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My role building and growing a team that’s Stronger Together

Author:

Hannah Scott

Published:

October 5, 2023

My role building and growing a team that’s Stronger Together

In my seven years recruiting talent both agency side and more recently in my role as Senior Talent Partner at Zip, one of the things that I’ve always strived for is providing excellence in the candidate experience. It’s something I’m proud to say is a huge focus for our team, and we often hear that the experience that candidates have during the recruitment process with us is one of the key reasons behind deciding to choose Zip.

I currently recruit into our Technology and Risk functions across ANZ, and our work is having an important impact on how we’re tracking against our diversity and inclusion goals, including how we’re building for gender balance to meet our target of 40% women, 40% men and 20% of any gender across the team.

Developing my passion for all things DEIB

Our focus on candidate experience to support our inclusive hiring goals has helped me develop a new interest in initiatives focused on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. It’s also led to a number of exciting opportunities that have broadened my skills and experiences beyond the ‘day job’. For example, I now deliver our company-wide Conscious Inclusion training - designed to bring Zipster’s together through a shared understanding of DEIB and to spot and challenge our biases - and have also partnered with amazing organisations like Girls in Tech to run events designed to help women technologists, including our own Zipsters, to accelerate their career goals.

Reflecting on my one and a half + years at Zip, it’s a great feeling to know my work is directly contributing to our goals as a business. One of the hires I look back on with a real sense of pride was actually one of the first roles I recruited for our Data Science squad. We hired a female Data Scientist who was finishing her studies at the time of her application, which meant she would have less tangible experience on the job compared to some of the other candidates. It's been awesome to see her fulfil the potential we knew she had at the time, and watch her grow and excel within her squad.

Designing for inclusion across the employee lifecycle

Since then, we’ve introduced a number of initiatives to ensure a fair and inclusive recruitment process for all candidates. This is a priority for our Talent Acquisition team, and it’s something we are always looking to get better at. We want our team to reflect the diversity of our customer base, and because we have such a diverse set of customers we want to create an environment where our Zipsters can bring their true personalities to work - and that starts from the moment they enter the recruitment process with us.

If we have a more diverse group of personalities and perspectives that better represent those of our customers, by default we’ll be able to work with more creativity and overcome challenges in a way that essentially helps us build products that better meet their needs.

Examples of interventions in our recruitment process include asking candidates DEI related questions, to understand their experiences of working in inclusive organisations, and to ascertain fit, or a disconnect, with our own Values and beliefs. And while we have a consistent set of questions that allows for a fairer, equitable process, we ask all candidates whether we can make any reasonable adjustments to our processes that enable them to be their best at interview.

We’ve also introduced new technologies, including our ATS (Applicant tracking system) which gives candidates the opportunity to select their pronouns and record the pronunciation of their names.

A focus on continuous improvement to build a team that’s Stronger Together

To make sure we continue to level up the experience candidates from all backgrounds have with us, we take a data-led approach. Using Starred - our candidate analytics platform - candidates have the opportunity to provide feedback on their experience, and we ask a number of ranking and open ended questions which enables us to highlight areas of strength and opportunity. Data gathered in the platform also helps our work with hiring leaders to hone their skills.

Beyond the technology we’re using, we’ve also taken steps to introduce gender-balanced interview panels. And while it’s not always possible given competing work priorities for those selected on the panels, we have started to see positive feedback from candidates who’ve been a part of these scenarios, as well as from the Zipsters facilitating them. One of the things I love about Zip is that we’re not afraid to try new things. We don’t always get it right, but it’s not for a lack of effort and we are constantly looking for new ways to achieve our objectives, testing and learning as we go.

Our focus on inclusion doesn’t end when the recruitment process ends - it’s something that’s deeply ingrained into our culture and life at Zip. And while we hold ourselves accountable for ensuring gender balance across the team, we also recognise and celebrate other aspects of diversity. Whether that’s marking religious or cultural moments of significance, or celebrating Zip’s LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month and through the activation of our partnerships with the Pinnacle Foundation, our team regularly get together to share and enjoy each other's views and perspectives respectfully.

As Zipsters, we also get regular opportunities to provide feedback on the things we want to see more or less of at work. For example, we run frequent Engagement survey cycles and have recently introduced more agile ways of listening to the team. Pleasingly our ANZ Inclusion score in our most recent Engagement survey was an impressive 82%, suggesting the work we’re leaning into is helping Zipsters feel like they belong and can be their authentic selves at work.

Think ‘Customer First’ if you want to excel at Zip

One of the things I always stress to candidates in preparation for their conversations with hiring managers is to really ‘be yourself’. We hire for more than just technical skills, and want to see and hear more than just what's on your CV. So, if you’re entering the process with us, read up and talk to us about our products, and be prepared to share your ideas for how you may lean on your experiences to improve them.

Also have a think about the challenges we may face, and how someone with your experience will be able to help. Finally, come prepared with questions, the spicier the better! My favourite interviews have always been the ones when a well-prepared candidate has asked well thought-through questions that demonstrate they know their stuff about the industry and Zip.

When candidates and people outside our organisation ask me what I think sets Zip apart from other employers, one of the things I always talk about is our ‘Customer First’ attitude. In my experience, the Zipsters who are most successful at getting buy-in for their ideas can clearly articulate the value it will add for their customers. A lot of companies say they put their customers first, but here it genuinely drives everything we do. In my world, that means over-delivering on the candidate experience and building trusted relationships with the hiring managers I partner with.

If you’re applying for a role at Zip, think what ‘Customer First’ could mean for your work with us. Thanks for reading, and good luck for your journey ahead!

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