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Diversifying Your Hiring Pipeline: A How-To Guide Session GHC15


Background from GHC website:
Are you frustrated by the lack of female and underrepresented minority candidates applying to your tech company?

In this panel, we’ll explore four aspects of hiring: Job descriptions, messaging about company culture, sourcing candidates, and screening candidates. The panelists will share do’s and don’ts for improving the diversity of the applicant pool and interview process based on their research and their work with dozens of tech companies.

  • Looking at data and look at disparities 
  • Where are candidates coming from? 
  • Is there a process why these candidates aren’t getting past a certain point in the process?
  • Anonymizing resumes (company approached them)

  • Seed stage vs. other stages
    • Habits that may have been formed over time vs. new stage

Job Descriptions
  • Writing the job description
    • Language that you use matters a great deal
    • The words you choose, matter
    • Visual layout in the job description is essential
    • bulleted list (20%) – optimal
      • when bulleted list >50%, # of women applicants decreases
      • when bulleted list <20%, # of men applicants decreases
    • Length of description
      • White space use
      • formatting
    • Don’t use words like rockstar, ninja, badass, etc.
  • When job descriptions state the following:
    • Build a team, majority of the applicants are women
    • Lead a team, majority of the applicants are men
  • Real data is needed when writing job descriptions from the team/hiring manager, not something that was cut and paste from prior listing
    • Over relying on military or sports references will turn off a certain pool of applicants
    • Dropping the level of formality increases the number of all applicants
  • EEO statement needs to be included and it shouldn’t be pro-forma

  • Things that are needed for job description should always be applied to the hiring process, also

Company culture and websites
  • What is a company’s culture is not attractive to a candidate”
    • Caroline:
      • Diagnose how people are experiencing the culture in your company
      • Gaps – how people feel during decision making, etc.
      • Most significant factor of hiring women and minorities is having a presence of women and minorities
    • Joelle:
      • Pictures of diverse people on website, but no one in the company represents those pictures (not a good thing)
      • Culture you build and how you effectively recruit
    • Keran:
      • Use of term “nerf” is a gateway term of bias factors
    • Caroline:
      • In a certain set of instances, 85% of the information sessions on a campus had no women speaking at the technical sessions, but rather the women were passing out t-shirts, etc.


  • 65-80% hires are via referrals and 80% of the referrals are white or asian men
  • Figure out what you want to do about hiring diversity
    • Actively reminding employees to refer people who are diverse
  • Looking for the most qualified person isn’t necessarily the person that went to higher-ranked schools/programs.
  • Outside of the top tier talent schools
    • Where can these candidates be found?
    • Community Colleges
    • Think outside the box

Having a school-blind resume process at Code 2040 is working, right now

  • Technical criteria assessment  – biases were creeping up
    • communication styles of how people are communicating skills in screening
    • if communication is a criteria, it needs to be separate
  • Culture Fit  (vs. the term culture “add” <— sounds better)
    • Shift the criteria in the process of screening
  • Joelle:
    • Hire people that will be consistent with your company values