Remote Recruiting and Hiring Can Further DEI

by Shannon Hogue

Last year, companies that would typically hire software engineers from geographical bubbles (i.e., select colleges and within Silicon Valley) began embracing the idea of tapping into a talent pipeline of remote workers. As more organizations consider making the shift to remote work permanent, engineering management teams are incorporating remote developer hiring as a core growth strategy for 2021.

However, attracting recruits within markets outside a company’s traditional hiring areas presents some unique challenges. For example, while many technical skills translate across industries and geographical bubbles, jobs may evolve due to specialized criteria. That said, engineering leaders need to work with talent acquisition partners to set clear expectations around what competencies they are looking for and develop metrics for assessing them.

As organizations look to be more inclusive, they can take the first steps by reviewing and ensuring job descriptions align with performance reviews. This tactic allows organizations to tap into more diverse and inclusive populations, including neurodiverse candidates that may shy away from jobs due to how the position is listed (outgoing, rock star, etc.).

Beyond reviewing job descriptions, organizations should also review interview format and questions, and the scoring rubric used to make hiring decisions. Document all findings during this process and work on aligning each of these areas to shared competencies. Similarly, commit to additional interview training to reduce biases. This ensures that interviewers assess the right competencies and eliminate false negatives with bias mitigation and unconscious bias techniques.

It is also important to measure the candidate’s experience by tracking drop-off rates. Tracking drop-off rates can reveal weaknesses in the organization’s hiring practices when those rates diverge from industry norms. For example, take-home or automated coding challenge for engineering candidates typically comes with a drop-off rate of around 50% (rates will vary by role). If an employer is experiencing significantly more candidates dropping out at that point, the volume of work or other aspects of the activity may be driving away qualified candidates.

The past year brought a lot of change, but the shift to remote work is going to be one of the most significant and lasting transformations. To fully take advantage of remote workforces, companies need to provide consistent and transparent recruiting and hiring processes. This will improve its brand, the candidate experience and workforce inclusivity initiatives. 

Shannon Hogue, CTO of Karatbrings 20-plus years’ experience to her work, as head of Solutions Engineering, with engineering teams to mitigate bias, understand their hiring bars, align interviews and create fairer and more predictive hiring processes.

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