The do’s and don’t’s of hiring a diverse team

by | May 19, 2021

81% of our team at soona is made up of diverse talent. in other words: white men are the minority. in just over two years: we’ve opened three locations + built a Shopify app + hired 50+ people. we achieved 400% growth in 2020, and we’re super proud of it.

in my opinion, building a successful + diverse company begins with a mindset shift. don’t hire a diverse team because you feel pressured to do better. hire a diverse team because it’ll make your company objectively better. here’s another way I like to think about it: we aren’t building teams to be diverse. we’re building them to be representative of our communities and world. our companies should look like the communities we serve. 

soona is an outlier in more ways than one. here’s how your company can join the movement toward building successful + representative teams:

 

don’t expect diverse candidates to find you.

it’s your job to find them! you are responsible for bridge-building. don’t just invite diverse groups to your events—go to their events first (and often). with the popularity of online events: it’s easier than ever to register for BITCon (Blacks in Tech Conference) or WomenTech Global Conference.


don’t stick to resumé-based hiring.

resumés are guilty of reinforcing the job market’s inherent inequity. you need to dig deeper—to discover the stories of your candidate pool beyond resumés. look for hobbies / certifications / groups that connect to the role you’re hiring for. consider asking candidates for a cover letter—or even a video introduction! trying new things will drive new behaviors and outcomes.

 

do set realistic goals.

you can’t go from 0 – 100 right off the bat. create goals that make sense using your candidate pool as your baseline – after all: diverse teams come from diverse candidate pools. if you’re an established company: use your current team as a baseline. which demographics are underrepresented on your team?

 

do put the work in before beginning the hiring process.

get to know your local community. try using Census data as your guide! consider whether a multi-location approach would fit your company—it’ll lead you to a more diverse candidate pool.

 

do broaden your circle.

give your leadership networks a once-over. how often do you interact with people who don’t look like you? are there meetups or online events happening within the diverse communities you aim to hire from? have you attended? do you enter rooms where you’re the only white person? the only man?

today, tweet at a stranger you admire. this is the first and easiest step toward building a diverse network. 

want to learn more about our hiring practices? check out this awesome, in-depth article.

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