How to be an ally: Include women in hiring

“When women see themselves represented in your firm’s recruiting collateral, they’re more likely to apply.”

—Sarah O’Brien

“It’s so cool to be in an interview with all women.”

I was hosting a panel interview and immediately gave the horns. 

Just a few months earlier I’d had the same reaction—for the first time, I was facing a panel of all women. It really was cool. 

And it’s a unique cultural experience that doesn’t exist in many places.

I count myself lucky everyday to work with smart, ambitious, and compassionate leaders—who also happen to be women.  

The Rooney Rule

In 2003, the NFL created the “Rooney Rule,” which required teams to interview candidates of color for head coaching positions. 

The goal was to diversify hiring pools, especially for leadership positions. 

While many tech companies have followed suit for applicants—baking inclusive policies into recruiting—they sometimes miss the mark when it comes to interviewers. 

If all of your interviewers are white men, what message are you sending to applicants?

Trust me, interviewers will notice. 

An easy solution is to apply the Rooney Rule to your hiring panel as well your hiring pool. 

Allies at work: Include women in hiring

Diversify your recruiting team—and if you want to hire more women, include at least one woman in the interview process. 

Not only does this help women see themselves represented in your company’s leadership, it also gives them the chance to ask other moms the tricky work-life balance questions. (Is it really okay if my sick toddler sits on my lap during zoom calls?)

A diverse workforce needs to know that they will be represented and valued on your team. 

Showcase your allyship in hiring.

Hire for “culture add,” not fit

One final note: If you’re trying to hire a diverse team, but you’re focused on “culture fit,” you might be doing it wrong. 

In her new book “Inclusion on Purpose,” Ruchika Tulshyan calls out this hiring style as a way of simply finding other people like you. 

“Unfortunately, [this is] coded bias…It’s much more important to hire for ‘culture add,” focusing on what your team lacks and what measures of diversity would really add to the team. 


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