4 Steps to Attract and Hire Diverse Tech Talent
Businesses have traditionally hired for ‘cultural fit’. They’ve hired someone who fits with their current team and who demonstrates the same interests and work practices. Essentially, they’re hiring someone who isn’t going to rock the boat.
The UK needs diverse tech talent. The trouble is, following ‘cultural fit’ as a guideline won’t allow your teams or wider business to evolve or improve. Recognising where bias comes into the recruitment process should help companies establish a level playing field for candidates.
People are hard-wired to gravitate towards the familiar; to the perceived ‘safe’ option. This tends to be why hiring managers can be drawn to candidates who are most similar to them, rather than those most suited to the job.
Discrimination, whether associated with race, gender, age, sexuality, disability or religious beliefs is a sad reality. Many businesses are committing to changing their policies and showing genuine ambition to do better when it comes to creating a diverse workforce. This starts with they way they hire new employees.
So, what can you do to attract and hire a broader range of candidates?
We’ve outlined 4 steps to attract and hire diverse tech talent which could be beneficial to your business.
1. Define the term ‘diversity’
It’s an obvious place to start, but many businesses are guilty of not truly understanding what diversity means to them.
Definitions of diversity can be narrow and often people tend to think about diversity in terms of race or gender. In fact, physical ability, gender identity and a host of underestimated groups are often overlooked.
It’s important to recognise within your own company the groups which are well represented versus underrepresented and how this varies across teams or by department.
2. Focus on the diversity already within your teams
A truly diverse and inclusive workplace requires everyone to champion the value of difference and equality. They need to ensure that it’s embedded in organisational culture, not just in policies. This starts at the top and should work its way down through every seniority level and each department
By effectively promoting diversity within your organisation, it can make your business a more attractive proposition for prospective candidates.
Not only this, having a diverse team will give you a competitive advantage when it comes to removing bias during the interview process in the form of a more diverse hiring panel.
A diverse panel ensures candidates aren’t overlooked and improves their candidate experience. It also brings a better perspective to your business and enables balanced feedback.
3. Create more inclusive job adverts/descriptions
If you want to appeal to a more diverse tech candidate pool, then language matters.
A job description and the way it’s advertised can say a lot about a business. In particular, it highlights aspects of its culture and what the day-to-day environment is like. The choice of words you use can be critical and typically ‘masculine’ words can ostracise some candidates, particularly women.
Terms like ‘Ninja’ and ‘Rockstar’ which are too frequently used in tech roles are exclusive and can be off-putting to many candidates. Using language tools such as Textio can help you create job descriptions that are inclusive and welcome candidates to apply.
Equally, the messaging, branding, and language used across other touchpoints, such as your website and social media, needs to be inclusive.
4. Use Blind CVs
From start to finish, unconscious bias can negatively impact each stage in the hiring process.
Once you’ve written and advertised an inclusive job description, elements of bias will creep in when reviewing applications and drawing up a list of candidates to interview. Creating conditions that keep the process as fair as possible will lead to you interviewing and employing a more diverse workforce.
Removing demographic information from CVs that can lead to bias, such as names, date of birth, pictures, hobbies, interests, school or university while keeping important skills and experience allows for a more unbiased recruitment process.
If companies concentrate their efforts on creating fairer hiring processes, greater diversity and inclusion will naturally follow. However, in order for building a diverse business to work, these steps need to be consistent at all levels and across all departments.
At The Engage Partnership, we are advising and working with companies more and more on ways to improve their hiring. Feel free to speak to us about how we can implement steps to attract and retain diverse tech talent in your business.