If you work in tech, you know the topic of hiring and diversity is on almost everyone’s mind these days. From the Google diversity memo, where an engineer argued that gender-based preferences were among the reasons there are so few women in technology, to the tech startups being accused of discrimination, harassment and frat culture, Silicon Valley is a bit of a mess.
The good news is there are companies investing a tremendous amount of effort to promote diversity. HP, known for its portfolio of printers, PC’s, and mobile devices is reaffirming its commitment to diversity, starting with a campaign called “Reinvent Mindsets.” One of the ads, “Reinvent Mindsets: Dads and Daughters,” features real-life fathers and their daughters reading actual online posts offering interview advice to women. Among the advice; "don’t wear too much perfume," "avoid dressing too much like a woman" and "don’t be aggressive." Really. Watch it for yourself here.
We talked with Cheryl Henderson, HP Inc.’s Diverse Talent Acquisition and Partnerships Strategist, who says diversity is at the core of HP, which currently has 49,000 employees worldwide. She says the campaign was designed to raise awareness of the ingrained and subtle biases that exist in the hiring process.
We’ve all seen the news about diversity issues in Silicon Valley. Can you tell me a little about the "Reinvent Mindsets" campaign itself?
Reinvent Mindsets is a campaign intended to raise awareness of the ingrained and subtle biases that exist in the hiring process; the campaign is about challenging the way we think about and perceive bias. The technology industry is lagging in Diversity & Inclusion (D&I). We are aware of the problem and are actively taking steps to move the needle—we want people, regardless of gender, race/ethnicity, to know they are welcome at HP. The campaign and spots that emerged are intended to be a wakeup call to the unconscious bias that still exists. The message is simple: HP is hiring and talent is our only criteria.
What’s the intention of the diversity campaign?
Reinvent Mindsets shines a light on unconscious bias, demonstrating our values around diversity and the actions we are taking to fight bias. Our vision is for HP to become the employer of choice for women and other underrepresented groups seeking careers in technology, and Reinvent Mindsets helps us tell that story. To date, we’ve released two spots including “Let’s Get In Touch” and “Dads and Daughters” and have provided unconscious bias training at all levels of the company. Our unconscious bias training program started with our global talent acquisition organization and leaders and have increased training programs for hiring managers across the company.
The "Dads and Daughters" spot really struck a lot of people. Are women really given the type of interview advice used in the ad?
The tips used in “Dads and Daughters” were all sourced from and found in a variety of consumer and business outlets including Cosmopolitan, Fox and the New Yorker.
What do women need to do to stand out from the crowd of applicants?
Our recommendation for any candidate, not just women, when speaking to a hiring manager or recruiter is to showcase their skills and experience in addition to how they can add value to a company. All candidates should conduct thorough research of the company and its products in order to stand out.
Can you share some insight into hiring at HP, particularly for engineering and software developer roles. What specific skills do candidates need to have/know in order to work for you?
The skills vary from role to role however a Bachelor’s degree in an engineering discipline is preferred. Engineering at HP is a broad category and can be anything from a Polymer Scientist to a Web Development Engineer.
The level of the role plays a key part as well. We typically like our new graduates to have an internship, however, our experienced roles can be more specialized in a particular area. Of course, we are looking for specific skills for any particular job (Python development for example), but we are also looking for growth potential, leadership skills, agility, and the ability to adapt to change.
Any tips on what NOT to do on a resume?
I get this question often and this list seems to grow each time. At a minimum, I recommend not including:
What’s the best way anyone has ever applied for a job?
I’ve made a lot of connections through referrals or via LinkedIn. Our process requires applicants to apply online but we’ve also had folks just show up and present a resume. I have however, had a leader meet a sales representative at a local Best Buy and because she had a great sales experience this particular VP offered the young lady a job on the spot with no experience. These examples are far and few but it can happen.
Do you use social media to research candidates?
LinkedIn Recruiter is our primary tool for candidate research or sourcing. We have access to search and view any profile to find great talent. We also work with other channel partners to find talent in the market as well. These partner sites allow us to source for specific skill sets to better align with the roles we are seeking to fill. We do also generally review social media presence for candidates that come in for interviews.