To tactically diversify your next hiring pool, we sat down with Tracy Barba, the Global Head of ESG and Stakeholder Engagement at 500 Global. With $2.7 billion AUM on six continents, 500 Global aims to uplift people and economies worldwide by investing in early-stage, fast-growing tech.
During our session, Tracy recommended following three distinct steps. Let’s dive in.
1. Expand Your Networks & Sourcing
First, you need to map out and understand where your existing team is sourcing from.
All too often, teams put out job listings and calls for referrals within their overlapping, demographically similar networks. Everyone winds up pulling from the same pool.
Simply put: A white man in tech is most likely to have a network full of other white men in tech.
To efficiently broaden the pool of candidates, each core team member should identify and make contact with 2–3 groups or networks where they have zero connections.
These will likely be communities intentionally built for women or industry members of color.
This enables you to both understand what networks you’re not tapping into and efficiently reach as many diverse candidates as possible.
2. Reevaluate What Candidates See
Next, evaluate all of the candidate-facing elements that’ll characterize your company.
- Does the wording in your job listing demonstrate subliminal bias or microaggressions?
- Does your diverse hiring statement sound authentic in pursuit of a diverse workplace?
- Does your company even have a diverse or non-discriminatory hiring policy?
In Tracy’s experience, that last question exemplifies the 500 team’s advice of starting small as soon as possible to slowly but surely foster an inclusive company culture for the long run.
Even drafting a basic non-discrimination policy ultimately prompts your team to:
- Examine the existing culture and demographic makeup of the workplace
- Identify how you plan to address unconscious bias in the hiring process
Meanwhile, if a female candidate can go to your website and see an all-male team, be transparent about how you want to make DEI a pillar of your culture as you scale.
Again, make sure all of your language around DEI comes across as authentic — not as if you’re looking to add one woman to the roster because your investor is asking for it.
3. Structure Interviews Accordingly
If you’re a team of white men who are serious about wanting to diversify, prioritize interviewing and hiring non-white, non-male, and (of course) highly qualified candidates.
This ensures they won’t get lost in the pipeline. Tracy also advises leveraging the interviews themselves as an opportunity to better understand your hiring pool:
- Ask candidates 2–3 questions on whether they see a fit with your startup
- If not, ask why so you can begin addressing disconnects in real-time
“Even a small step like a basic non-discrimination policy will force you, as a team, to address impactful issues like unconscious bias in your hiring process.”
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