3 activities that distinguish strong technical recruitment teams from the rest when it comes to building diverse engineering teams


Tip #1: Be OPEN to accepting job applications; look at them favorably

Pay attention to engineers who deliberately show interest by applying.  

Don’t Assume that applicants are less eligible than candidates who have been sourced. 

Technical recruiters have a common misconception that qualified engineers do not regularly apply for work openings. Only a small percentage of engineers with brand-name schools and top tech firms on their resumes will benefit from this, and even then, more will choose to apply for a position rather than deal with recruiter outreach. Since these “insider” engineers receive a constant stream of inbound recruiter messages and are referred by their networks, they seldom need to apply for jobs. 

Simultaneously, a vast number of highly qualified engineers apply for work, and with much more diverse backgrounds than insiders. So advertise your job widely and effectively. 

How to use applications to diversify your top-of-funnel 

  • Think outside major job boards like LinkedIn and post on tech-focused job boards like BigShyft
  • Remove any vocabulary that may be gender biased
  • Focus ONLY on actual job requirements and exclude any “unnecessary niceties” requirements
  • Non-insiders are more likely to apply selectively, so you don’t want to persuade them to screen themselves out before even applying
  • So that you stand out to candidates, mention the unique benefits and inclusive policies that your company provides
  • Remove strict criteria for years of experience; this will discourage people who are talented but fall just beyond the spectrum of experience you need from applying, even though they would otherwise be an excellent applicant

Of course, one of the most difficult aspects of job applies is that only a small number of applicants will possibly meet your criteria

Tip #2: Look for sources that are strategic and unorthodox 

Experiment with innovative filters, assessments and other tools made possible by cutting edge technologies. Don’t just search in the same way as anyone else does, such as using years of experience as a filter. 

A quick LinkedIn search for lets say full-stack engineers will return great profiles, but most of these profiles are from similar cohorts in tech. If you fill your pipeline with these, you’ll almost certainly end up with similar pool of candidates. 

How to make your sourcing more diverse 

  • Using diversity-focused affiliations like the Girls who code and Women Who Code, which are focused on those underrepresented in tech
  • Instead of guessing at their abilities based on their years of experience or previous employers, use data-driven sourcing tools like BigShyft to filter for verified proficiency in specific skills

Make changes to your interview 

It may be difficult to hear, but the interview process for evaluating engineers from various backgrounds may be flawed. What is the reason for this? Engineering teams also develop interview questions based on their own prior interviewing experience and/or expect exposure to the same types of issues as the current team.

Tip 1: Rephrase your technical questions during the interview 

Choose technical interview questions that will encourage candidates with diverse backgrounds to shine. Traditional technical interview questions are often used to screen out candidates with similar experiences and skillsets. 

How to conduct a successful technical interview 

Consider the interview questions carefully. Bring the engineering team together to discuss whether the technical issues are clear and relatable to people from all walks of life. If CS theory isn’t crucial to your job, instead of algorithmic problems, try using more realistic problems that are applicable to your usual projects. 

Concentrate on your areas of power. Using skill calibration data from pre-screening evaluations tools like BigShyft to recognize areas where a candidate excels and conduct more in-depth interviews in those areas if you have multiple positions. This technique will assist you in putting together a team with complementary skills. 

In your professional interviews, be proactive about including accessibility solutions and accommodations so that differently-abled engineers can do their best work. You can include captioning on video interviews, written and verbal prompts, extended time, and flexible breaks, for example. 

2nd Interview Tip: Culture fit is over-rated.

Focus on engineering motivations and principles.  Seek out people who “suit your culture.” 

Traditional “fit” questions determine whether or not a candidate “fits in with our culture.” This is often at odds with the objective of increasing team diversity, and it assumes that the status quo is “right.”  Inquire about their passions, what they want to create, and how they can plan their ideal workplace. You might also pose these questions to your current team to elicit new ideas for creating and sustaining an inclusive culture. 

Stick to your objectives and monitor your success. Data-driven processes, like all other aspects of your business, produce results. 

Some key takeaways

Building a diverse tech team is difficult, but the best progress is made through continuous, data-driven iteration, just as it is with any product. It’s okay if not anything you try succeeds. Remember to concentrate on a few main areas: maintaining a diverse top-of-funnel audience, designing an intentional interview process, and keeping the operations data-driven. You will see progress toward a more representative pipeline, more constructive post-interview candidate reviews, and, eventually, a more diverse tech team if you rely on your metrics and available resources to set concrete targets, and if you continuously track and adjust your initiatives.