alphalist Blog

Recruiting Tips to Increase Diversity while Saving Time


Missing out on great applicants costs money. Which is why you want to cast the widest net and also reel them in record time before they go somewhere else!

Top talent who are searching for a job today will get multiple offers tomorrow. You need to streamline your hiring, understand what you're searching for and you need to come to the candidates on time with the right feedback. Right now, SmartRecuriters is working on shortening the recruitment cycle for Engineers from 5 to 2.5 weeks. Their CTO, Alesia Braga, shares with us what they are doing to achieve this plus insight into the world of recruiting which she has gained as the CTO of an enterprise level end-to-end recruiting solution.

Read on to learn how to hire top talent through shortening recruitment time and applying DEI best practices. 

Table of Contents

Define A Scorecard For Every Open Role

Create a scorecard for every role.”What would a successful candidate look like?” “What kind of business outcomes would you expect from this candidate?” Write it down. Every open engineering role should use a score to evaluate candidates. This helps you be upfront about what you're looking for in the candidate and retain your objectivity when evaluating a candidate. It also allows more team members to conduct interviews. Of course, the entire panel of decision-makers should fill in their own scorecard for each candidate - that way you don’t have anyone else influencing your feedback, The feedback can then be gathered at the end and pierced together for an objective view of the candidate. 

This not only helps reduce bias but also makes the hiring process much quicker as it hones on what you are actually looking for. It also clues in interviewers as to what to focus on during screening.  The scorecards used by SmartRecruiters define levels of skill required for the job and examples of screening questions for each criteria. It is quite important to understand how your ideal candidate looks before you start talking to people. This approach sets a good baseline for being successful in your job after you take an offer as well as being fairly compensated for level within appropriate salary band.

Set Attainable Diversity Goals

Setting diversity goals goes beyond ‘have X % female in the next 6 months. Every company and its challenges are different. This is why Alesia recommends taking the Diversity Hiring Assessment first which allows you to critically analyze how your recruiting process is performing and give you guidance on what to improve.  Is the problem with sourcing? Biases in screening? Not having a welcoming environment? Tools like Diversity Hiring Assessment will give help you assess it all and give you guidance. 

All companies are different with different challenges. That's… why we have this diversity hiring blueprint … [as] a sense of assessing where you are. What challenges do you have and then putting measures in place, how to even understand what are you dealing with? Is it the number of candidates that you're not getting in? Is it your selection process that is biased, or is it your culture that you cannot actually retain this kind of talent? And all of them come with different challenges and different goals in mind, and based on what you learn, you can build a… to-do list for the next certain amount of time.  -** Alesia Braga**, CTO at SmartRecruiters

Acknowledge Your Biases

Everyone has a bias. It’s something we are born with. Yet you can use a bias buster tool to learn your biases so you can actively fight against them in decision making. Using a scorecard in hiring also helps reduce bias. 

You cannot get rid of bias. That's just a myth. What you can do, you can fight it. You can acknowledge that you have one and every time you make a decision, you just pause and don't let your biases drive your decisions. And that's beyond hiring. It's kind of in any kind of decision-making. … So in order to understand what biases you have and how you deal with them, I would recommend doing any sort of bias  busting training, just to understand yourself better on what shaped you. We all grow up with it.  It's perfectly fine. Your surroundings shape you if you're not introduced to a lot of queer people, you don't know, and if you don't know, you tend to discriminate or tend towards something that you actually know”  -** Alesia Braga,** CTO at SmartRecruiters

Ensure your interview panel is diverse

Your interview panel should be diverse to cancel out biases and also any undue influence caused by prior relationships with the candidate.

Create an Inclusive Environment

An essential part of retaining diverse talent is creating an environment where underrepresented people feel safe. People need to feel; comfortable talking about their issues without the kind of being afraid of losing their jobs. However, it needs to start from the management level. The leadership needs to say ‘it’s not okay. If the C-suite just speaks mantras, the managers and the team they manage will detect that and there will not be a total buy-in for an inclusive environment.

But you always need to stay on top of [diversity] because [diversity] is not just a one-off thing that, you know, you tick it off, .., and you are done. [Diversity[ is kind of the journey to take/ -** Alesia Braga**, CTO at SmartRecruiters

Be Upfront about Compensation according to Skill

Before you meet with candidates, map out the varying levels of skills you would accept for the job and the corresponding compensation. This will ensure objective and fair  compensation to all candidates. It also enables your employees to have a  clear view what what they are making and why. 

Provide feedback

People spend countless hours on your coding challenge, give them some feedback. Even if they don’t get past the first interview - it takes a person hundreds of applications to finally land  an interview- why not give them feedback so they get to improve before their next lucky chance comes along. 

Even if it's a no or someone didn't pass a task, or especially if someone invested in a coding task for you, just think about how someone probably spends three to eight hours of writing that they do deserve an answer of something to improve or what to do next. - Alesia Braga, CTO at SmartRecruiters

An alphalist member also finds that providing feedback also helps underrepresented applicants get tips on how to improve, something they would not have otherwise had access to by not being part of the tech crowd. 

Conclusion It seems the best way to way to save time while increasing diversity seems to be using a scorecard to focus on what you are looking for and make objective decisions. However, there are other ways to increase diversity such as taking an assessment, acknowledging your biases and creating a culture of inclusivity within your organization.

Alesia Braga

Alesia Braga

CTO at SmartRecruiters @ SmartRecruiters

Alesia Braga was CTO (Chief Technology Officer) at SmartRecruiters, leading Engineering and Product teams at the time of publication. Braga is an accomplished results-oriented technical leader with over 15 years of experience and a proven record of accomplishment for building and leading world-class software development, maximising profitability through the delivery of exceptional product quality and service, prudent management of people, technology, and processes