In Summer 2015, at our biannual Zapier Retreat, we looked up and noticed the majority of Zapier's 27 team members at the time were male, white, and in our 20s and 30s. Applicants to our job openings, particularly in engineering, seemed mostly male (though we had not done demographic surveying up to that point to confirm this).
It would have been simple to look the other way because diversity in tech is pretty uncommon. We wanted to do better, though, because there is a large body of evidence that shows diverse teams build better products, make better decisions, and have more successful companies. Also, hiring and fostering a diverse team is just the right thing to do.
During that retreat, we started a candid conversation about our hiring process. We dug into what we were doing well and where we were falling short. Based on that conversation we started taking steps to fix practices that might unintentionally discourage people from applying to Zapier.
Some of these efforts have helped us reach a more diverse set of applicants, but there were still areas where we weren't succeeding. So, at our Summer 2016 retreat, we revisited the topic to see what more we could do, because by that time we had grown to 48 people and had more hands and voices that could contribute.
We needed a way to demonstrate our dedication to building a warm, open, and inclusive work environment—one that's safe for people of all backgrounds, including historically underrepresented groups such as people of color, LGBTQ people, people over 40 and women. And, we needed a place where we could track our progress towards those goals.
Several team members suggested publishing a public changelog of each step we've taken to improve our hiring process. This is that document.
We're committed to improving this process. After each new hire, we review the hiring process with the hiring team, and try to learn from each experience. We've also committed to reviewing our hiring process every six months at our team retreats to ensure we keep improving.
We also want to hear from you. If you have an idea based on your own experiences hiring, working on, and building diverse teams, please leave a suggestion for us.