As part of our Women in Tech series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Natalie Dopp, Chief People Officer at HireVue.
With years of experience in HR and tech, Natalie shares her insights on the importance of diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, as well as the unique challenges she has faced as a woman in this field. She also provides valuable advice for young women interested in pursuing careers in tech or STEM fields.
Join us as we dive into Natalie’s journey and perspectives on building a more diverse and inclusive tech industry.
Hi Natalie, thanks for joining us today. Let’s get start with what inspired you to pursue a career in human resources, particularly in the tech industry?
I began my continued education at the University of Arizona. In my senior year I started work as an intern at the University Medical Center’s HR department and it was here that I had my first experience in the sector.
Throughout the internship, I had the opportunity to learn more about the HR field, gaining hands-on experience which helped me to realise how much this area positively impacts people’s lives. That is when I knew HR was the career choice for me.
Over the years, the use of technology to scale HR functions has completely changed the way we work and being at the forefront of this innovation has always been a prominent motivator for me. As a result, my transition into the tech industry happened pretty organically. It was always an area I was keen to explore further.
As a woman in the tech industry, have you encountered any unique challenges that have shaped your career journey? If so, could you share a particular experience and how you navigated it?
When reflecting on the start of my journey in the tech industry, I recall so many opportunities where I was able to grow, collaborate, and strategize with various levels of employees along the way. As a woman, I believe we bring a unique set of skills to the role. We often lead with compassion and empathy in difficult situations which helps to provide a considered perspective.
For me personally, this came to light in one of my previous roles when we unfortunately had to close one of our offices in an area where we were the largest employer. Naturally, this was devastating to the impacted employees. We made sure we dealt with this situation with heightened sensitivity and offered additional means for these individuals to find other employment. The affected individuals appreciated the way this was handled with care and dignity.
Encouraging more women to pursue careers in STEM fields is important for building a more diverse and inclusive industry. What do you think needs to happen to make this a reality? Are there any specific initiatives or programs that you believe could be particularly effective?
As women in the industry, we need to support and uplift one another and create lasting relationships to impact the women walking our same paths.
Working together to create a supportive and inclusive environment where women can flourish, will help encourage more women to consider a role in the tech industry. We as women in the sector, need to unite in fiercely advocating for other women, ensuring we provide extra support along their career journey.
Diversity and inclusion are crucial for fostering innovation and creativity in the tech industry. How do you think tech companies can best embrace diversity and create more inclusive work environments?
Diversity and inclusion is critical for innovation and creativity to grow. This can be accomplished by creating an environment where each person can bring their authentic self to work daily. This will bring diversity of thought and drive psychological safety which ultimately leads to better innovation and creativity from everyone.
Building a workplace that embraces diversity and inclusion starts as early as the hiring process. Inclusive hiring practices create an environment where diversity breeds more diversity. A space where individuals from different backgrounds, and with different perspectives, are championed.
To help ensure your processes are designed to hire diverse talent employers can:
Use inclusive language in job descriptions
Despite feeling qualified for the position, women can often interpret language in job descriptions as a sign that male candidates would be favoured during the selection process. As a result, the hiring organisations may lose a significant number of qualified candidates. To avoid this, an employer can actively review a job posting for bias prior to sharing or even run it through a gender decoder to minimise gender bias.
Use AI and skills based assessments to avoid screening out talent
When left unchecked, humans inadvertently let unconscious biases sneak into hiring decisions. To combat this, forward-thinking recruiters are pushing for technology that holds hiring teams accountable. By using AI and skills-based assessments instead of traditional resume reviews or unstructured phone screens, hiring leaders can feel confident they’re making informed, objective decisions about candidates. This creates equal opportunity for all.
Create diverse interview panels
Representation goes a long way, too. When quality candidates see others on the interview panel that look like them, they are much more likely to accept a job offer.
At HireVue, we acknowledge the impact of work and believe that every person deserves an equal opportunity to thrive when searching for a new job. We have seen firsthand how dismantling biases in the hiring process can change the lives of candidates and we hope that more people will join us on this journey to democratise hiring in 2023.
For young women who are interested in pursuing careers in tech or STEM, what advice would you offer? Are there any specific skills or experiences that you believe are particularly valuable for success in this industry?
I am a huge advocate of women in the tech industry, specifically supporting other females to become part of STEM at an early age. I believe women who pursue careers in STEM should be given equal access to education and career opportunities. This can only happen by introducing a broader STEM curriculum at primary and secondary education levels, to help spark interest in the subject from a younger age.
School years are some of the most influential years of your life, so by increasing access to STEM at this stage, we can promote greater female participation in the sector in later years. An example of a group that does exactly this is Girls in STEM. This is an organisation with a mission aimed at inspiring, empowering, and encouraging interest in STEM among students in grades 4-8. As their careers progress, I recommend staying connected with their networks from the industry for mentoring purposes.
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