up pretty privileged in life to have a lot of openness, and to have time to have a lot of projects on the side, played cello professionally, et. cetera. As someone who has been raised with 11 years of piano playing, I recognize there is a certain type of middle-class person that would do this. And, I wouldn’t want to work with nothing but other people with the same background on my team. So, I think there has to be something actively done to counteract the hiring of people with so many hobbies and projects. And I know that looks good on a resume, ’cause you’re like, yes, this person has a lot of projects under their belt, but also you’re going to end up hiring a team full of people that went to a UC or better.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: So, hopefully you’re not just hiring people based on what their resume says, right? You go through a few rounds to assess whether or not they are what you think your team is missing. And I think just my take has typically been like rather than us sort of specifically call out, you know, what diversity seems to mean to us, because it obviously means different things to different people. I feel like I try to identify what’s missing in terms of skill set, in terms of, you know, everything else on the team. That then tells me what I should be specifically looking for. Now, that works sometimes, it doesn’t work sometimes. So, that’s part of why you keep modifying your hiring process to then hopefully get it right along the way, or mostly right. What do you think, Gretchen?

Gretchen DeKnikker: I think what you were saying earlier, Sukrutha, is that you’re looking at the whole person. And while one thing might be a symbol of growing up middle-class or with a little bit more privilege, that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s an indication of the whole person. You’re just trying to say that this person has a lot of qualities and interests, and it’s not necessarily just getting more same-same, but Angie’s point is totally valid.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: Yeah, I guess the cello talent was one example. I’ve also seen people who see my involvement with Girl Geek X as a positive, like a huge positive. And some people think, oh wow, that sounds like such a distraction. So, to me, I tend to want to, just because I know I am a problem-solver, I tend to look for what else are you doing besides the plan that’s laid out for you?

Gretchen DeKnikker: Right, because those are also the people, I feel like I call them Checklist People, which is kind of obnoxious, but these people who go to this, get this on your SATs, go to one of these three schools, go get a job at one of these ten companies, right? They have a path, and there are companies that are great for people with those clear paths, and their little things that they want to check off in life, and their life plan. But, if you’re looking for people that you need a little bit more flexibility from, right? Like at an early stage startup, those people, they flounder and die because they need more structure.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: Yeah, I think when people are looking for a specific college you graduated from, it’s a symptom of a problem where they have to fill these open headcount quickly, and so they are like, what is the quickest path to get a butt in that seat that I have open? And so they try to eliminate rounds of chance that they think they need to take, and the easiest way to eliminate is to say, okay, where did you go to school? Or, where did you work at last?

Gretchen DeKnikker: I think in Silicon Valley, people are very enamored with what school you went to. You can’t really, like my hero, Freada Kapor Klein, has a quote about going to Stanford and working at Google aren’t skills. If you’re looking for very smart and talented people, and you’re taking this shortcut of using, oh, well if Stanford took them then they meet my criteria, and assuming that Stanford has a level playing field to start with, right? Because they’re recruiting from the same schools that are recruiting from the same schools, and so it’s not really a pipeline problem, it’s a fishing problem, right? Everyone’s fishing in the same pond and then they’re like, but we’re all fishing here and there’s no different fish. And, I came back the next day and there’s no different fish. It doesn’t work that way, right?. But, you can not tell me that the top engineering candidate at Ohio State or any…Howard, or wherever, you can not tell me that the candidates in those are somehow less qualified than someone who just happened to be at the bottom of their class at Stanford.

Angie Chang: I feel like to that end, recruiters get a bad rap in the Silicon Valley, ’cause they’re doing the hard work. They’re looking for candidates, they’re putting them in front of hiring managers. And to fill really big hiring quotas at big companies, they have to find people they think are gonna make the cut. And that will probably be UC or higher for colleges. Then, they hire the DNI person who has to try to come in and change things.

Gretchen DeKnikker: Right, but this is systemic. What you’re talking about, this is actually the problem. This is institutionalized discrimination, right? If you’re going to take this shortcut because you’re trying to fill the roles, and you can’t give anyone a break in this process. Every single person that’s touching it is responsible, and I get that the system sort of works this way, but to say that one group is more or less responsible than another, like everyone is taking shortcuts, and everybody needs to step back and be like, what part am I playing? Because if you’re not doing anything, you’re supporting it.

Angie Chang: Absolutely, I think actually having worked at a women’s engineering school and hearing about how women have gotten jobs in tech, they have traditionally not gone through any recruiter at a company. It’s been going to an event, meeting someone at the company. So say you went to a JavaScript meetup, and you met a Pinterest engineer, and they put your resume into their system – you’re going to get that job at a much higher rate than you would have if you’d gone through the front door, which would have been screened by a recruiter. So we hear at Girl Geek dinners all the time that it’s not necessarily the recruiter, but other people around you who are engineers, product managers, someone who just works in the company that will, you’ll meet casually, and you can LinkedIn- with each other and then send over a resume, and then they’ll put you in [to the application tracking system] and you have a much higher chance of getting hired than going through the front door of the recruiter.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: That’s probably because the recruiter is the first gate in the process, and then finally it reaches the engineering manager, and then the team member who is involved, right? So, if you skip through all of that and go straight to the engineering manager or the team member, you’ve already passed through the stages of elimination.

Angie Chang: So, during our last Elevate conference, interviewing.io founder and CEO, Aline Lerner, shared her findings on bias and hiring.

Aline Lerner: The most compelling bias, or I guess the strongest signal of bias that we’ve seen has actually been against people with non-traditional educational and work backgrounds. So, if you didn’t go to a top school, and you didn’t work at a top company, it’s going to be really, really hard for you to get in the door. What we’ve seen repeatedly, and this is the thing that blows my mind, is what some of the bigger customers that we have, where they get a lot of inbound applications. People have applied, they’ve gotten rejected at the resume screen, so before anybody ever interviewed them. And then they came in, so then they used our platform, practiced, and got good enough to…or, in many cases, they were already good enough, but they got access to our employer portal, interviewed with those companies, and actually got hired. And then, of course, once they unmasked after their interview, the recruiting team can see, oh shit, this person is in our ATS, we rejected them six months ago before anyone talked to them, oh shit, there’s something wrong here. In fact, 40 percent of the hires we’ve made in the last two years have been people that would have been…companies admitted, they’re like, whoa, I never would have, what the hell, right? And that’s why we insist interviews be anonymous, or where they actually had been turned away by that employer.

Gretchen DeKnikker: Interviewing.io is a platform where you can meet with hiring managers from specific companies like people from Facebook, and they will help you prepare for an interview. It doesn’t have anything, like this isn’t part of the hiring cycle. It has nothing to do with it. And they’ll help you prepare for technical interviews. And they have a really, really great rate, and when you’re part of the program and you’re interviewing with a company that’s using interviewing.io for their hiring, then, this is what they’re talking about where it’s a blind test. They can’t see your age or gender, your school, anything, you’re just being evaluated on what you did. So, it’s a cool platform because from the candidate’s side, they’re getting very well prepared, and from the employer’s side, they’re removing all of the bias that comes in with what school they went to, or what companies they’ve worked for, or even what their experience level is.

Angie Chang: So it’s like how an orchestra is when they have blind auditions…

Gretchen DeKnikker: Exactly.

Angie Chang:their rate of women who are admitted and succeed become more equitable when you don’t know who’s on the other side of the curtain.

Gretchen DeKnikker: Right.

Angie Chang: Okay. Awesome. Good to hear.

Gretchen DeKnikker: Yeah, you just don’t let people bring their biases to the table, right? The results are like, on one level I’m so pissed that these 40 percent of people never even made it past, but then I’m so grateful for someone like Aline that’s doing something like this to make it possible, right? There are a lot of companies in the HR tech space that are doing things like this to help everyone kind of take their little filters and biases out of the process.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: There was this blog that, I think the title was Companies That Hire Men, and what it did was it searched for job listings that had very male-centric names in it, like “rockstar coder”, or we need someone who can do blah, “he should be able to join the team”, blah, blah, blah. Things like that. And it was astounding how many big and medium-sized and small company job listings showed up there. And this was also probably before, you know, the whole conversation became more mainstream to talk about diverse…being mindful about hiring without bias, but even so, I think that opened up a whole conversation about the fact that people might think that they have no bias, “Why do even need this? Why do we need the blind screening?” But, guess what? We need all of that because we obviously have this ingrained bias that’s built over years and years and years that we need to shake off. So, it’s so interesting – Aline’s numbers and her findings on the bias and hiring.

Gretchen DeKnikker: Yeah, I think it’s Textio, they help you remove the gendered words-

Angie Chang: The bias.

Gretchen DeKnikker: and things from your thing, yeah. When that first started coming out, I think there was like a Twitter thing with words that sort of sparked some of the, it was five or six years ago, or something, and I was like oh, I would use some of those words. Like, I think I probably put “badass” in a job description because I thought it made us sound cool and less corporate, and not realizing oh, okay. If you don’t think you’re biased, that is a huge problem, right? Everyone needs to be like, “we’re all racist, we’re all biased, we all bring all of these different things to the table. “And if you don’t believe that about yourself, you are a huge part of the problem – and kind of getting deep and honest with that.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: There’s so many varying degrees of bias and manifest in so many different ways. We need to be so mindful when we’re hiring and keep evaluating as much as possible. Do we have the right panel of interviewers? Do we have the right people who are screening the resumes? Is it just a word search that’s being done through resumes to pick which resumes the hiring manager’s going to see, or is there more to it? Are we going to various networking events? Are we going to conferences? Are we going to all these other places where we will get access to all varying candidates that are equally competent, just may not have the same checklist of skills, or checklist of achievements on their resume.

Angie Chang: A good way that I’ve seen people hire some pretty non-traditional and awesome candidates has been mentoring bootcamp grads, and also programs like Code 2040, where you can find an intern from an underrepresented group to be a mentor for and help push their careers forward.

Gretchen DeKnikker: Building off of what Sukrutha said, but also particularly in that you need to go from more than one angle. If you look at the way that Kapor Center for Social Impact and how they hire, and how Kapor Capital hires, you can’t go in through a referral. Everyone has to go in through the front door so that there’s a literal level playing field, and that, part of that reason is that people from underrepresented backgrounds don’t have that network, and so if you’re relying – this goes back to what Sukuthra’s saying, don’t do just one thing, becauseause if you’re hiring based on people’s networks, you’re going to end up with Angie’s middle class, ‘we-all-went-to-the-same-five-different-schools’ and that sort of thing. So, thinking about the foundational part of that is looking at what makes you think someone is qualified to start with? So, what does that school say about them? Or, what does this role at this company? And sort of go back and be like, Why do I think that? Do I think that because everyone around me went to a top school and I went to a top school? So, if I say that, someone coming from any school would be as a good as I am, like somehow that makes my degree less valuable, right? This is part of acknowledging your privilege, and acknowledging the things that you decided are the qualifications and the values, don’t actually align with who can be successful in that job.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: At last year’s Girl Geek X conference, Elevate, Miriam Aguirre, SVP of Engineering at Skillz, shared her thoughts about how to hire a diverse teams during our engineering leadership panel.

Miriam Aguirre: This is one of those things where if you start out with a non-diverse team, it gets harder and harder to fix that problem. If you start with a very diverse team, it lends itself very well to continuing to promote diversity, from the hiring decisions, you know, the recruiting, how it’s done, how we present ourselves, but very hard to fix later on. So, you can start by doing the right thing, and things will be steady-state and not that hard to fix later on. Or, you can be in a situation where you’re like, oh, look at Google, or a company like that, where you have a ton of work to do there. I think for us, because we’re in this situation, what we’re trying to do is to continue to promote that. We’re more open to different backgrounds. We’ve got objective testing that can help us suss out whether you have the technical skills to succeed here, and we don’t really look at the CS degree as a bar that that’s the first barrier to entry. So, we feel good about processes downstream being able to inform us whether or not we think the person’s going to be successful on the team. And then once they do join the team, we make it part of multiple peoples’ goals to have that person succeed here in the company so it’s not just that individual out there floating by themselves – you know, multiple people are responsible for the success of that person. And they know it and everyone is aware of,  so you’re this person’s tech lead, you’re this person’s mentor, you’re this person’s… all of those pieces of the onboarding that we try and ensure that once they’ve joined the organization, they’re going to have the support framework to succeed here. That really helps all of us be invested in the success of any one individual. At the end of the day, just fixing hiring isn’t going to fix the other problems.

Angie Chang: I absolutely agree that you have to get started early in championing and hiring for a diverse team. Once you get past single digits of people, and you’re like, “Wait, this team looks too much alike!” – you really have to stop hiring until you get that bit of diversity that you are looking for, and it could be many things. I guess for us (we, Girl Geek X) – gender is one thing we look at, but also like age, backgrounds… So, absolutely, just being able to nip it from the very beginning and make sure that your team is diverse, so that your first person doesn’t feel so lonely and hopefully they don’t feel too lonely for too long, and you have that second person, and then that third person, and then suddenly it’s hopefully easier.

Gretchen DeKnikker: But, you can’t…yes, you have to start very early. And I think the thing to watch out for is that early on, you will actually go faster, the more alike your team is. And so, as you add people, it will feel more frictionful if they come to the table with a bit of cognitive diversity, however that comes in, but that, also, that you can’t hire a woman, or hire a person of color, or hire someone that’s in whatever way different from the typical thing on your team if they all come from the same background anyway, right? Back to Angie’s point about middle class and our talk about what schools you go to, right? Just adding a woman to the team, that’s great, but then also what kind of environment are you creating for that person to keep them? Because if you’re bringing someone in and you’re like having this big discussion about we hired a woman and we have to stop doing all of these things, like you’ve kind of got a problem with your culture right there, that you want to stop and think about. Hiring is very important, but keeping them is more important. And making sure you’re creating an environment that people want to stay in.

Sukrutha Bhadouria: Yeah, you probably want to build your pipeline even before you actually have a position open, and stay in touch with really strong potential people that, again, don’t fit the same mold as everyone else on your team. As I said earlier, I think the problem comes when you feel like you have a very short window to fill that open headcount that you might have, and so, taking your time beforehand, I find I’ve had an easier time then.

Gretchen DeKnikker: Yeah, and not thinking of it as a nice-to-have, but it’s a must-have, because I don’t even know how many studies are out there now that show that teams with cognitive diversity and people coming from different angles at a problem, makes companies more successful long-term.

Rachel Jones: So, one thing that I think is interesting from Aline’s quote, and from this, is kind of how focusing on technical skill and creating situations where that’s all you’re evaluating based on, helps you fight bias. But, how do you fight bias in hiring when you don’t have that objective standard to come back to? Where there’s not like a test that someone can take and they get a score. How do you deal with that?

Gretchen DeKnikker: It sort of goes back to the top of this and where we started, right? What is it that makes this human a whole human, right? And what it is and understanding what you’re missing in your team, not just from a skills perspective, but from a… there’s this great profile called Basadur, it’s B-A-S-A-D-U-R. It’s a problem-solving, so it’s not a Myers-Briggs or any of those personality tests. These are just… in there are sort of four segments in solving a problem, and what quadrant does that particular person fall into? And I found that it was really really helpful, particularly when you have a smaller team and there’s some friction, and you can’t figure it out ’cause everyone’s smart and motivated and working, but stuff just keeps breaking. And when I did this with my team, it was like, oh, we’re missing someone in that second quadrant. And so we’re all kind of filling it in, and it’s not like anyone is just one thing, but figuring out what is, and it’s sort of like the idea person and the conceptualizer and then it’s like the generator and the implementer. And so thinking about, where does this person fall in this cycle? And if you have a whole bunch of people that are just implementers, like shit’s just getting done, but it’s maybe not the right stuff that’s getting done. So, it’s a really cool way I think of thinking about what…’cause it’s hard to tell what sort of personality traits that you’re missing, but I feel like this is a great way of illustrating that. It also helps when the team sees where other people are, I did it in this last company that I worked for also, and they were all like, “oh, this makes more sense” because it seems like so-and-so is out in left field and look his little dot is way out in that quadrant, right? But then, that person being like, “oh, this is why I feel so alone.”But understanding when everyone looks at that, they have to understand that his role is actually just as important, right? Even though he is out there on his own.

Angie Chang: I like how you’re reminding us to keep an eye on the biggest picture. I feel like a lot with hiring and recruiting is just like, we need to put highly qualified people into these roles and it just starts looking like that cookie-cutter, but actually stepping back and saying, what does this team look like? What do we need in this team in this instance?

Gretchen DeKnikker: And what exactly are those qualities? What is qualified, right? That’s the part that I feel like is the foundation, of just going back and questioning all of the assumptions that we have.

Angie Chang: I feel like the best engineering managers I know begin hiring before they even need it. Like, they are already building their networks, they’re already befriending a lot of the coding boot camps, programs for reaching out to underrepresented groups, and volunteering and mentoring and getting to know them. So, by the time they do hire, they already know all the people, they have warm contacts there, they’re taking coffee meetings with people who may at first seem underqualified, but with some coaching over time, they will be qualified. And by then, you will make a very valuable hire that you’ll be known for.

Rachel Jones: Any takeaways or last thoughts on hiring?

Sukrutha Bhadouria: My takeaway and my last thoughts are just that you can’t stop, you have to keep trying to reach people and get access to candidates that don’t traditionally fall into your purview. You have to look around a lot more, and keep looking, it never stops.

Angie Chang: Absolutely, I think my last thought is that engineering managers and managers of all stripes and spots should be always networking and meeting diverse candidates and people, and I think Girl Geek Dinners are absolutely a great place for that. We have a lot of people who come who are hiring and looking to get hired, a lot of… I like to see diversity in our audience, genders, ages, backgrounds, departments. It’s not just engineering, although we are overindexed in engineering here, but it is definitely hopefully a place where we can get to know each other and help each other out in our careers – whether that means the first time, or second time, or third time in applying, I always have to remind people that it takes more than that first stab, nothing comes easily.

Gretchen DeKnikker: My final thing is that, well it is hard and you need to get to know yourself very well to start building a more diverse team, that’s actually just the first step. And you need to work on building a very inclusive environment where all voices can be heard. I think I mentioned this on an earlier podcast, but, I think there’s one book called The Loudest Duck that’s really awesome for helping think about your own biases and things that you think are traits of managers, or this person needs to speak up more. And it’s a good jumping-off point to start thinking about how you manage and how you can manage in a more inclusive way, even though it’s a little narrow in what it does, it will – at least it made me – start thinking more broadly based on having read it. Rachel?

Rachel Jones: I think my big takeaway is something you said, Gretchen, just to really come back and think about what you actually need in a role before you’re saying, oh, we want someone with this degree or this experience. Thinking about, what are we actually hiring for? What kind of qualities would be good? What would actually make someone successful? Yeah, I think bringing it all back to that. It’s a great way to approach hiring.

Angie Chang: Yay!

Rachel Jones: Yay!

Angie Chang: Thanks for listening to this episode of the Girl Geek X podcast. We’ll be back soon with more advice from women in tech. This podcast was sponsored by AppLovin. AppLovin offers a comprehensive platform that gives app developers of all sizes the ability to market, grow, and finance your businesses. This podcast was also sponsored by Interviewing.io, which lets software engineers practice technical interviewing anonymously and land great jobs in the process. Become awesome at technical interviews, get fast-tracked at amazing companies, and find your next job all at one place.

Rachel Jones: This podcast is produced by me, Rachel Jones. To learn more about Girl Geek X, or buy tickets to our next dinner, visit girlgeek.io. You can also find video and transcripts form the events we talked through today. If you’re interested in hosting a Girl Geek dinner, email sponsers@girlgeek.io.

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