Increasing diversity will help create an unbiased foundation at company — Having a diverse and inclusive workforce is the only way for a company to really be conscious and aware about how they engage with individuals who come from different backgrounds and have different opinions that are crucial for growth. How is a company supposed to be confident in their ability to avoid unconscious bias if they don’t have a workforce that challenges them to do so?
As a part of our series about “How Diversity Can Increase a Company’s Bottom Line”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Steven Jiang.
Steven Jiang is the CEO and co-founder of Hiretual, the recruiting industry’s leading Talent Data System. Coming from a technical background, Steven’s passion for recruiting began with his own struggles hiring engineers as an Engineering Manager at Samsung’s mobile division in Silicon Valley. Steven founded Hiretual on the principles of leveraging deep advanced technology to transform recruitment into a data-driven model that was completely Internet-friendly. Powered by a proprietary AI-matching engine, Hiretual helps recruiters source and engage the most relevant job candidates 10 times faster with the power of public data found on the Internet and intelligent system integrations with search engines, talent databases, and business software. A lifetime student of recruiting, Steven believes in empowering recruiters with valuable and up-to-date resources in the ever-evolving hiring landscape.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive into the main part of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you share a bit of your “backstory” with us?
I grew up in a rural village in China where education at the time wasn’t a main priority. My parents went to great lengths to provide me with a good education, where I then knew I wanted to succeed. In the later years as I was getting my PhD, I also received an internship as a software engineer, which soon later inspired me to focus fully on becoming a software engineer. I worked very hard to differentiate myself from my peers, sometimes working 18 hours a day 7 days a week! After many promotions and growth, it was time to think about what was next in my career — I wanted to build something for myself. Being always passionate about building a team, bringing a group of people to create a purpose, I knew creating Hiretual was my next step. I put in this much work so I can better support my team and set them up to make bigger and better contributions to the organization.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? Can you tell us the lesson or take away you took out of that story?
When I started my career, I would work a ton of hours each week and in the process I spent a lot of time understanding what productive work really is and what type of leadership could build an environment for productive work to flourish. Through all that hard work, I got a promotion that would soon lead me to a great boss that I’ve learned a ton from throughout the course of my career up until today — that boss became of a cofounder of Hiretual with me, and we’ve been on this journey together for the past 6 years thanks to everything we’ve learned from each other during that initial stage of my career. Spending all those hours back then has also helped me better understand what my team would need in their day to get their job done efficiently while enjoying what they do.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you tell us a story about how that was relevant in your own life?
“If you can dream it, you can do it” by Walt Disney. I suppose the quote is self explanatory, and it really is a truth that I take to heart. If you were to tell me all those years ago — back when education wasn’t a main priority for most — that I’d successfully build a company of my own and grow a team that thrives off innovation, creativity and teamwork, it would sound like a dream. I’ve always dreamt of big things, and I believe that everything paid off because I dared to dream and I wasn’t afraid to reach for things even though they felt so far away.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
My parents. They inspired me to where I am today and the company I created. They have always taught me to be myself and always real to myself, which has taught me great lessons throughout my career thus far. Also, my team who’s been with me since the beginning of Hiretual. They never allowed each other to say anything negative about the startup company and never showed any fear, even though every day was a challenge. The team helped give me the drive to push through and never give up — which led us to creating Hiretual.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
At Hiretual, we have more women team leaders than male — 80% of our product team is female. We strive to have a diverse team and to date we have eight countries represented. Rather than caring about candidates’ backgrounds, we focus on experience and passion for the job. Hiretual’s goal is to have the best practices in recruiting, focusing on bringing in the unbiased.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?
An exciting project our team has been pursuing is Hiretual Apps, a marketplace of integrations with tools to support recruiting functions including resume searches, calendar scheduling, video interviewing, team collaboration and analytics. This helps those in the recruiting space by removing the extra steps in the recruitment process with automated data synchronization between recruitment tools while simplifying talent management across internal and external channels.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Bringing goodness to the world has always started from my relationships with the people around me. My success has introduced me to a team of over 200 people who are excited about Hiretual, a vision and product I led in a small apartment room with less than 10 people over six years ago. I want to bring goodness to the lives of each and every one of my team members so my biggest priority is treating everyone around me with respect and fairness and showing them a place where they are listened to and appreciated, the same way I was when I first started my career. The world will be a better place if each and every one of us truly takes care and expresses our gratitude to the circles of people around us.
Ok. Thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main part of our interview. This may be obvious to you, but it is not intuitive to many people. Can you articulate to our readers five ways that increased diversity can help a company’s bottom line. (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Increasing diversity will help create an unbiased foundation at company
Having a diverse and inclusive workforce is the only way for a company to really be conscious and aware about how they engage with individuals who come from different backgrounds and have different opinions that are crucial for growth. How is a company supposed to be confident in their ability to avoid unconscious bias if they don’t have a workforce that challenges them to do so?
- Diverse talent brings unique experiences which can bring better, more creative ideas
At Hiretual, we’re building a product that talent acquisition teams actively use to increase diverse representation in their talent pipelines. Our product can’t be made without a team that speaks up about different problems and solutions in the hiring process viewed from many unique lenses. When we’re upfront and aware of how experiences differ among minority and majority groups, we’ll have a more complete picture of how our product actually impacts the audience we aim to serve.
- Diverse talent can aid with decision making for the same reason as above — they all experience, perceive and learn different things from the world, which can help with decisions
For example, I mentioned above that 80% of our product team are women. The decision-making process would look completely different if everyone on the team were men, especially if it comes to decisions on how our product should serve our many customers who are looking to drastically increase gender equality in their organizations this year. The enthusiasm to drive these solutions forward might look different, and the empathy toward other minority groups and how hiring processes adversely affect them may also differ.
- It’s proven that diverse companies produce 19% more revenue
I believe that companies with diverse workforces produce more revenue because the quality of products and services increase for the reasons mentioned above — a more holistic view on solutions to build and a deeper understanding of problems being faced by a broader audience. When scopes are limited by a lack of diversity, your organization is limiting the value it can offer.
- Being more conscious of diversity brings the opportunity creating more business opportunities
This comes hand in hand with expanding the value add your organization brings to more members of the community. Being conscious about diversity gives people a reason to trust in your service and your product. In our world today, nobody is going to depend on a company that throws a single blanket solution over everyone’s unique problems. There are many choices out there for people to choose from, and they’re going to choose a company that represents them best.
What advice would you give to other business leaders to help their employees to thrive?
Build a company and team that’s filled with talented and energetic professionals to realize their value. In order to help employees thrive, the company should be accountable for delivering the same value and consistent results that is promoted in their business — consistency is key.
What advice would you give to other business leaders about how to manage a large team?
Actions and examples are the two key factors. It’s easy to assign a title to a person, which usually brings power, but the most important concept is using that power as a community together. For leaders, it’s a good habit to try to do everything with your staff — being close to staff is just as important as being close with your customers.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
That’s a hard question, I have respect for a lot of great leaders who I continuously learn from. If I have to choose one, I would choose Reid Hoffman. He is the prime example of someone who created a genius business model.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stevenhiretual
Visit Hiretual’s website: https://hiretual.com/
Thank you for these excellent insights. We wish you continued success in your great work.
Steven Jiang of Hiretual: How Diversity Can Increase a Company’s Bottom Line was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.