We recently came across this Business Insider article focused on how Reddit overhauled its team and reputation by looking outside of traditional sources to find a diverse team.

CPL understands the importance of diverse teams. We’ve directly experienced situations where a team tends to want to hire people that are “just like me” because it seems like a safe thing to do. It’s a natural approach and one that would make getting along with other team members easy. And what’s to complain about that? A team that gets along well plays well together and should be more productive right?

Not always.

The challenge with having everyone come from the same backgrounds and companies and experiences often means that the same ideas are recycled over and over again. Some of the best hires on a team are those who bring a difference in perspective and will ask challenging questions like “why are we doing it this way?”

“I didn’t want to switch my job for the sake of switching it. I wanted to make sure that I would actually have an impact.”

-- Bhavana Shanbhag


Use Reddit’s lessons learned to find new team members

Expand your qualifications to include alternative schools

Explore recent grads from boot camps, trade schools and programs offering certification in months, not years. While some may scoff at these education channels, for some businesses, practical knowledge learned in fast-paced environments may be more beneficial to the team than rigid skills learned over the course of years. The affordability of these programs also makes them available to a broader range of students, which means your team will have more diversity.

Rethink your hiring messaging

People want to make a difference in an organization. What unique opportunities does your team (and business) provide for growth, nurturing and making an impact. What problems are you trying to solve? Some employees will choose a job that gives them more satisfaction over an average job with a more well-established company.

In the end, a diverse team with a wide variety of backgrounds will help the team be stronger by helping to challenge norms and thinking in new ways. It makes for learning for the entire team — including leadership — when this dynamic occurs.

That’s not to say that team hiring processes need to ignore core skills needed for a particular job. Just a nudge to say that sometimes how to get those skills in house isn’t only through a traditional path.

Today, the hiring environment is brutal, and as the article points out, one the reason that Reddit broke out of the usual team hiring mode is that good engineers were hard to find in Silicon Valley at the time. And the traditional engineers they found didn’t want to work for Reddit.

The lesson for everyone is that in a tough hiring environment, there is a silver lining and opportunity for teams to find new types of talent that can help transform a group into a more successful team.

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