Cloudflare TV

🌐 Recruiting Corner: Diversity & Inclusion Hiring

Presented by Judy Cheong, Todd Ciampa, Roshni Hundel, Jason Tanner
Originally aired on 

Join us on Impact Week for another session of Recruiting Corner to learn more about how we approach and embed diversity and inclusion in our hiring. Every company approaches this differently, and we would like to share what’s unique about Cloudflare and how we build a community here that is intentional about D&I.

Visit the Impact Week Hub for every announcement and CFTV episode — check back all week for more!

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Transcript (Beta)

All right, I think we're live. So welcome to another session of Recruiting Corner during Impact Week.

I hope you've been tuning in earlier this week to learn more about the impact we're making at Cloudflare through different projects like Project Pangea, the Anthinian project and so much more.

I think earlier today we just announced new initiatives to help the Internet to be more green and environmentally friendly.

There's some pretty exciting stuff and so much more to come for the rest of this week.

So we're the recruiting team and we're really excited to be here and to discuss about the impact that diversity and inclusion recruiting efforts that we're actually having here.

The industry is constantly trying to improve diversity and I don't think or believe that any, maybe there are a few companies that have perfected this yet.

In this space, there's still a lot more to do and a lot more to learn and so much things that we can continue to improve on.

So we'll talk a little bit more about that. So just a quick introduction.

My name is Judy, and I manage our recruiting programs. This includes a lot of our diversity initiatives and early talent efforts.

I've been with the company for about a little over three years now, and I'm located in the San Francisco office.

I have some of my esteemed colleagues with me here and I'll let them go ahead and introduce themselves.

Let's start with Todd. Thank you, Judy.

Great introduction. My name is Todd Champa, and I am the rookie on this team from a tenure perspective.

I joined Cloudflare in April of 2020, and whether I made this up or it's a true fact, I was definitely one of the last onsite interviews before the pandemic started.

And so like about 50% of Cloudflare-ians across the globe, I have never worked in a Cloudflare office, but based in Austin and really responsible for leading the efforts in the US related to our sales, recruiting, and general administration.

Pass it over to Jason. Thanks, Todd. Yeah, my name is Jason Tanner.

I've been here for about three and a half years, and I started in the San Francisco office and now based remotely in Southern California.

I lead the efforts on engineering, product management, and marketing and IT groups.

And I do remember Todd being one of the last people in the office because I did a video interview with him and he was in the Austin office, and then he went and got hired and started remotely.

Pass it over to you, Roshani. Thank you all. I'm so happy that you're both here and Todd, even if only in the remote world.

My name is Roshani Handal, and I'm based out of the New York office right now.

I've been at Cloudflare for almost six years, and I'm a recruiting lead, just working across a lot of different functions and supporting where help's needed.

Awesome. Glad to have this panel, and we're just going to have more of a casual conversation around this topic.

And I'll be asking some questions, but just for the audience, you can ask questions to our panel by emailing livestudio at, and we'll try to get to them and answer them at the end of the session.

To start, I think us as a group, we're kind of talking about this a little bit, and we're just talking about the conversation around how the intention around D&I and industry has kind of changed and continues to evolve.

And this reminds me of something that I actually learned from our unconscious bias training and workshops that we host here at Cloudflare.

So it got me kind of thinking, and I learned about how there are different levels of diversity and how things have changed, and it kind of started with diversity 1.0.

And that idea is kind of like diversity for diversity's sake, and it was more of companies just focusing more on compliance.

It's kind of like, what are the regulations?

What are the things that they are required to do? And they're just doing it to be safe, and the idea of like, let's not get sued.

I think we've changed a lot from that sense, right, the industry as a whole.

And then there's diversity 2.0 that I think we still see here, and that's more about diversity for social responsibility.

So you see folks that are, or companies doing a lot more marketing about diversity, probably a little bit more investment in certain events or whatever it is, or they are applying for awards and they're winning the best company for diversity and all these other things.

And it's more about building or creating a publicity about diversity in the workforce, more for their brand.

But sometimes you would see that internally, though, like there has been no change, or there might not be as strong of an intention in there.

But they're doing it because I think that's what is expected now of companies.

And then the next level is kind of diversity 3 .0, or diversity and inclusion 3.0.

And it's thinking about diversity as more of a business strategy, and where D&I is actually embedded in our decision making, in our leadership, and just being intentional about it.

So they would do the 2.0, the 1.0, but there's more thought, there's more thoughtfulness in it, and just being more intentional about it.

And I think that's what we're all aiming for now.

And I think that's what, I hope that's where we are at Cloudflare.

And just trying to continue to improve on this and be intentional about this.

So with that, I just want to bring it up to the panel, like what are your thoughts around this?

And I think some of you have been in the industry for a while as well, and have seen some of these changes too.

What are your thoughts around these, like diversity 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and where we are?

Yeah, I think it's definitely an interesting evolution, and I think you framed it up very well.

I think one of the things that was really exciting for me after I joined Cloudflare was the data-driven approach to the why.

And there have been tons and tons of studies over the last several years that do support the thesis that diverse teams that are built with people that have different experiences really create more ideas that help to drive better business decisions.

And I think as a global company such as Cloudflare, it's important to really lay that foundation in that context so that people understand the reason why being intentional and deliberate as you mentioned is so crucial and important.

Yeah, and just to build on that, I've worked for several very large companies and other small startups.

And they've all had their framework and ideologies around D&I, but to echo what Todd said, I think what I'm seeing is a big change in the last couple of years to talking about it, to putting in action plans, and I think a lot of that has to do with data and using the data to make meaningful decisions around D&I.

And I think what we're really starting to see now is key stakeholders, business leaders being given their D&I data for their teams and then saying, you know, listen, to move the needle on this, you really do need to make a meaningful effort and put time and energy into this.

And, you know, the leaders that are very thoughtful and they want to make an impact on this, you can see them putting in the time and that helps their teams to really kind of see the value of hiring a diverse workforce.

Because as Todd mentioned, and I think a lot of people will agree, there's just a ton of data from different studies that shows that more diverse teams make a bigger impact.

So, yeah, I just want to chime in with that. And Roshni, I know that you've kind of seen some of this and some of the teams you support directly, and you've been a big change agent there as well.

Yeah, I think being intentional about diversity is the only way to go about it.

And I'm glad that we've gotten to that part of the evolution in that diversity trends.

And I think, you know, we see it every day, but there's no other better way to accomplish bringing diversity teams than talking about it constantly, reminding hiring managers about it in every single meeting, having it top of mind, and you definitely see our leadership lead with these discussions, whether it's at our all-hands meetings or even as, you know, down to the final calls that some of them do.

Just talking about Michelle, our co-founder, she's super thorough and detailed when she provides her feedback.

And she encourages people to think about, you know, how many diverse candidates were interviewed for the role, where did we land with that, and are we considering that every step of the way?

And I think that's the only way to continuously push for the change and to push for our teams to be diverse.

And then, obviously, that benefits the entire company.

Yeah, I just want to share a story when I actually first started.

And I remember, I was kind of responsible for thinking about, like, hey, what are some of the diversity initiatives that we can do?

And I thought I had some time to do some planning, which you usually do. Like, when you first join, you don't really know anyone yet.

You don't know who are your key stakeholders.

You don't know who will support. And I thought, from at least previous experience from my previous companies, and probably maybe at the time too, right, the conversation was just more around, it's like, why is diversity important?

Show me the data. Like, who do I have to convince? Like, it was more of, like, I thought I had to tell a story to, like, actually convince the leadership or convince managers to care about diversity and show the data and all that.

What was interesting when I first started is I just remember, like, the managers were just ready.

They've been thinking about it. They've been thinking about, like, how can I help?

What are the things that they can do? They probably just didn't know what exactly they can do, but the intention was there, and they cared.

And I still remembered, I think it was, like, within the first month, because I thought I was going to be planning for six months of seeing, like, what are strategic things that we can do, right?

But obviously, Cloudflare is a lot more scrappy, and things move a lot faster.

And I just remember, it was like, there was an opportunity to sponsor, like, a conference at Women Who Code.

And the opportunity came.

I was just like, I don't know about budget. Keep in mind, I was, like, in week three, just went through orientation, just getting to know people.

And it was like, hey, do we have budget for this?

I was like, okay, even if we do, like, who's going to come with me?

I barely have met anyone yet or any of the leaders or what they're hiring for and trying to understand all of that.

And I just remember I shot out an email to, like, the managers or, like, some alias and reached out.

And suddenly, I had, like, seven volunteers who said, okay, I'll be there on a Saturday, on a conference, on a whole day.

And they've never done it before as well.

And I think I got a couple of managers on board as well to join us. So it was really interesting to see when we first joined Cloud, even when I first joined Cloudflare, that the intention was there.

There are people who want to support this, and they want to do something about it and actually make a difference.

Yeah, no, totally. And to piggyback off of what you're saying there is I think sometimes the misstep that people make is putting that burden on one person or on a small group of people or making it feel like they are responsible for doing this for the entire organization as opposed to embedding it within the culture.

And when you do really think about asking your employees, like, hey, what are your thoughts around this?

Or what are the things that you're thinking about this?

It's amazing the amplitude that you can get just by asking those kind of questions and really including your entire organization and how we can affect this change and how we can think about it differently.

So many great ideas come from so many different people, whether it's somebody that's on an hourly wage or from an executive.

And so by really just looking at that and saying, hey, we need your help, ideas come from anywhere and everywhere.

It's such a great way to really drive that change.

Absolutely. From your experience, work with, because we've talked a lot about the involvement of other employees, especially leadership.

Just wondering, are there any stories that you have to share how leaders are really involved in diversity and inclusion?

I can take that one.

Judy, I do remember when you started and it was almost like this big celebration that you started.

So you can build some more momentum around getting everybody to come to one place and spearheading those things.

And I know there were several leaders that jumped in pretty quickly to volunteer to help out with that one event.

And then seeing those same leaders and then I think almost building on that momentum and more leaders jumping in on other events.

There's a couple of examples, but one that does stand out, the leader of our infrastructure team several years ago noticed just how hard it was to attract women to his organization.

It's the infrastructure organization here. And he took a really thoughtful approach to it.

Judy, I think you definitely helped him with several events and initiatives.

And to see the ownership from his perspective, but then also all the support from recruiting and the rest of the company to come behind those initiatives was pretty exciting to see.

And I think, like I mentioned, it's kind of one of those things where it builds momentum when people see the success and they see the impact that it can have.

And once you realize that if you are intentional about it and you put those resources into it in the time, that's when you can really see the payoff.

And so that's one example is our leader in infrastructure.

But I know that there are others out there as well. Yeah, I love the story.

I still remember talking to him about how it's like he actually does the sourcing.

He actually reaches out to people. He actually goes on to LinkedIn and actually reaches out to people and starts building that network.

Or even if people are not looking for a job now.

And this is coming from our head of infrastructure.

And he's even thought about creative ways. I remember there are senior leaders that he actually wants to reach out to, like female senior leaders in the infrastructure industry that he might not know.

He reaches out or he tries to find out if there's anyone else in his network that might be able to make that connection.

And then recognizing that those are also role models. I think he's invited folks to actually speak during our different weeks and as a keynote speaker at our different events at Cloudflare.

And then I thought one thing that was really interesting that I never even thought about.

He's actually keeping that conversation around diversity, not only just on his team to recruit.

So that all his managers are recognizing the importance of this.

But he also partners with different suppliers and different companies that he works with.

And he actually would ask them, hey, what are some of their diversity and inclusion initiatives?

Just to understand and have that conversation. Because a lot of times you might not have that.

And just having that in the forefront, I think, changes things.

And it's very helpful. And I just wanted to add to that story. And I think that one of the things that separates this individual from others in general is he has an always-be-recruiting mindset.

And so whether he's actively hiring or not, he's always dedicating time on a weekly basis to the activities to understand the marketplace.

And always-be-speaking to people so that when he does have openings, he already has relationships as opposed to being reactive.

So he has an incredible proactive approach that I think is something for others to emulate.

I also would just add about another leader that we have here, you know, Otto, our head of support.

He's really found diversity and effectiveness through our Path Forward program.

I know that has been huge for us here at Cloudflare. And that's also one of the reasons that we got our amazing head of people, Janet, to join the company.

She read about Path Forward and Cloudflare's partnership with them.

And that's what got her to really take the opportunity in interviewing more seriously with Cloudflare.

And I know she's talked about it in other Cloudflare TV episodes. But this, you know, returnship program that, Judy, you've helped kind of develop into a more robust program has really brought some amazing talent into our teams.

And then we've seen these individuals grow from being our, you know, technical support engineers to solutions engineers and product managers and build their careers at Cloudflare after taking a break.

Maybe that was for family or for other reasons.

But that's definitely been an awesome initiative that we've partnered with and I think has really brought some great talent to Cloudflare.

Plus 100. I love the returnship program that we have here with Path Forward.

We also partner with, like, Moms at Work in Singapore.

And we're thinking about other things that we could do in London as well.

It's amazing how people, like, people are just so supportive here.

Like, the employees here, the managers who are curious about these programs.

And also recognizing, right, it's not just about, like, hey, I want to support this program.

But it's actually about, like, realistically, these managers are able to hire from these teams, from this network or this audience.

And with Path Forward, so these are folks who have taken, like, two-plus years off for a break and have five-plus years of experience.

And they probably learned so much more, right, during that period when they were off as well.

And just being able to support them.

And I think what's interesting is, like, managers realize, like, there's this untapped talent.

And for whatever reasons, society has made it difficult for them to return to work.

But they have a lot of great experience. And just a gap on their resume for whatever reasons.

But they're able to come back. And there's been, like, amazing stories of folks who started with us across all these different teams that Roshni has just mentioned.

What is really interesting, too, I think this one of our last, I think our last cycle when we hired someone from Path Forward who participated in the returnship program, she actually joined us full-time.

And now she's actually a manager. And now she's actually looking at our next cycle, trying to hire the next returnee for her team.

So it's some pretty exciting stuff there.

And we're finding, like, really, really great talent. And, Jude, you just mentioned something there that really resonates with me.

And, you know, we talk about bias a lot of times in recruiting.

And just in terms of how we interact with people as well.

And I think some of the things that people can take away from this is removing some of the biases that are inherent in all of us as you review resumes, right?

Like, just because somebody indicates on their resume they haven't worked since 2019 does not necessarily reflect that they're an unhirable individual, right?

There's all kinds of different events and things that can happen in people's life that bring them away from work.

And so I really encourage people, and we really encourage our hiring leaders here, right, to look at things through a different lens so that you can really widen the amount of great talent out there by thinking about what are the capabilities and competencies that they demonstrate in their resume and remove some of those blockers around from this date to this date.

And it really will open up your opportunities for a different kind of workforce.

Your comment, Todd, really, you know, just reminds me of all the different initiatives we've rolled out in the past year to ensure that we're continuing to be intentional in teaching our teams about how to take that approach.

So just interview training that we've been leading monthly.

Every new hire at Cloudflare goes through our interview training.

We talk about unconscious bias and how it shows up in every step of the process.

We talk about how to evaluate candidates, and that's mostly based on the job description and the skill sets required for the role.

You know, structured interview plans is something that we've made sure that is very set in stone now, and we don't open any roles here at Cloudflare without having a structured interview plan.

And that means there's specific focus questions in areas that each candidate is being asked and equally evaluated on.

So every candidate has the same opportunity when they're talking to us here at Cloudflare.

And then also the Orange Cloud program, which covers our Cloudflare capabilities, which we, you know, are releasing this week.

But these are just the behaviors that make doing your best work at Cloudflare possible.

And so that brings diversity of thought to the panel and brings a cross -functional interviewer that focuses more so on how people get their work done than the specific job description, too.

So those three things, I think, have made a huge impact on our interview process in the past year, and I'm really excited to see them continue to make us even better.

Yeah, I'm glad you brought that up, because a lot of times we're thinking about, hey, these are the efforts that we're going out and bringing people in, right?

And we're reaching these groups, hopefully, through those marketing efforts or, like, through these events and building that pipeline so that some folks are applying.

But then a lot of times, too, as we're thinking about diversity and inclusion, is that, like, through the process, if you're not mitigating the biases and you're not trying to make sure that it is a fair process and equitable process for everyone, then folks that you're bringing in might still not be evaluated fairly and still might not be able to hire a diverse group.

So, yes, thanks for bringing that up. That is very important.

Yeah, and also just I think another thing that's really important for us to mention is how we do take on that responsibility of assuring that the hiring leaders we're working with are thinking about this in the process as well.

And, you know, when they do bring us a team that's all male, right, or one group that doesn't demonstrate that we do have an inclusive workplace, it's important to call that out and remind them that we want to get different perspectives from cross -functional teams to really understand what those capabilities are, because people are going to be attracted to people and they want to be able to see that there are other people that come from the groups that they're represented by.

And so by being very intentional about how we evaluate candidates also helps to further our goals on inclusivity.

All right, so general question.

Y'all are great recruiters and I know things are always busy and there's so many roles that we're trying to hire for.

A plug, go to our career jobs and check out all the jobs that we're hiring for.

What do you personally do to ensure diversity in your pipeline or process?

Yeah, so I'll jump in here.

So I have a weekly one-on-one like most of us do with our hiring leaders. And that is definitely one of the big, you know, bullet points that we talk about.

You know, what roles, you know, maybe are we specifically targeting?

What initiatives are we doing?

You know, we always try to post jobs on some strategic pages or groups.

So like, you know, women in tech, you know, and, you know, maybe since I support marketing, you know, different diversity marketing or diversity product management and engineering groups.

But again, it really does resonate a lot more if it's a regular conversation with the hiring leader and with their hiring teams.

And so that's what we try to do. And all of us are doing that. But that's one thing.

The other thing, Judy, I'll just quickly plug is, I mean, we've gotten so many amazing candidates in our pipelines through our different events and different conferences and different external things that we do.

So Grace Hopper, Women in Tech, and I know there's Afrotech we've done before.

So those are all really huge areas for us that we can get a big pipeline of candidates.

And then that's how we kind of build our pipeline and continue those conversations.

Yeah. Yeah, I would say just on that training piece, you know, every single hiring manager here is a recruiter at Cloudflare too.

And they've gotten all the same access to the tools that we have as recruiters.

They are able to reach out to people on LinkedIn and source for their own roles.

And I think that's really made an impact.

You know, they get higher response rates from candidates when they're the ones reaching out for building their own teams and training them up on how to use those tools has been really important.

I just remember like last year when we did our week on, after that, the conversations that we had, that was, you know, one of the first times I've seen so many people at the company talk about what can we do better?

How can we improve? We see this in our teams, like we want to bring more diversity to the company.

And I remember Judy, you and I were like, let's take this momentum.

Let's get on a call and let's, you know, get a page together. And then from that, each hiring manager and each manager that is at Cloudflare has to set their own diversity goals for the year too.

And we have this huge spreadsheet of every single thing that they've dedicated, that they're dedicating themselves to.

And that's been huge. And that's been awesome to see as well. Yeah. And it rolls back to the words you started using at the outset, right?

You have to be intentional and deliberate.

You have to look at the data and understand where the gaps are on your team.

And once you identify where those are, then you have to be intentional.

And if it's not coming from your marketing efforts, then it has to come from your outbound efforts, right?

So we built our own tools and kind of brought tools from others that are best practices.

And whether it's certain kind of Boolean strings or certain groups that Jason mentioned, right?

But you have to be very, very specific and make it a part of your everyday work.

And it can't just be happening when you're hiring, right?

You have to build it in. And I think one of the things that drew me to Cloudflare was Matthew's insistence on hiring managers really dedicating 20 to 30% of their time towards building great teams and great teams with diverse teams.

Yeah, that's definitely one thing I find very unique about Cloudflare is the recruiting time that the managers take over like at least at minimum 20%.

The reality is you probably do a little or a lot more than that.

And they do a lot of sourcing and they help us and they themselves think about diversity and it's not just on the recruiting team.

And I think that makes a huge difference in terms of what we see and in terms of the folks that we're also hiring and just being very intentional about recruiting overall.

All right, we only have a minute left.

So I just want to see, is there any last tips that you want to share with the broad audience?

We didn't bring it up, but don't forget our internships.

Those have been huge as well. The diversity, I know, Judy, you're leading that program with Ellie on the team, but the diversity of our interns, and then we convert them to full time employees has been amazing.

And last year we doubled down and had 80 plus interns at Cloudflare when everyone else was canceling their intern programs.

And so that was really an awesome initiative too. And I know has brought great people to work at Cloudflare.

Absolutely. All right, we only have a few seconds left.

So I want to thank everyone for joining us today. And hopefully you learned something and curious about diversity and be intentional about it overall.

Thank you for joining and have a great day and join us for the rest of the week on Impact Week.

Bye, everybody.

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