Cliff Jadoo: Technical Recruiter at Webflow
For the past 10 years, Cliff Jadoo has been a recruiter. Starting at an agency, he then worked with Compass, Foursquare, and most recently, Webflow. We sat down to talk about recruiting diverse talent and cover inbound and outbound strategies plus tactical advice on how to ensure an inclusive and positive interviewing experience. Cliff believes that true diversity encompasses gender, ethnicity, educational background, and life experience — and that diverse teams lead to better outcomes. Individuals can question assumptions, learn from different paths, and become more well-cultured.
The recruiting process for diverse talent can be a tricky one for many businesses. Finding the right fit for your workplace often requires more than a simple job post on common websites. With that in mind, watch our hour long conversation to get full insight into Cliff’s insights, learnings and process.
Here are my “Cliff Notes” of our conversation (and an amazing list of platforms, tools and examples to get you started!)!
Inbound Recruiting: Attracting Diverse Applicants to Your Job
- Target diverse job boards. Look beyond the average job board– be intentional and go to places where diverse talent is looking. Great places to start: Jopwell, Built In, POCIT and Diversify Tech.
- Evaluate your effectiveness. Use trial and error to measure the ROI of your diversity efforts. Ask for a 3-4 month trial for new platforms and tools and gauge the effectiveness by looking at the number of applicants and the pass-through rates in the funnel.
- Partner with diverse organizations. Examples of places to start: National society of black engineers, National society of hispanic engineers, Society of Women Engineers, and Out in Tech.
- Get the job description right. Make your job description gender-neutral and welcoming to applicants who may not meet every criterion. Cliff shares an example of one of his very own. Template at the end of this blog!
- Publish diversity reports. Demonstrate to applicants how important diversity is to your company by openly displaying statistics and commitments on your website. Want a great example? Check out Airbnb’s.
- Build ERGs (Employee Resource Groups). If there are no ERG’s at your company, you can kickstart one no matter the size. Start by joining external ERG’s (here is a list of some great ERG’s) and pairing up with a colleague who is passionate about the cause. Then, post in a general channel or send out a survey to get ideas for what type of ERG groups to start, and ensure you partner with talent teams to include your ERG in onboarding documents!
Tip: By partnering with 3-4 other Employee Resource Groups (ERG's), you can organize virtual or in-person events that will have a bigger budget and attract a larger audience. This is an excellent way to increase your organization's reach and impact. Additionally, you can use the attendee list to source potential employees!
Outbound Recruiting: Sourcing Diverse Candidates
- Don’t rely on referrals. You’ll need to pay special attention to traditional recruitment tactics like referrals– while often the most efficient way to fill roles, this can lead your company to hiring people who look and act like those already on your team instead of diversifying it.
- Partner with diverse organizations. Job boards and networks like HBCU (Historically black Colleges and Universities) and Women’s colleges can provide you with a great alumni network to connect with.
- Intentionally source diverse talent. Use tools and tactics to reach the right communities. Some of Cliff’s favourite’s:
- Linkedin Recruiter to aggregate profiles and use 1.) Boolean searches to target candidates more efficiently and 2.) Implement filters based on geographic location and/or colleges that tend to have a higher populace of diverse talent, as well as use the Military and Veterans filter.
-Gem, Interstellar, or Entelo as an email tool on top of LinkedIn to automate and organize outreach
-Implement a multi-pronged approach to sourcing by recruiting candidates directly as well as utilizing "Send on Behalf Of" (SOBO) features to send messages from a team leader with a personalized approach.
- Get buy-in from leadership. Building a rich, diverse pipeline takes time and investment. It’s important to get buy-in from execs and hiring managers, who are often keen to speed up the recruitment process. By making sure all involved are aware of this expectation from the outset, it will reduce pressure if the process of filling positions takes longer than initially predicted.
Creating an Interview Experience for Diverse Talent
- Start with a rubric. Before posting a job posting, create a rubric and standardized set of interview questions. This will help ensure that all interviews are evaluated on a consistent and unbiased basis, while also providing transparency to the applicant.
- Be transparent. Ensure the candidate is fully aware of the interview process from the outset. Transparency surrounding the process from the start will minimize the chances of abrupt changes being made or extra interviews being required, thereby ensuring each candidate is treated fairly and consistently.
- Invest in interviewer training. Ensure that all members of the interviewing committee and panel are trained to be culturally sensitive and avoid language or questions that may be viewed as microaggressions.
-Some examples of microaggressions we’ve seen and heard in the past: remarks such as “you speak English so well” or asking “what year did you graduate?”
- Have a diverse set of interviewers. The more diverse your interviewing panel is, the better chance you have of avoiding potential biases. Ensuring that the panelists represent a range of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives is beneficial because it allows you to make decisions that are not influenced by any one individual's particular biases or beliefs.
- Tips on take-home assessments. Using take-homes for interviews, particularly for technical roles, is a great way to get a more in-depth evaluation of technical skills, as well as being a more inclusive environment which may play more to the advantage of diverse candidates. It’s a given that many people don't work effectively when coding under pressure and may not present their best work. Unfortunately, most companies do not implement take-homes well. To ensure the best results, here are some best practices to bear in mind:
- Don’t use take-homes as a screener. It’s more personal if the candidate speaks to someone at the company first. You will also get better completion rates and candidates will be more likely to put their best work forward.
-Make sure the take-home reflects a day in the life of the role, not a Leetcode style question.
-Take-homes should be used as an interviewing artifact that will be referenced in future interviews.
-Two recommended ways to implement a take-home:
Variation 1: Recruiter screen> hiring manager call> take-home > onsite
Variation 2: Recruiter call> take-home> on-site and at least one session in the on-site should reference and discuss the take-home
- Remind candidates about ERGs in place. When sending out offer letters, offering applicants the opportunity to engage with a leader of an Employee Resource Group (ERG) is a great way to reaffirm your commitment to diversity and inclusivity. Be sure to include all respective ERG's mission statements during the recap to excite them!
Start now: Low hanging Fruit to get Started
If you're feeling overwhelmed by all the excellent resources available, we've got three of our top suggestions to help get you started quickly and easily:
1. Craft a really well written job description. See a template below!
Job Description Template:
Section 1: Mission & Values- why should someone join your company?
Section 2: Team Description - what does the team do that you're recruiting for?
Section 3: What would the individual be doing on the job?
Section 4: Share the full interview process- allow the applicant to understand the process to provide a great candidate experience
Bonus: Share compensation bands. This allows candidates to understand what the comp band looks like (ideally, plus/minus $10-15K), as this prevents large disparities in pay that occur when only certain demographics negotiate and ask for more compensation.
-Explicitly mention to apply even if an individual doesn't check off all the bullet points
2. Join a Slack or Google ERG group: find groups that are focused on diversity and inclusivity and gain knowledge from those more experienced in areas you want to learn more about!
3. Don’t make these mistakes and avoid:
- Conducting interviews without a question bank and standardized rubric
- Making a laundry list of requirements in your job descriptions
Where to Learn More
- From your internal team. Tap into your current network to ask for meaningful ways to improve the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts.
- Join Slack groups. Build a more diverse network to see what other talent teams are using and their best practices.
- Get feedback from candidates. Ask candidates what they find most useful when it comes to applying to jobs and how your team can improve.
- Reach out to Cliff on Linkedin if you have any questions!