Diverse Hiring

Sourcing Candidates

  • Include a D&I statement in your job ads
    • At the first glance, you might think this has no effect on the applications you receive. However, people from underrepresented communities might be more sensitive to the topic than you think.
    • We at btov recently decided to use the following statement:
      • btov is an equal-opportunity employer. We foster a culture that embraces all individuals and encourages diverse perspectives, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, creed or sexual-orientation. We want to work with the most talented and brightest people regardless of where they come from, how they look like, whom they love or what they believe.
  • Show your existing team diversity
    • Publicly promoting your team’s diversity can be very encouraging for potential applicants.
    • icon
      Our portfolio company Ledgy actively indicating languages, hobbies, nationalities, superpowers and fun facts of their team members on their website (see here).
  • Use gender-neutral language
    • Textio (language decoder)
      • Based on listings from over 10,000 companies, Textio helps to highlight and remove bias, negative and gender-biased language.
    • Free opensource language decoder from Kat Matfield
    • Here’s a brief list of some gender-coded words that were identified in a report from top US universities:
    • Masculine-Coded Words
      Feminine-Coded Words
  • Referral program
    • We all know that hiring diverse talent can be challenging. Hence, some of our portfolio companies established a referral program where an extra bonus is paid if the recruited person is from an underserved community.
  • Specifically encourage people to apply when they do not meet 100% of the requirements
    • It was found that men apply for positions if they meet just 60% of the requirements, while women only apply if they meet 100% of them.
    • Another tipp is to call out transferrable skills - these can be skills achieved in different industries or roles that are helpful to have for this role.
Predium: Our portfolio company Predium has two great examples on how to encourage a diverse set of applicants:

“This should only be a rough guideline where your skills will be of great help to build a better product together. Nevertheless, we are ready to be blown away by your previous projects and experience in all areas!”

“These are not hard requirements. We're looking for smart, passionate, and effective people, rather than flashy CVs. If you're interested in Predium, we'd love to hear from you.”

  • Invest in diverse communities: To meet new profiles, it can be beneficial to set up partnerships with diverse communities like 2hearts, cocoon or Women Who Code. Especially engaging in events is useful to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people (see an overview of (tech) communities here)
  • Company language
    • Establishing English as company language gives you access to a bigger talent pool. The same applies for hiring remote positions.
  • Set up internal training programs: Especially STEM profiles from underrepresented communities are rare. Hence, one opportunity to find smart and motivated people might be to set up a training program in e.g. software development to develop talent inhouse.+
Our portfolio company Ledgy, for example, set up a program called "Women in Web". The program allows female applicants who don’t have a background in computer science to join the tech team at Ledgy and learn the essential skills needed. 2/2 participants just got hired full-time. Another program is Ledgy’s Traineeship for Web Development.

Screening Candidates:

  • Assessing of applications
    • As a first step, it is essential to set diversity goals per role. This will make the topic more present.
    • Blind assessments of CVs (if possible) - Check out whether your ATS has a slider to remove any visual aspects where bias can come in.
    • Train everyone involved in the hiring process to avoid unconscious human biases. A regular training helps to make your employees more aware. This should also be done on company level.
    • Track who is applying for the jobs you advertise. Try to analyze how characteristics in the job ad affected the people applying.
    • 💡
      btov recommendation: We can highly recommend TestGorilla as a software solution. Its screening tests identify the best candidates and make hiring decisions faster, easier, and bias-free.
  • Diversify your interview panel: Interviewers are the most important asset in the hiring process. They can help candidates to feel connected to a company and are critical for communicating the organization’s values, as well as what it means to belong. Hence, we highly recommend not always choosing the same people for interviews.
  • Use the Rooney Rule: The Rooney Rule, named for Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate when they have a head coaching vacancy.


  • Making equitable offers: An offer is the starting point to ensuring equal and fair pay. If you want diverse talent (and most likely top talent in general) to join and stay at your company, you have to make a fair and equitable offer.
Blacklane: Blacklane regularly checks its gender pay gap and conducts salary adjustments accordingly. One tool to check the existing gender pay gap is Figures which provides a detailed view of your gender equality positioning.
If you look for help on how to build a diverse and inclusive organization, we can highly recommend FairHQ (currently only available in the UK), which provides you with data-driven insights and best practices to embed D&I into your business.