The 3 Pillars of Pinterest’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

September 23, 2015

Recently, Pinterest released its diversity metrics on its official engineering blog. The post, written by Tracy Chou, a tech lead, admits that Pinterest has a long way to go, but they’re excited to be a part of a movement to make the tech industry more diverse and inclusive.

Kate Fiedelman spearheads this movement at Pinterest, and takes a three-pillar approach to the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts: Recruiting, Branding, and Programs.

1. Recruiting

Kate admits that eliminating bias is difficult. Often, the hardest bias to overcome is one against schools or companies. Pinterest has put in place ideal diversity metrics for three categories: females in engineering, ethnic minorities, and schools/companies. Kate actively works with recruiters and hiring managers to compare their metrics against the company ideal, and keep them on track.

She also uses Greenhouse to ensure that they are making evidence-based decisions and to eliminate any bias during the interview process. “We do a lot of reviews of the types of questions we’re asking. We create a job kit before we open any rec,” she says. All of the Pinterest recruiters meet with hiring managers to determine what they actually need from the candidate, and make sure they are asking the right questions during interviews to get the information they need. “Greenhouse gives us the tools to make a well-informed decision.”

2. Branding

Kate reveals that diverse candidates are roughly 80% less likely to respond to a cold email from a recruiter. This is because they are less likely to move jobs because they are worried about being in a non-inclusive culture. Therefore, it’s really important to have a window into your company culture.

“You can get into the numbers, but a lot of it depends on the sentiment of your company. If you’re the only person in the group that’s different, it’s hard to be happy.” Pinterest encourages its employees to be part of driving a culture of diversity (see blog post above!). “We focus a lot on female engineers; we are cultivating a microculture of successful females and we want to give them an opportunity to participate.” For example, the company features profiles of its diverse engineering team on its blog, works closely with PR to communicate this sentiment, and sends a large group of female engineers to conferences. They also host in-house events and develop mentorship programs among females.

3. Programs

Pinterest works with a variety of organizations that feed diverse candidates into the company’s recruiting pipeline. A list of several are below:

  • Girls Who Code
  • Girls Teaching Girls to Code
  • XX+UX
  • Hackbright Academy
  • CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap, a documentary
  • Code2040
  • Anita Borg Institute

Kate credits Ben Silbermann, Pinterest’s CEO, for creating a culture in which diversity is important.

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