The Subtle Art of Hiring a Diverse Workforce — Part I — Introduction

Caroline Chavier
Dec 9, 2019 · 6 min read

As a recruiter, I’ve always felt extremely concerned by diversity and inclusion (D&I). Indeed, recruiters are the cornerstone between candidates and companies. I also come from a social environment which did not make it obvious for me to graduate from one of France’s top schools.

As a recruiter and citizen, I am committed to making the tech scene and the workspace a diverse sphere. In 2017, I co-founded the Paris Women in Machine Learning & Data Science meetup which now counts more than 3 250 members. This year, I was also the Inclusion & Diversity Co-Chairwoman of the RecSys conference. Diversity deeply matters to me and it’s part of my day-to-day job at Agorize.

📌 I decided to write a series of blog posts because many people: HR managers, hiring managers, employees and teachers asked me a simple question: if I want to improve the diversity in company / school, where do I start? What can I do?

Federica Mogherini

❓ Before writing on D&I, I asked my Twitter followers what did they want to read about. The feedback was interesting and raised many questions. Answering all of them would not be possible. However, here are important and universal ones they submitted:

1️⃣ How can I make my company more “diversity friendly” on a day-to-day basis? Is there a to-do-list to follow?

2️⃣ How can we identify and address a more diverse pool of candidates?

3️⃣ What about age in tech? Is it part of diversity?

4️⃣ What are companies doing in order to train people understand different cultures?

5️⃣ I see many D&I insights about ethnic, social, gender criteria. Seldom about introversion / extroversion. Do introverts need some championing to foster an inclusive environment for this personality type — or if it’s just fluffy?

6️⃣ Why did we come with the word “diversity”? What’s the history behind it? Diversity and inclusion to 99% of companies has become more of a talking point and less of point of action.

Amplify blogpost about WiMLDS Paris

🍒 The cherry on the top of the cake is that I will write on the topic with Mathilde Kurzawa. Mathilde is an unique recruiter on the Parisian scene: she is a true diversity advocate, loves pop references and has a great sense of humour!

💎 In my opinion, Mathilde is an incredible woman. 1. She self-trained to sourcing techniques and became a talented tech recruiter, now working at Heetch. 2. She is the co-organizer of the SourceCon Paris community alongside Tris Revill. 3. She decided to learn how to code and consequently created the famous Raspy. I think you got it… Mathilde Kurzawa is a gem and I am lucky to be co-writing with her!

🕯 Mathilde and I have a few things in common. We are allergic to bullshit and are addicted to sharing knowledge with our peers (and beyond!) to make the tech scene more diverse!

🔊 Of course, Mathilde and I are not diversity and inclusion experts. We are not statisticians nor sociologists. We are curious minds obsessed with the social and moral justice and doers. Hence, we read a lot about the topic and gathered relevant information about it. And, we want to empower you, by sharing it with you 💡

In order to make the reading captivating, pleasant and be free to develop critical topics in depth, we decided to break our work into small episodes, each focused on a theme.

🧾 This series of articles will feature ideas which worked or failed for companies in order for you to avoid reinventing the wheel pointlessly. It will highlight a significant list of references for you to deep dive into the D&I world.

🗽 You will notice it. Most of our references are US initiatives. It is not a conscious choice from us. In terms of D&I actions, US companies and organizations are leading the way. There are several explanations such as, in the US, you can get data about how diverse your workforce is: skin colour, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender…etc. It is not possible in Europe, especially not in France where Mathilde and I work.

🧡 Before you start reading our next articles, if you know nothing about Diversity and Inclusion in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics), watch this 1-hour-presentation from Lorena Barba at PyData. It’s a must-watch to set the discussion right. Lorena made an amazing job at pointing out data and using a relevant tone to address the topic.

🎬 — 📑 Her slides:

📖 If you enjoy reading rather than watching videos, Mathilde and I wanted to share a short glossary to ease your understanding of our articles:

If we refer ourselves to the Cambridge Dictionary, the word diversity describes “the fact of many different types [..] of people being included in something; a range of different things or people.” At the workplace, diversity can only imply to be able to work with people with different ideas, opinions and backgrounds.

Aubrey Blanche

🏳️‍🌈 “Diversity” and “Inclusion” are often lumped together but let’s not assume it means the same thing! Indeed, inclusion describes the ability for an organization to include someone or something as part of a group, list, etc., and for a person to feel included.

We can’t write about D&I without mentioning intersectionality. We call “intersectionality” the situation of people experiencing simultaneously several kinds of discrimination in society. The concept has been created in 1989 by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, an American lawyer and civil rights advocate. We believe intersectionality is powerful considering it is not aimed at one specific minority and targeting a whole set of minorities.

Hence, while talking about diversity, we might mention gender, sexual orientation, skin colour, culture, religion…etc. As recruiters, Mathilde and I believe that companies should: hire a diverse workforce and include them within the organization.

➡️ Differences are beautiful and we should all embrace them! ⬅️

✒️ Mathilde Kurzawa is a tech recruiter. Co-organiser of the Sourcecon Paris chapter, she’s also involved in several nonprofits and associations. Active on Twitter and passionate about OSINT, she is currently a 2020 demi-finalist of the Sourcing Grandmaster Challenge. Mathilde is particularly interested in the topics of D&I, especially in the tech environment. She aims at creating safe spaces for everyone to express their talent and individuality, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or age 😊 Her motto : be good, and have fun !

✒️ Caroline Chavier is the Head of Tech Talent Acquisition at Agorize. Highly involved in promoting diversity in engineering teams, Caroline is the co-founder of the Paris Women in Machine Learning & Data Science meet-up. In 2019, she was be an Inclusion & Diversity co-chairwoman at the RecSys Conference in Copenhagen. Caroline has always been passionate about encouraging women to network, speak at conferences and present their work to peers. She is also a passionate tech recruiter, always ready to tweet!

Caroline Chavier

Written by

Co-founder @WiMLDS_Paris - Head of Tech Talent Acquisition at Agorize #MachineLearning #DataScience #RecSys #WiMLDS #SoftwareEngineering #Recruitment #Diversity

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