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Twitter wants to be the most diverse and inclusive tech company in the world, which is why we are not shy about sharing our goals around diversity.

A perusal of our quarterly inclusion and diversity blog will show our 2025 diversity goals and our representation progress, with an in-depth look at our technical and leadership roles. As a company, our commitment is that at least half of our global Tweepforce will be women, and in the U.S., at least a quarter will be underrepresented minorities – specifically Black, Latinx, Native American, Alaskan, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, or Multiracial.

With ambitious diversity goals like these, our technical and leadership hires must help Twitter meet them. And for that reason, we have gone into test-and-learn mode to create and refine our recruiting strategies. 

We are treating our engineering recruiting truly like lean innovation: failing fast and succeeding faster. We are so happy to share what we have been doing and would love to hear from you about anything that has moved the needle for diversifying your engineering teams.

Diversify the recruiting team

Companies frequently spin up a team responsible for being the center of excellence for all things pertaining to diversity recruiting. This may work at larger companies where you put the onus of mastery on a select few, but due to Twitter’s size and the speed with which we have to move to compete with the larger tech companies, we have to ensure that everyone understands our diversity recruiting goals and strategies. We then have to equip everyone to execute against them. This shared responsibility can be daunting if you don’t have the lived experiences of an underrepresented or marginalized group.

So, instead of embedding a diversity recruiting team within our organization, we have opted to diversify the entire recruiting team. We fully recognize that there is value in candidates seeing themselves reflected at every stage of the hiring process, including at the initial recruiting touchpoint. As such, there are members of our recruiting team who share lived experiences with the diverse candidates who we seek to hire. Does every candidate have a cultural mirror on our recruiting team? Likely not, but that is okay. The ultimate goal is to make sure that the recruiting team has sliding doors – recruiters and recruiting leaders who are willing to learn and understand others (critical reflection) while bringing about changes in how we go to market for diverse talent (thoughtful action). When you are a sliding door, you’ve bought into our diversity recruiting goals and strategies, and are leading the way to change what our engineering teams look like. If you aren’t familiar with the concept of windows, mirrors, and sliding doors, it is one I have adapted to our recruiting work from my parent advocacy work with my children and their school curriculum.

Recruit, retain, and promote diverse senior engineering leaders

We have doubled down on senior engineering hiring as we know that diverse leaders are magnets for diverse talent. In the last two years, we have had some pretty dynamic and diverse engineering leaders join our team, including Nick Caldwell (VP of Consumer Engineering); Brian Black (VP of Core Infrastructure Engineering); Lei Yang (VP of Discovery, Connect, and Interests Product Engineering); Carrie Fernandez (Sr. Director of Site Reliability Engineering); and Ari Font Litijos (Director of Machine Learning Ethics Transparency and Accountability) to name a few. We have also promoted Joy Su (VP of Product Foundation) and Jessie Link (VP of Team Development) to engineering VP level and a number of other diverse candidates to Director level in acknowledgment not only of their business contributions, but also of our strong desire to retain top diverse talent. Why groom diverse talent for someone else to show them more appreciation via promotion and leveling?

These senior leaders understand what it means to ‘always be recruiting’ and make themselves available to share job openings, attend (recruiting) events and conferences, participate in candidate calls at all stages of the recruiting process, and anything else we need to ensure that diverse engineering candidates see and believe that they belong in tech. Follow them on Twitter, they’re always posting content that gives you such an honest glimpse into who they are not only as leaders, but also as people.

Train the engineers to focus on diverse talent

In 2018, Twitter went on the hunt for a new leader of their technical recruiting organization.

While there was the official job description of what the successful candidate looked like, Michael Montano, Head of Engineering, simply asked, ‘Can we find an engineer who is knowledgeable about talent acquisition?’ Not only did they find an engineer who loves talent, but they also found an engineer who was a diversity recruiting practitioner and able to speak her clients’ love language of data and strategy. That ‘she’ is me (#HumbleBrag) and I partner closely with Montano to bring his vision of building a diverse, high-performing, and globally-distributed engineering team to life.

Contrary to popular belief, we also know that the recruiting team doesn’t make offer/no offer decisions. The engineering managers at the various levels do. So no matter how culturally competent we make the recruiting team, this must be matched by a culturally competent engineering org. I’m so pleased that our engineering managers not only dove head first into our suite of inclusion and diversity training –which included inclusive hiring principles and diverse slates – but are also daily visitors to the diversity recruiting toolkit. This toolkit gives them ideas on how to attract diverse talent that can be customized to their particular engineering hiring needs.

Shared diversity recruiting plans between talent acquisition and the business

If we truly believe it is everyone’s job to recruit diverse engineering talent, then how do you share the responsibility with the hiring managers and business leaders who have hiring within their spheres of influence and concern?

We do that with shared diversity recruiting plans that cover sourcing and candidate engagement strategies. Yep, this includes technical and diversity conferences such as LeadDev, NeurIPS, Afrotech, and Latinas in Tech – as well as branding approaches. The recruiting team and business leaders partner very closely to deliver on the engineering organization’s diversity goals. The partnership is key to ensuring we are truly in lockstep with how we show up to all candidates, but especially diverse candidates.

Work wherever you are best

We believe in giving people the flexibility and choice to work where they feel most creative and productive. Many of our roles can be done from various locations around the world; it’s foundational to building a diverse and inclusive team. Embracing remote work has been a huge unlock in attracting diverse engineering talent. We have seen tech hubs in cities like Atlanta, Houston, and DC spin up signaling the importance of tech companies following the diverse talent vs. expecting the talent to relocate. Harvard Business Review shares similar thoughts in this recent article.

As we near the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing companies pull back their remote and flexible work policies. Twitter sees this as part of how we work and will continue to give our engineering teams (and the entire company, as a matter of fact) the flexibility to work wherever they work best.

Follow @TwitterCareers to learn more about what we’re building. And to #JoinTheFlock, go to careers.twitter.com.

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