Diversity has been top-of-mind for tech companies in recent months. Slack, Dropbox, and Pinterest have so far as to release diversity reports, attempting to offer a transparent look into the demographic makeup of their employees (in a nutshell: women accounted for, on average, less than 40% of staff at these three companies, and minorities accounted for roughly half).
Diverse teams are key for startups. Research shows that diverse teams lead to more effective problem-solving and higher productivity. Seems obvious, right? It’s clearly better to have people from various viewpoints and backgrounds approach a problem in order to get a broad range of input and possible solutions. And, as this priority becomes more pronounced among startups, we are seeing ventures form to help solve it. Just this week, Ellen Pao and several other tech leaders launched Project Include, a community "working toward providing meaningful diversity and inclusion solutions for tech companies."working toward providing meaningful diversity and inclusion solutions for tech companies.
So what’s a startup to do? Better hiring. Startups need to make an effort to recruit diverse talent by sourcing from different pipelines than they’ve used in the past. Slack, for instance, has vowed to closely examine the way they do hiring in order to ensure no groups are being given an inadvertent advantage over another. And Dropbox is committed to “proactively sourcing women for technical and management roles, and recruiting graduates from historically black colleges and universities.”
We know that that not all startups have team members dedicated to recruiting, especially the newer ones with a nimble staff (Related: When Should Startups Hire a Full-time Recruiter?), and few startups will have the resources to hire for a “Head of Diversity and Belonging” like Airbnb did. Regardless of your startup’s size and available resources, tools exist to help you hire diverse talent.
Below, a list of four recommended tools used by founders and hiring managers to help build a diverse, successful team.
In 2015, General Assembly established its Opportunity Fund to provide scholarships to women, people of color, veterans, and individuals from low-income backgrounds to participate in their full-time courses, ensuring a greater level of diversity in their graduate pipeline. Alex Betancur, Co-Founder of Jump Ramp Games, says his company has already made two awesome hires from GA’s diverse pool of candidates. Browse candidates and contact them directly, or post a job on GA here.
A platform that helps companies target, connect with, and recruit minority candidates for internships, entry-level positions, and experienced hiring opportunities, Jopwell’s mission is to end the minority employment gap in the U.S. Companies partner with Jopwell to receive access to their proprietary technology that allows them to search and filter through a pipeline of minority candidates. (Contact Jopwell directly for information about pricing, etc.)
A great tool to diversify the location of your remote team, PowerToFly caters specifically to women in tech who are looking to work remotely and has qualified candidates in countries like Uganda, Poland, and Russia, just to name a few. Sophie Koven, Co-Founder of GoKid, uses PowerToFly for hiring, though she says the fee for finding full-time talent on it is too hefty. However, she recommends it for part-time and freelance work. She says, “...if you hire someone for a short project, like a two-week project, versus full-time, you pay that person through PowerToFly, and they pay the tech person a pre-negotiated salary directly for you. They also guarantee the work, and that works really well.”
A nonprofit that educates and empowers women who are passionate about technology, Girls in Tech has a robust job board with a smaller fee than similar sites like PowerToFly (GIT simply offers a job board with a flat posting fee and no additional support or cost associated with hiring candidates). GIT has chapters all over the world and offers a huge talent pool to choose from if you’re looking to fill tech positions at your company.