November 17, 2020
At Coterie, we’re always striving to find great candidates who not only bring a “superpower” to the team, but also bring differing experience–both personal and professional–to the organization at large.
However, this is no small task. There is some great talent out there, especially in the engineering world, and it takes real commitment to put together a diverse, welcoming, and talented team.
I recently sat down with Karl Morand, the VP of Engineering here at Coterie to talk more about this and dive deeper into his approach for hiring with intentionality and diversity in mind.
In the remote work reality we now live in, there are some core beliefs that have helped Karl to mold our engineering team at Coterie, and I urge you to consider these key elements when reviewing your own hiring practice and ethos.
1. Do not go down the path of least resistance. There is great value in putting in the work.
Karl: “Try not to go down the path of least resistance when building a team. What often leads to teams that lack any real diversity is that due to having roles to fill quickly, oftentimes people hire who they know, people in their network, people that potentially look and think just like them. I don’t want to say that the path of more resistance is easy, but it isn’t necessarily hard either. It’s all about intentionally making diversity a priority. It may mean that things move a little slower, but that’s okay. It’s worth it.”
Hiring sometimes feels urgent–there is an empty seat that needs to be filled, work that needs to be handed off, or a new project that requires more hands. Hiring reactively to urgent needs can end up causing more harm than good, especially in the long term. Putting in the commitment upfront is a solid investment, instead of hiring someone based on connections or speed.
Though it takes more time and effort, committing to resourcing talent from outside of your own network and casting a wide net will ultimately bring more value and impact–and a better product or service.
Karl: “There is real value behind hiring a diverse team. Yes, it can be more work, but it will also lead to better products and a better company. You are not going to build the best, most thought-out products if you don’t have a team of diverse experiences and backgrounds.”
2. Be open to remote work and make communication personal.
Communication is always an important tool within any organization, but with remote work, it becomes even more critical. We’re all missing the informal encounters in the kitchen, or the ability to catch up on our weekends over a lunch break. As a result, getting to know both candidates and teammates must be a deliberate and intentional effort. At Coterie, spending scheduled non-work quality time–like weekly game nights, team lunches, and “clubs”–bring us together, even when we’re physically apart.
Karl: “Being open to remote work makes it easier to build a diverse team. There are a lot of amazing candidates out there, and they all don’t necessarily live within 30 miles of you. But, remote work does come with its challenges - communication being one of them. Communication should always be a priority, but not always just about work - it’s important to take the time to just say hi or to have a casual conversation. Also to facilitate events where the team can just spend time getting to know each other. This makes for a more successful remote culture.”
3. Identify core values.
Finally, when hiring, it’s important to look beyond the resume and even the skillset, and getting to know each individual on a more meaningful level. There are likely many candidates who can check the boxes of the job responsibilities–but there are less that believe in the same core values of the company, and who will bring something unique to the overall team and culture. So skip the irrelevant live coding exercises and white boarding–and focus on the actual meat of the job and the person behind it.
Karl: “I am much more interested in people’s backgrounds, experiences, and who they are as a person, what they can bring to the company, and what we can bring to them. We purposely don’t have a lot of requirements on our job descriptions. Extensive requirements can be exclusionary, and I would much rather cast a wider net, bring more people in, and find the right person for each job that aligns with our core values.”
Overall, it’s important to make hiring a priority. It will take more of your time at the beginning, but the resulting efforts will bring more diversity, perspective, and growth to the organization–which will also bring more business success.
If you’re interested in our hiring beliefs, culture, and mission, take a look at our open roles: https://coterieinsurance.com/careers
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