Less Talk, More Action: Hiring Practices That Innovate with Inclusion

By Elizabeth Scutchfield

Key Takeaways

Adam Pearson, CTO, Substantial

Adam has been with Substantial for the better part of a decade and is a key player in evolving the company’s hiring practices to be more inclusive. A few years back, a new hire pointed out that the job ad for developers was filled with unintentional implicit biases. This propelled Adam into action and Substantial has since implemented new strategies to eliminate bias and promote diversity and inclusion in their hiring practices. The job ad has been scrubbed and rewritten, code challenges model actual scenarios that the employee will face on the job, and the interview process has been adapted to be structured and consistent and to incorporate time for candidates to offer feedback about their experience.

Heather Wade, Director of Engineering, TUNE

Early in her career, Heather discovered she was receiving biased treatment in her job applications when A/B testing on her resume revealed that using her first name, “Heather,” received significantly less interviews than when she applied with her middle name, “Glenn.”

Howard Dierking, Director of Software Development, Concur

Howard stumbled upon non-traditional candidates when one of his fellow bandmates decided to pursue a career in tech through an accelerated software development training program. After seeing his friend’s success after the immersive program, Howard has continued to see career changers excel as they demonstrate both a passion for the craft and a commitment to continuous learning. During this session of our Less Talk, More Action series, he explored how he has switched his interview technical assessment from whiteboarding to pair programming, to reduce bias and more accurately align the hiring process to the actual requirements of the job.

John Miller, Financial Supervisor, King County

As a representative of the civic sector, John leads the charge to help tech companies consider how they can align their demographics with the landscape here in Seattle, both now and as it continues to grow. Through the Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan, King County has defined data points that companies can reference as they set their own diversity targets. He presented compelling opportunities for cross-sector collaboration, and offered a road map that can support companies in setting definitive goals, building relationships with various communities outside of the Seattle bubble, and measuring impact based off the King County Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan.

Neil Kumar, Chief Technology Officer, Karat

Neil served as the VP of Engineering at Yelp when they were in high growth mode. He shared the challenges of trying to hire quickly while focusing on inclusion. To combat any biases, Neil applied the NFL’s Rooney Rule to his hiring methods, requiring that minority candidates be considered for new openings. In a world where faster is often better, it can be easy to rely on existing networks and to interview candidates who look, sound, and work like the existing team. By abiding by this rule, Neil ensured that there was at least one minority candidate interviewed for each opening on his team. Now at Karat, he and his team are on a mission to engineer the world’s most predictive technical interview to help companies remove bias from the hiring process.



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