Hiring Best Practices and Diversity and Inclusion with Rachael Stedman

Rachael StedmanRachael is an engineering manager for the infrastructure and backend teams at Lever, a collaborative hiring software product helping companies recruit and grow their teams. She joined the team in 2014 as a product engineer and was one of the first employees to kickoff internal discussions around diversity and inclusion. She transitioned into a management role over a year ago and is dedicated to growing engineering teams who have a strong combination of technical and soft skills.

On today’s episode we discuss best practices in hiring and diversity and inclusion in tech companies.

Contact Info:

Linkedn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/rkstedman/https://twitter.com/rkstedman

Twitter: @rkstedman

Show Notes:

Lever – The Diversity & Inclusion Handbook

Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well

Textio – Augmented Writing

Read Full Transcript

Christian Mccarrick:
[0:04] Good afternoon Rachel welcome to the show.

Rachael Stedman:
[0:07] Hi I’m really happy to be here.

Christian Mccarrick:
[0:09] Excellence my pleasure to have you here and I’m going to always like to point out when guests come in person to to to be on the show because I think it adds sort of servings using Dynamic to it so thank you for coming over from your offices on Market Street I believe.
The ritual why don’t we start a little bit with just a little bit of his background little bit of kind of how you got to where you are today.

Rachael Stedman:
[0:27] Yeah sure.
So I went to Franklin W Olin College of Engineering and I got my degree in electrical and Computer Engineering and I actually.
Didn’t want to go into software development I had had this experience in high school where I felt it was very disconnected from people.
And so at in college actually ended up taking a course that was.
Completely invented like it wasn’t even actually on the curriculum of the presser was like let’s do some mobile app development and it’s so new and I did that and I part as part of that we actually released application,
so
I got to release my first Android application and get real users feedback on it and that experience was so exciting that I decided that that’s what I wanted to do.
So

Christian Mccarrick:
[1:25] Engineer feedback like in a loop thing that ever gets its like that fix right.

Rachael Stedman:
[1:30] Yes yes.

Christian Mccarrick:
[1:31] First dates that fix you.

Rachael Stedman:
[1:32] So that yeah that lets me to Certifix exploring internships at Intuit and their Innovation lab and I,
for a while I was considering going into product management so I internet Google as an associate product manager but ultimately I decided I wanted to stay an engineer,
and I,
worked at a professional services company called mobiquity for about 2 years as a group from around 50 people to over 250 so.
Growth the very different than like a product company cuz it’s Professional Services space so I thought I saw a lot of different products,
Technologies there but after a while I just was really hungry to have my ownership over what I was doing so I went.
I did what anyone does when they’re not sure what they want to do and I move to Australia.

Christian Mccarrick:
[2:30] Course not.

Rachael Stedman:
[2:31] And the more realistically I wanted to explore a start-up technology community.
Somewhere other than the US and so I stayed in Melbourne for a while and I worked for a start about there and now it’s kind of the first time I worked heavily in JavaScript.
And so when I came back to the US I was looking for a company to join.
That’s how I felt had a team and a product I could really get behind and really excited about and could see myself working on for the next like 4 to 5 years at least and that’s how I found liver and I’ve been there ever since.

Christian Mccarrick:
[3:12] And lever that if I’m correct right they have you written some JavaScript sort of framework yourself to.

Rachael Stedman:
[3:19] Yeah it’ll ever uses their own open-source framework called Derby I think the coolest thing about it is that it’s built on operational transform which is the same collaborative technology behind Google Docs.

Christian Mccarrick:
[3:31] Excellent and you join lovers an individual contributor right and then you progressed into being an engineering manager which are today right so tell me a little bit about that transition and how did that happen.

Rachael Stedman:
[3:43] So I think when you’re part of a growing startup there’s a lot of opportunities to step into leadership.
And I was I really cared about like lovers team.
Being like being built like responsibly in like in a healthy way and so am I and I also just had an interest in a lot of the things that you would normally associate with leadership but I actually was very skeptical of stepping into a management role.

Christian Mccarrick:
[4:16] Most people are good managers.

Rachael Stedman:
[4:17] So we’re like the the turning point for me was.
We were looking for a manager for our back in infrastructure team.
And we had been interviewing a bunch of people in there and find it like it’s really hard to hire external managers and so we were.
Finding like somebody with the right fit or skills fit or that we had what they were looking for.
I need approach me and ask hey would you be interested in subbing this role like in the absence of us finding somebody you’ve kind of started doing a lot of these responsibilities and I was like nope,
actually not interested.
But Nate was more persistent and he actually went back and he came up with two career paths for me so.
He knew I was really interested in exploring technical deaths and kind of going down the technical leadership paths is,
it but like not sure if that’s what I wanted for the management and so instead of being like 81 we manager he actually,
kind of painted both the technical path in like a project I could take on and the way they could grow and contribute that way as well as like what it would look like for me to step up,
and manage the back and infrastructure teams, that would look like and I sat down things like here’s your options and like.
You can do either of them and I’ll support you and either of them but you if you choose the technical path you have to let go some of these things that you’ve picked up.

Christian Mccarrick:
[5:56] Bellville tomato.

Rachael Stedman:
[5:57] Yeah and I was in so I really thought about it was a really tough decision for me but I sort of chose the one that I couldn’t not do.
And the things that I picked up I’d like had picked up because I really wanted to do them and I also asked me as like if I if I don’t like it can I go back and he’s like sure like thank you.

Christian Mccarrick:
[6:17] Yeah I think that’s an important part that some people Overlook when they go into manager or some moving companies don’t support very well is that ability to go and was talking about on the show before the ability to give the option for someone who’s trying out a manager position,
actually I see route without it being like a failure or anything like that right now kind of give you the net okay I’ll give it to go I’ll try.
It also sounds like an awesome to the negotiating tactic on his part.
And also I think a very good coaching sort of tool Writing Center presents you a little bit of the outline of these two options right sounds like a good manager.

Rachael Stedman:
[6:48] Yes I I really appreciated that he laid it out that way cuz I think it’s really important.
It was really important for me to do a good job as a manager to make it feel like a choice like that I chose it and it wasn’t because I had no other option so laying out both options and giving me the time to consider,
what I wanted and what I was looking for when I did make the choice to go and into the management role.
I was prepared to take on the challenges and it’s a very hard transition to make so you kind of want to be ready.

Christian Mccarrick:
[7:23] A lot of people don’t get the opportunity to be ready though and even if you are don’t think you aren’t quite ready to.

Rachael Stedman:
[7:28] You know.

Christian Mccarrick:
[7:30] And how long have you been in that manager World in now.

Rachael Stedman:
[7:32] Address of earlier.

Christian Mccarrick:
[7:34] Okay okay how’s it has a year been going.

Rachael Stedman:
[7:36] It said I mean.
It’s been a lot but it’s also been incredibly rewarding I there’s a lot of aspects that I really enjoy about being a,
I manager I especially at lever I feel super lucky with the team that we have I think.
There’s a lot of skepticism in general in engineering around the value of managers,
and it’s really hard to be a manager in an environment where people are skeptical in like the man do you like proof your necessary and I was lucky enough to step into a,
leadership on a team that really wanted it was like hungry for having somebody in that role in.
Like it doesn’t mean there’s a lot of high expectations that they have for me but I’d rather have that than them like not thinking that I should exist.

Christian Mccarrick:
[8:34] Sure yeah I know that’s that’s awesome and when you took over that role did you serve and how much are the team did you inherit versus now have you added to soda that you hired into the team ourselves.

Rachael Stedman:
[8:44] Yeah so I did so there were two infrastructure Engineers on the team when I.
Started to mention troll so I did have to transition like those. They shouldn’t chips and.
I think that was that was a little bit difficult I think my part to just.
It’s it was definitely lonely that first year like you go from having and I at the time I was also the only engineering manager so is like me and Nate and.
Has a lot on his plate he’s not always like a readily available so not going from like having this entire team of people that I could talk to and if I had a major problem go and.
Prank call somebody in whiteboard it out and still having a lot of like my my biggest problems being about things that I couldn’t share with the larger team.

Christian Mccarrick:
[9:46] Sure right and if you look back on this heard of year can a retrospective lie any kind of mistakes you made that you can share or anything that you know you might have been a little different knowing what you do now.

[10:03] Without getting too personal because they’re a year old well there’s only one team and this is only one person.

Rachael Stedman:
[10:11] I mean I think I mean this is something that I’m still working on today.
But finding that balance between autonomy and guidance and support.
I I feel that I said like I’m always finding myself like trying to refine like what’s the right balance between those things cuz.
I know I talked to it I talked to my team about this like if there’s are the Squadron.
We’re if somebody’s fully competent and there’s too much management involvement that’s where you get like micromanagement but if you if they’re not well equipped to do the role and you’re not giving them a support.
That makes them feel uncomfortable there’s a lot of risk for the business and it but then if you.
If there’s like a mismatch of expectations for the report or the manager on those things that they may feel like you’re micromanaging when you feel like you’re coaching and vice versa.
And I think the other the others are the Tennessee I have like I’ll give people space to do I like I’ll be think I’ll give them a ton of me but then something goes wrong I want to be helpful and I like swoop into like saves the day and then I’m like oh no I should like I actually like.
Like took away that power that I liked it.

Christian Mccarrick:
[11:32] The opportunity for them to learn from something like that.

Rachael Stedman:
[11:35] So recognizing moment I’m doing that and stopping myself but like also trying to fix trying to recognize mom as well actually it is important for me to step in cuz like.
There’s it’s like too risky to like let it just kind of layout.

Christian Mccarrick:
[11:51] And I think that’s good the way you’re approaching it because it’s want to changes by,
individual rights of everyone needs something else and it also changes by the situation in the month and the project you’re on so it’s really a constant evaluation of what you’re doing it right and you said something really important to you that you talked about it with your team.
And a lot of managers I think afraid to.
Bring something up like that with the team because they think they’re supposed to have all the answers and if they talk to the team about something they might think that I’m a manager is clueless and.
She is and what she’s talking about and but no it actually I think I found with myself and my team that they appreciate that’s her.
Openness and let me know how I’m doing let’s let’s have the sort of feedback cycle so that I’m here for you and but we do have to make business decisions and kind of Vice Versa right so that’s all good.

Rachael Stedman:
[12:39] It’s very helpful cuz if I give them the framing that I’m using then they can tell me like oh no actually I think you’re putting me in this micro-management category and we can have a conversation about.

Christian Mccarrick:
[12:50] Interesting you would you recommend anyone that’s was in your shoes,
right and they’re jumping into management say there are there the tech lead or they have the manager presenting this this to set of decision to them what would you you know,
talk to someone who you a year ago and say okay with what additional information they might want to have or some things that they should watch out for in that to the first 90 days or first year.

Rachael Stedman:
[13:18] I think one of the things that.
Really helped me but it took me awhile to figure out I could do it is looking Beyond engineering for people managers in puritan like support as a man.
I especially if you’re part of a small startup there may not be that many engineering managers yet.
And so then you can feel very alone and it’s really important I think as a manager to have people to like bounce things off of cuz you can’t share everything.
Like you can’t go talk about another director for it with the director for it so.

Christian Mccarrick:
[13:59] That’s it that’s a no no.

Rachael Stedman:
[14:00] So like you know if you’re trying to figure out how to have a coaching conversation and you want to like do a role play or.
Are you kind of want to,
try to make sense of like what’s going on like having those resources and when I figured out that I could actually talk to fuel advantage of other teams that lever it was amazing cuz we have some amazing leaders on customer success,
and marketing and sales and just like being able to tap in to all of those great leaders for resources was amazing.

Christian Mccarrick:
[14:34] Yeah that sounds great point.
It does feel lonely but reach out to your resources that’s it, damn I got from a lot of gas I have on the show it you are not alone there’s either it’s in the company or outside of company into your point don’t always think that it has to be an engineer manager right this great leaders and managers.
Have nothing to do with engineering and maybe they’re smarter.
I don’t know right now if you work at lever and it’s a company focuses on hiring and tools for hiring and recruitment of the whole interview process.
And I assume you use your own company’s tools and drives year on hiring right.
So that’s an awesome thing to be able to sort of get that instant feedback right using the two feedback if it works for you or not that’s definitely good opportunity.
First off for for some of that the gas out there for managers are new to managers levers and one of the big functions it’s is an applicant tracking system.
Right once you just a minute what what is that mean what is an applicant tracking system.

Rachael Stedman:
[15:33] So the applicant tracking system is the industry term and.
What what letter does we help companies with all parts that are hiring process for um.
Finding candidate sourcing candidates accepting job application managing the entire hiring pipeline scheduling interviews sending Outreach emails to candidates,
collecting feedback from all of the interviewers how you coordinate that hiring decision and then of course on the,
reporting side how are you doing with your hiring process how are your conversion rates looking for each stage of your pipeline.

Christian Mccarrick:
[16:10] What why is something like this important for companies to use.

[16:25] Or I should say your why is a why is a Serta formal process I guess you know that I repeat will process important for companies to use in their hiring.

Rachael Stedman:
[16:36] Yeah I think well.
I think I meant by companies with different processes that use lever I think for this all go, go back to like what got me excited about joining lover in the first place,
if you’d asked me 5 years ago it whether I’d be excited about working on hiring software I would have just given you a confused look.
So what I what I learned sort of talking to the co-founders is.
When the Kyrie is ultimately about who you’re working with,
and when you’re talking to anyone who’s looking for a job almost everyone in their top 3 will be like the people that I’m working with really matter of the really important,
and if you talk to people who are working at companies about some of their top challenges engineering managers or VP of marketing and you asking like what’s like one of your biggest challenges will be like finding great talent like,
building my team it comes up over and over and I think of.
When you think of how teams are making various impacts in the world like various companies like they’re trying to assemble a team to have some kind of positive impact on the world and finding the right people for that team is the first step to that,
then that’s hiring and lover as a product I think.
The way that we really approach to building tools for this very important process is focusing on the collaboration aspect so really treating.

[18:10] Candidates hiring managers recruiters interviewers all,
people that are stakeholders in the hiring process as first class citizens and really considering their experience while building out of product.
I think one of the things that surprised me when we were first building lever is we would get tweets from candidates applying using lever to other companies.
Like the level of like the light you have to receive two to look at the powered by lever.
I’m going to treat at this company that I just cuz I just applied to some other company using their form and it was great.

Christian Mccarrick:
[18:49] Who it is I mean haven’t gone through lots of painful.
This applicant processing things in the past 2 of almost like there’s been cases righteous not apply.
Right because I’ve been so and some of that you just don’t like the bigger companies are in the past I just I’ve been so frustrated that I have to log in and then it that my password doesn’t work and I have to upload a file format and then I’m like I’m done.
It’s not worth me and I’ve lost if I’m doing that who’s maybe more.
Technical Savvy and has a lot of patience other people that you know they’re their Acropolis right is probably pretty large.
Interesting point you said one of the things when you talk and you doing the interviews with these hiring managers is hiring is very important right it’s one of the hardest things to do know how much time do you think that a hiring manager should spend.
You know on average if they’re in there renting if their team what percentage of their time do you think I should actually spend on dedicated to some process of that hiring right whether it’s right in the job descriptions or the actual interview feedback.

Rachael Stedman:
[19:58] I think it’s tough to the prescribed like a specific percentage for everyone and it’s also very cyclical.
Depends on you know what roles and you know have you hired for that role before how much investment is going to take to ramp it up when we were when I was growing out the back in at 4:40 a.m.
Lever I spent a lot of time and just ramping up the process and we we write something called impact description,
before opening a roll and their names,
that way instead of job posting because we want to focus on really articulating the impact that rules going to have describing,
what is a person going to do of value are they going to add to the company rather than what are the credentials that they need to have.
And it really focuses you on what.
What are you going to be looking for in evaluating for and this role before you even start building on an interview process or have candidates in the pipeline.

Christian Mccarrick:
[21:03] Sure you’re not a great point I think other companies I’ve talked to you have done similar things named different things but it’s right unless you all too often I think people we just need to hire.
Right if you don’t know why you’re hiring I think it also leads you to maybe hire people that might not be the right fit,
or they come in and you don’t have the exactly what you’re telling them from the zoo and then it come in and they do feel a little lost and then you’ve sort of lost them at the day one right cuz I don’t feel that their impact is.
Which is important for people for attention.

Rachael Stedman:
[21:32] You want to set everyone up for Success that comes in.

Christian Mccarrick:
[21:36] Absolutely no I mean if you had your way in and you you can influence it right thing if you come here at what would be the critical steps,
for like the ultimate hiring process Ramen every company is a little different for food and if I like the top three things or four things that really should be a part of every hiring process does be for you.

Rachael Stedman:
[22:09] I think reflection and iteration on your process is a hugely important aspect as you mentioned.
Companies are going to have different hiring needs and the exact process is going to need to vary based on the roll.
And if you don’t have those feedback loops in place you’re not going to actually be able to adjust and iterate to make sure that your process is doing what you’re intending it to do.
I don’t remember where I read it but there was a company that reflected on their technical phone screen and found that,
the exercise just correlated with what language was being used so they were very effectively screening candidates by their language preference.
But not much else and I think that there’s often things that we put in place in our hiring process he’s with one intention that have another impact.
And if you’re not looking at your results and then using that to inform how you are iterating and changing your process you’re going to get some unintended consequences.

Christian Mccarrick:
[23:16] Yeah they are silly.
As part of the process when your team do you is everyone located to the pier in San Francisco or do you also is your engineering team made up of some remote Engineers as well.

Rachael Stedman:
[23:28] Morocco located.

Christian Mccarrick:
[23:29] You look alligator and if you have any information and if you know I’m not sure what kind of percentage you think it on your hiring platform and and for people who.
Are trying to hire people that aren’t say in the local area and they might be a remote right to have any feedback for people who use your system for their hiring remotely and how they they can help.
Do that best in the hiring process if you don’t it’s fine.

Rachael Stedman:
[23:56] I really.

Christian Mccarrick:
[24:01] No. There’s something that I get that that that’s definitely cool right so I think one of the things that.
When you talk about before is her the feedback cycle in interviews right and it’s one of those things like that lever helps managers to do right to keep track of that.
What do you think of the important things are what are you do for kind of feedback process for employees.
That you know you’re keeping warm or employees at maybe you know your declining to work with you right and how it what is the best way to give feedback to the applicant to maybe you’re you’re not going to choose for the role.

Rachael Stedman:
[24:38] So we,
we’d have to do a couple things so there’s the internal feedback on how I process is going internal reflection as well as collecting that external feedback from candidates so we send out a candidate experience survey,
after anatevka on site and so we get a lot of anonymous feedback that way on how we can improve our process.
So we’ll learn things that we might not have picked up on cuz the candidate will like share for their perspective and.
Internally we at the end of an on-site we will have a huddle with all the interviewers and part of the reason for that is like wool.
You know get the hiring manager will be able to get an overview of all the feedback and help make a hard decision acne follow question.
Early in the specially early in the process if you’re like trying out like an entirely new interview pipeline.
It’s also about calibration and understanding what’s working well like did we get enough signal from this interview.
What like is there Clarity on does the interviewer have Clarity on what the hiring manager is expecting interview to evaluate is there any mismatch there and can we work that out.

Christian Mccarrick:
[25:58] And is that review process internal who’s about the hiring manager the main recruiter Would We the People.

Rachael Stedman:
[26:06] Hiring manager technical recruiter and the interviewers in.

Christian Mccarrick:
[26:09] Okay so all the whole panel cuz together right interesting in what is the process then that you do or recommend companies to do with how would they.
Make changes based upon that right or have you done any things or anything you have experience or you’ve gotten feedback and then you’ve changed the process at all because of the feedback you’ve gotten.

Rachael Stedman:
[26:44] Yes so I think one of the things that we did early on is.
We are we started to share what our interview process was before candidates came on site.
And we didn’t want cannabis to be surprised or like feel like they’re being evaluated on like how well can you like anticipate what are interview process.
So we started sharing these interview packets where we would lay out like oh you’re going to do a pair programming and you’re going to do a code review interview and it’s with this person and here’s a little bit of information about your interviewer and,
like giving,
kind of a heads up for so they kind of know what to expect and then it’s not as scary or.
You know nerve-racking cuz you sort of know at like a high level at least what to expect and you can kind of focus then I’m putting your best foot forward.

Christian Mccarrick:
[27:42] Yeah I think that’s a really good idea and I think one of my previous guests to his mention similar thing if not at least,
Advanced at least when they walk in the door that first 15 minutes this is what the day looks like this is what you’re going to do so,
they’re not going to be like what’s next is that terrible horrible like whiteboard exercise next and they’re freaking out when they’re doing you know another person really can’t relax for like less person really uptight you know I think that’s really good to know.
At what size company was Leverett when you join in then where are they at now Sarah from it and a headcount stand for.

Rachael Stedman:
[28:14] We were about 10 people when I joined and I think we’re at over $150.

Christian Mccarrick:
[28:22] Oh well yeah that’s pretty that’s that’s a pretty decent size for us right and it would it what changes have you have you seen or or can you recommend for,
other engineering managers are going through service companies that are going to that cuz it’s a pretty common size from that 10 or 15 ft of my joint and you going to that hundred fifty made,
any things you might recommend to other engineering managers at watch out for this you might start seeing this at this you know the stage of the upcoming growth anything like that.

Rachael Stedman:
[28:50] Yeah I mean I think that.
One of the one of the sureties is that there will be a need to evolve.
So I’ve seen sort of many Evolutions during my time.
At lever I think the first was really going from the most important thing is to ship the product because we have no customers like we want to get something out there to a we have customers and we have to be wrapped actually shift culture to be more about.
Focusing on like the reliability and like communication of new features to how do we scale this.
And more at most recently I think the biggest Team Evolution is going from one engineering team to project team.

Christian Mccarrick:
[29:37] Okay sure.

Rachael Stedman:
[29:39] Cuz that happened at some point and so that’s actually gone really well and it’s it’s kind of amazing how when you restructure things in kind of just that gives.
Look at how engineer’s will come up with.
New ways of doing things that work really well when we shifted to project teams there.
At first I think a lot of the Timberlake will what like we have this problem how do we solve it Marco he’s our director product engineering and I would be like well like how would you feel like what’s stopping you from solving.
And they would be like oh and go and come up with a solution and then share it out the other project teams and then they would adopt it and one of the things that came out of that.
Is these about me can’t like.
User manuals that the project teams will do as part of a kickoff so they’ll learn a little bit about each other each other’s working preferences and then it kind of saves time at like when they’re working together to figure those details out.

Christian Mccarrick:
[30:50] And are there more than one is there more than one as you’re a manager now inside of supper or you still okay.

Rachael Stedman:
[30:55] Yes yes we have theirs neat myself Marco a director of product engineering and Alex Choi just joined as an engineering manager on Prada.

Christian Mccarrick:
[31:06] And how to set up. You know it was hiring managers is always sort of different right what it was he did you hire from external or is it from Ocean from within.

Rachael Stedman:
[31:15] So far Marco and Alex both joined externally and it did take a long time for us to find both of them but we are very happy with the results.

Christian Mccarrick:
[31:27] What are some things that cuz I do have other.
Listeners out here to who are that matters is managers or on a panel to help hire another injury management organization what are some of the top things that might be different for hiring a manager than for an individual contributor that you just want to look out for.

Rachael Stedman:
[32:04] Something that I think are the same or like knowing what level you’re looking for like same with you know a software engineer.
Like knowing are you looking for somebody who’s more senior for these reasons or someone is newer and I think the same is true for managers.
Are you able to support a manager who like somebody who may be looking for the first manager position or do you actually need somebody who has certain experience.
To come in the door and be able to bring certain things in the door.
We also started with an impact description and I think one of those things that is more important for managers is finding that values alignment.
Which means that you have to articulate what that was values are in like your and what aspects of Lake reflecting on,
what are the aspects of management philosophies that you’re currently cultivating at your company articulating those and then,
maybe deciding some of them you don’t want to keep and you actually bring someone in is going to help change that but then what are the ones that are court and then making sure that the higher the manager that you bring on is like.
Okay with that is in alignment with that.

Christian Mccarrick:
[33:21] I’m an old gray points and what to put on to I like when you talk about,
Innovative stationary talk about the values right versus culture and I think that’s been a lot of talk about that lately about you know culture has been sort of the,
you know to have beers with a person versus values like are your core beliefs and everything else aligned with management style philosophy company Mission and Direction right now I think that’s it that’s an important change that were trying to I think.
A lot of us are trying to focus more on these values instead of this quote on doing your code so I can see me right going to go culture values.
How to change direction of a two and talk a little bit about diversity inclusion and.
Your company lever has I think it’s about a 50-50 gender ratio right for for females and males what do you think it’s been were the top reasons for sore of the cheating that level least of gender diversity at your company.

Rachael Stedman:
[34:16] It’s so.

[34:22] I actually find it easier to speak to like the engineering team specifically if that’s if that’s.

Christian Mccarrick:
[34:25] Sure yeah yeah well that’s what you know you have so that yeah yeah.

Rachael Stedman:
[34:28] So think your engineering team is about 43% women.

Christian Mccarrick:
[34:33] Which is still very high for standards.

Rachael Stedman:
[34:37] Yeah and I and I think I personally I think one of the reasons for that is the fact that from the beginning we were thoughtful about.
Our interview process and what we okay can I start over.

Christian Mccarrick:
[35:01] Absolutely.

Rachael Stedman:
[35:15] Larry’s engineering team is 42% women and one of,
the reasons I think that’s true although I don’t really have any way to know for sure is because early on WE focused on emphasizing and valuing non technical skills in addition to technical skills.
In one of the ways we did that is by introducing it into a hiring process from the beginning,
we actually have a project interview that specifically focuses on assessing soft skills on technical skills,
and I don’t think this is because you know women are necessarily better these skills I think.
That what can happen is that.
Because Society expects women to have a skills they tend to develop them and then if they end up on a team we’re not sauce goes in on technical skills are undervalued and not rewarded or recognized they’ll get.
Like the like they’ll get burdened with a lot of that emotional labor and cuz no one else wants to do it.
And or even knows how or is rewarded for doing it.
And then they get burn out and they also can’t focus on like their technical skills or do the things that they want or grow in those ways so everybody loses and.
But I was really excited about doing it lovers building a team that celebrated both technical accomplishments as well as those non-technical.

[36:52] Efficiency team like doing great code reviews that leave your colleagues feeling energized and like motivated after getting that feedback.

Christian Mccarrick:
[37:02] Demoralized.

Rachael Stedman:
[37:03] Like how valuable is it if you have someone on your team who can give somebody feedback on their code where they come away from that being like I’m so excited to make these changes and I learned a ton,
vs someone who’s like maybe even more right or knows more about the specifics but the person comes away,
from that conversation interactions feeling completely broken down and just like I don’t know anything I’m so terrified of my next PR.
So it’s it’s those and then like you know also being being able to give and receive feedback I think is a really important skill that’s.
That’s hard to develop and has to be cultivated.
And helps with pure accountability I was reading somewhere these statistics online.
Managers teams that rely too much on manager accountability are like lower-performing or it have no manager accountability and then like the sweet spot is like a combination of peer accountability and manager accountability.
Fix a low census managers one person.

Christian Mccarrick:
[38:13] Did anybody on the team’s right and that’s important too.

Rachael Stedman:
[38:17] I think the fact that we were if by incorporating this into what we value it is an engineering team and looking for it in the people the engineers that we brought on board we not only,
we have Engineers of both genders that.
I have these really strong skills and it creates this team that can grow in Excel both technically and not.

Christian Mccarrick:
[38:48] Animated 22 you really want those skills no matter who the person is right no matter what the gender or anything else right those help your overall help your team regardless right having those are the soft skills.
Vbac code of use everything else right and the your company lever they published this great resource right it’s called the,
diversity and inclusion handbook and I definitely recommend all my listeners to go to leverage website and download this and read it especially for your manager,
I’ll put the link I might show notes it’s really also am I going to use it as a resource I hosted it moderated a panel on the recent occlusion last week and it is just has so much great information,
rights have some great starts and then at the end of like 50 things you can do to help build a more inclusive workspace right one of the quote from the beginning of says that,
the most successful diversity efforts don’t start with hiring they start with a conclusion right and what are your thoughts on that.

Rachael Stedman:
[39:48] I think a lot of ideal use you work on both same time.
But I think it’s important to think of diversity and inclusion as separate things so I’m like one access you have.
Homogeneous and diverse and on another you have inclusive and exclusive,
and it’s possible to have an inclusive homogeneous environment the dangers there are the risk of groupthink.
If you have so much modernity it’s everyone may feel really included but you’re not going to get the diversity of thought.
If you have a diverse environment that feels xclusive you’re going to end up with churned lots of turn.

Christian Mccarrick:
[40:43] Are silos and everything.

Rachael Stedman:
[40:44] Or silos and that’s also not a very effective way cuz you may have the diversity at least temporarily is a company but you’re not getting the value from it.
So takes a lot of deliberation deliberateness on the part of a company I think to create an inclusive and diverse environment.
And the inclusive aspect is actually getting that value from the diversity of your employees.
I also think it’s important to note that these are not binary traits like a company can’t be diverse it’s not something that you get to like check the box.

Christian Mccarrick:
[41:21] Catching hey how are done.

Rachael Stedman:
[41:23] I think of when I think of lever helping lovers engineering to become an inclusive environment I think of it as a journey as how can we put.
Skills and tools in place so that as a team,
we’re able to grow and become more inclusive overtime for an increasingly diverse Workforce and my goal is that lever can be an inclusive place for more and more people as we grow.

Christian Mccarrick:
[41:53] Sure I think it’s going to be talked about inclusion and you know Google in their project Aristotle and when they did their service manager isn’t that the number one thing they.
They found that really helped the best teams to operate the most effectively was everyone at Team feeling psychological safety.
Right and I think you know whether it’s about inclusion and diversity whatever I think just fostering a team that really focuses on being a psychological safety environment,
kinda helps that turn diversity and people from you know that might not be the same backgrounds would not actually be safe to voice their opinions and open everything else.

Rachael Stedman:
[42:28] Yes I think they’re very interrelated it like Gallup also talked a lot about engagement and play engagement.
I think that inclusion is very related to engagement if you don’t feel safe if you don’t feel included,
I don’t see how you can be engaged as an employee and doing your best work.

Christian Mccarrick:
[42:49] The opposite of things you’re worried about other stuff right no one of the things that we talked about in kind of the recruiting and hiring process is,
trying to reduce that.
Bias right in hiring know what are some of the things that either you do on your team’s or lead level recommends that that can help with reducing some advice and hiring.

Rachael Stedman:
[43:10] So I like to think of it as more mitigating the impact of bias cuz I think.
This is not something that you can get rid of so I think there’s a one of the big things would do is the impact of questions and why why does this relate to buy it.
One of the things that I think happened is it,
you’re trying to imagine as a hiring manager like who do I want to hire for this role and he starts thinking about the credentials you might think about all this person should come from the school and have these four years of experience and you start to like,
idealize like who this person is and then if,
someone comes along who can do the job but doesn’t fit that Vision that you have you will you look past them.
But if you start by focusing on what is this person need to do what does it was the actual impact I need to have the company and you and you leave off trying to describe who that person needs to look like or what credentials do you need to have,
you’re already in a better place to set.
So if somebody with like a completely unexpected non-traditional background comes along and you’re like hey this person actually could do these things then you’re much more likely to move forward.
I think.
Another thing especially if you’re a small startup we when we talk about everything including we talked a lot about having data and I think that’s a great.

[44:46] Call in the great aspiration and it’s not always possible to get anything a statistical significance when they’re looking at putting candidates to your pipeline.
It’s in a when you’re a small engineering company you’re just not going to get certain numbers so I think that in those situations not being afraid to take action based on stories.
Or things that you don’t understand is if you’re coming from a place of a privilege like I think everyone wants to understand why someone’s experience was what it was or like really.
Understand where they’re coming from but I think one of the most empathetic things you can do is like not have a full understanding but still like take action based on that person’s story and it does a candidate.
From an underrepresented group goes to your interview process and is willing to give you feedback really listen and.
I think even like over index on that one person story because it’s so rare that you’re able to get that kind of that kind of feedback and you know what’s the harman / index.

Christian Mccarrick:
[45:56] Now that’s right.
And I think you left her when you’re posting job descriptions it does it plug into something that actually goes through and uses some textual analysis to job descriptions to,
give it a score whether it’s like a you know it’s friendly school or not for posting a having too much by saying two words one way or the other.

Rachael Stedman:
[46:17] The lever doesn’t do that but I will give a shout out to text you.

Christian Mccarrick:
[46:20] Text you that’s right I was.

Rachael Stedman:
[46:22] And you can definitely put your lover job postings and text you and get that feedback to improve them.

Christian Mccarrick:
[46:29] Yep we do use lever here by the way.

Rachael Stedman:
[46:32] Great to hear.

Christian Mccarrick:
[46:33] At the hotel Manor, just required to return to see how we can work that into you know that the the parent company no and then see if we can use the news. Cuz you are going to do some more.
Believe me having a process and something that helps and and some of the things that that Larry does just interview packets so I got to be just some things that can really help.
Yeah you you bought out who my interviewing what is this for like what am I I mean it helps it doesn’t matter process right but these are some of the tools that that help running around getting a resume in a woman for the job interview who’s this.

Rachael Stedman:
[47:09] Having each interviewer know what they’re evaluating for I think helps a lot.
Because it prevents them from being confused her in the absence of having explicit knowledge about what they should be evaluating for they are going to fill it in.
Subconsciously or consciously with whatever they have closest at hand so making sure that’s explicit and then.
That also helps them when they’re submitting feedback to really back up with concrete observations why they landed with the score that they did.

Christian Mccarrick:
[47:42] And what about no competition,
right mean Fair compensation you know some companies publish it some companies have a few in a career ladders and in each one just kind of the appropriate ladder is is level 2 that set you what do you and some people have talked about not.
No negotiation at all and job offers and various things his can just let her do anything specific that you can talk about anyway that’s related to sort of like Fair competition.

Rachael Stedman:
[48:13] So I think that we.
In general a lot of people are trying different things a conversation because we know it’s a challenge in again I think this is something that.
The best thing you can do is have a feedback loop and be really thoughtful about what.
The processes you put in place at your company lover specifically we.
Do you have a leveling system so I think that having levels and then comparing.
Those level compounds against Market data to ensure that as like a company whatever your your your goal is in terms of.
Yeah but there’s like to Market and having those established and making sure that all the managers would have liked on the same page with like what.
The eat criteria are for you we’re still iterating and figuring those out and we also.
Hasn’t been as much of a challenge of getting all the managers on board because we haven’t had too many managers.
Really easy to get everyone in the room and on the same page so I think that maybe our next challenge is going to be like how do we make sure that,
there’s enough definition like documented and calibration that it’s consistent as we continue to grow the teams and have more and more managers.
But I think.

[49:44] Tying tying comp explicitly two levels and then making and then really investing in like how you play people those levels and.
And holding yourself accountable.

Christian Mccarrick:
[49:55] Sure no great and one thing that I asked about if my guests to.
What’s kind of the most recent book you’ve read about management or engineering or anything or the past year that was there any resource you use at all when you kind of got to step into this role that helped you,
figure some stuff out I was like it was a blog post to book slack Channel anyting.

Rachael Stedman:
[50:19] So I love reading and I both read books and I also listen to books audiobook.
And I read locks so one of my favorite books to recommend.
Is it called thanks for the feedback and I don’t remember the author’s there’s three of them but they’re the same authors for difficult conversations.
But it the book is all about how to receive you back well.
And I have taken so much from reading this book so many books talk about how you should be giving feedback.
But the but the focus on like how to receive feedback is so helpful and.
You can it’s kind of like how do you see if you back when it’s probably delivered you’re not in the mood it’s just plain wrong but there’s a lot out there still value to be clean from all of that.
And one of the things actually it it talks about assertive there being three types of feedback appreciation evaluation and coaching.
Appreciation being like you know I value you I see you and valuation being like this is where you’re at like this is like an evaluation of your work or project.

Christian Mccarrick:
[51:37] Quantitative.

Rachael Stedman:
[51:39] And coaching being you know how can I help you like that help to improve like this is what I think you could do better in a lot of feedback misunderstandings her to come from a report expecting one and getting the other.
And so I actually do this like like temperature check with my team where I have them like rain,
for appreciation coaching evaluation how much they feel like they’re receiving.
So like a psycho like you don’t feel like you’re getting that much appreciation for me like what what are the things that you would expect or coaching evaluation so that cuz I think this is a mismatch there it can be.
And the manager didn’t know about it it could be really easy to fix and you just don’t know.

Christian Mccarrick:
[52:22] It’s right in the book is on the desk right over there actually by the way silly if you can find the authors on there and I’ll definitely put that in my show notes to because and you also mentioned another book to I think that difficult conversations in those crucial conversations.
It’s so much I think management right is so much about I just had proper expectations setting communication feedback.
Hey if you master just some of those three things that you’re well on your way.
Anything else you can want to add to the listeners out there any other comments everything.

[52:59] If you don’t I don’t even I cut the question so it’s cool.

Rachael Stedman:
[53:03] No

Christian Mccarrick:
[53:04] Well Rachel I want to say thank you very much for coming in this afternoon turning it evening really appreciate you taking the time to do this I had a great conversation.

Rachael Stedman:
[53:12] Thank you so much I had a great conversation too.

Christian Mccarrick:
[53:14] Absolutely have a good day.

 

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