SC17 Denver, CO

Recruitment: How to Build Diverse Teams

Authors: Dr. Toni Collis (University of Edinburgh)

Abstract: Diverse teams are now generally accepted as a ‘good idea’. However, a common refrain during discussions on improving diversity focuses on the lack of women applying for jobs. This session will address improving recruitment practices to reach more candidates from underrepresented groups. And will presentations from a panel of experts, followed by discussions on how to address the concerns of attendees, providing clearly defined steps for improving the recruitment process. This session invites participation from everyone in the HPC community, to help us gather knowledge from across the HPC workforce and provide clear guidance for steps to recruitment success.

Long Description: This will discuss the challenges around recruitment and improving the proportion of candidates from underrepresented groups, including women and minorities. This session is designed for recruiters/hirers/managers and employees/candidates.

Following the positive reception of our first ‘improving diversity’ BoF at SC16, we will continue to include both presentations by a panel of experts for the first half of the session, followed by focus group discussions that examine case studies.

The panel of experts will include two speakers, one from industry, one from academia, discussing their experiences in recruiting a diverse workforce. The third presentation will discuss examples of best practice from the literature. The BoF will then continue with focus groups enabling the discussion of real problems faced by the audience and solutions as identified by attendees, both from a hirer’s and candidate’s perspective. The results from these discussions, and a survey that will be carried out at the end of the BoF, will be used to produce a community report and best practice guide on improving recruitment practices tailored for the HPC community.

The focus groups will discuss case studies to provide structure to the session and generate ideas. The case studies were overwhelmingly well received during our SC16 BoF (mean score of 4.7/5 in the feedback survey). Topics that the case studies will cover and encourage discussion around will include: - How to improve your candidate pool:
 - Receiving too many applications but of the wrong calibre;
 - Why certain roles receive few, if any, applicants from ‘diverse’ candidates and what can be done to remedy the situation;
 - How to improve job advertisements with too few, if any applicants;
 - The benefits of receiving a diverse pool of applicants;
 - How is HPC unique: do we have a recruitment crisis compared to other fields?

The BoF organizers will apply their extensive experience conducting surveys within the HPC community to gather feedback from BoF attendees. In addition to basic questions regarding attendee experience, BoF format, and recommendations for future topics, the post event survey will gather experiences from attendees on barriers they’ve faced in the area of recruitment and building diverse teams. Specific questions will probe respondents on their past experiences serving on search committees including recruitment processes and results i.e. How many search committees have you participated in? Have you personally recruited for an open position? (If applicable) To what extent do you believe your search committee efforts resulted in diverse candidates? To what extent is your organization/institution committed to recruiting diverse candidates for open positions? Etc.

Organizers have incorporated feedback from SC16 BoF attendees into this proposal. Data was collected via a paper and pencil survey following the SC16 BoF, to which 88% (35/40) of attendees responded. Specifically, attendees requested information on “how to build a diverse team,” which this proposal addresses by focusing on recruitment. All (100%) of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “I would recommend this BoF to others” while 94% are interested in attending more WHPC events.

Conference Presentation: pdf

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