5 Lessons on Building a Diverse Company From the Start
By Abadesi
3 min read
anthony ware
ryan brown
Angelica Hodges
Thomas Cole
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Oluwaseyi Fakoya
How do you *actually* build a diverse team?
Makers around the world are on a quest to innovate in new spaces and recent studies show how innovation and diverse teams are closely linked.
But how do you build a diverse team? It’s something most founders struggle with, often finding themselves working with folks who share their identity or come from similar backgrounds.
We spoke with Diversify Tech’s Veni Kunche and Compassionate Coding’s April Wensel to gather insights on how you can build a diverse company from the ground up. To hear these interviews in full subscribe to our podcast Product Hunt radio.

1. Make your interviews more inclusive

Be creative with how you assess the talent of engineering candidates. Many folks find spontaneous coding challenges anxiety-inducing. To avoid this, April asked engineering candidates to talk her through projects they were proud of. She found this technique helped her find talented developers from less represented backgrounds.

2. Don’t be elitist

Be open-minded about where you recruit from. April has successfully recruited engineering talent at conferences where she was a guest speaker. Be wary of falling into predictable patterns of sourcing talent from the same spots. Great candidates can be found in all corners.

3. Build a culture where everyone feels like they belong

April talks about how many women and other underrepresented people in tech have horror stories of being singled out at work for something unrelated to their job in ways that drastically diminish their productivity e.g. comments about their appearance. Ensure you’re cultivating a culture of equality and openness where everyone feels they are supported to succeed in their roles.

4. Check the language in your job ads

Veni works with companies who are actively trying to recruit more women and other underrepresented people into their tech companies. She reminds us how research shows women only apply to jobs where they meet all requirements listed, whereas men apply to jobs even if they only meet a fraction of requirements listed. For this reason, in your job ads clarify what skills really are essential and which are nice to have.

5. Always reflect on what’s working and what’s not working

Veni reminds us that the work of building a company is a marathon, not a sprint. Constantly reflect on your tactics and initiatives and ask yourself what’s working and what isn’t. Be willing to adapt based on the results and continue reflecting as your journey progresses.
To get more advice from other Makers, start a discussion in our community here.
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