It’s easy to go into a room with someone and say: “They’re a lot like me, and I’m amazing. So they must be amazing.”
Hogue grew up in Chicago in the mid-90s — a self-described blue-collar kid who loved the Cubbies and deep dish pizza. Hogue wanted to go to college but knew that her family couldn’t afford it.
But she landed the opportunity to start writing software professionally. Eventually, Hogue got into her ’87 Dodge Chateau and set out for San Francisco. There, she was surrounded by folks with degrees from MIT or Stanford. Hogue worried that she wouldn’t be taken seriously.
“I think it’s an unhealthy relationship with college education,” she said.
As she advanced in her career, Hogue bumped into bias, but, in the end, tech did in fact take her seriously. And because of it, Hogue, the oldest of four, could help her siblings get through college and take care of her parents.
Hogue says Karat’s mission is to unlock opportunities — including for people like her younger self, individuals who want to leverage their aptitude for tech to change their lives and their families’ lives.
“If you have candidates from communities you’re looking to hire from that are constantly dropping off, then you probably need to reevaluate.”
To hire the right talent at the right time, Hogue notes that companies need a robust, diverse pipeline full of people who already have an affinity for the brand. She suggests forging relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and organizations like Women Who Code.
It’s also important to understand the dynamics of language in your messaging, particularly your job posts. Hogue suggests eliminating hypermasculine language common in tech (“10x!” and “coding ninja!”) in favor of neutral words like “empathy,” “collaboration,” and “communication.” Aggressive vernacular is likely to turn off women applicants, but neutral words won’t turn away majority-member applicants, says Hogue.
In fact, she adds, if a candidate is turned off by a word like empathy, they’re not likely to be a stellar addition to your team.
“Cater your language and your job postings towards the underrepresented community
that you’re looking for.”
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