At Spectrum, diversity and inclusion are seen as foundations for the company’s success. And this belief is reflected in Spectrum’s diverse workforce, which has an overall makeup of: 48% people of color, 34% women and 9% veterans.
One person helping Spectrum achieve its goal of fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce is Shannon Brown, who has been at the company — one of the nation’s largest broadband connectivity providers — for seven years. Brown is a Senior Technology Recruiter whose goal is recruiting and hiring diverse candidates primarily in the company’s Denver, CO office. Brown says she focuses on “a lot of different ways to attract, retain and engage with diverse groups.”
As for why women should join the Spectrum team, Brown explains they’ll “have a unique opportunity to build their personal brand and career in an environment that presents endless professional development opportunities in a fast-paced, growing industry.”
Recently, Brown took the time to talk to Fairygodboss and share her best advice for women entering the tech field, her diversity recruiting experience, and how Spectrum supports all of its employees. The below conversation has been lightly edited for length.
How Spectrum supports its women employees.
What attracted you to Spectrum?
I started thinking about Spectrum because a woman I had worked with previously took on a senior leader role here. It was important to me to see female leaders and other women at the table. When I interviewed here, I felt like I had a voice and could see myself growing. This is an experience I want candidates interviewing here to feel as well.
As a tech recruiter, what are three things about Spectrum that you always make sure to highlight when talking to a candidate?
Our cutting-edge technology, our advanced products and services, our strong leadership and career growth opportunities.
What do you tell candidates to help show them that Spectrum is a good employer for women in tech, particularly women of color?
As a woman working in technology at Spectrum, you’ll have a unique opportunity to use your skills, build your personal brand and develop your career in a fast-paced, cutting-edge environment. I also point job candidates to the diversity of our leadership. Our chief technology officer is a woman, and we have a number of women in senior leadership roles, including the executive who leads all our digital platforms.
We're looking for people who are experienced, and committed to continuing to enhance the products and services that we offer our customers. Technology is a highly competitive field, and we can't just stay where we are. There's always a next step for us to continue to compete in our industry.
We see Diversity & Inclusion as an important part of our ability to compete and innovate, and we work to foster an environment where every employee feels respected, engaged and able to reach their full potential. This commitment shows in the recognitions we’ve received in recent years. We were named a Top Company for Women to Work by Women in Cable Telecommunications, Top Company for People of Color by the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications and one of the Best Companies for Latinos to Work by Latino Leaders.
Tell me a bit about Spectrum’s D&I efforts and initiatives.
We recently expanded our Diversity & Inclusion recruiting strategy to focus on sourcing, and as a result we are now leveraging diversity job boards such as Jopwell, SeekOut and, of course, Fairygodboss to help find diverse job candidates. We also updated our job descriptions to include more gender neutral language and launched a diversity recruiting council to focus on diversity hiring initiatives. We're looking at a lot of different ways to attract, retain and engage with diverse groups. Some of the business units that we support have more women represented at the leadership level, but not all. So, this year we will be focusing on hiring more women in the technology space, as well as more people of color.
Can you tell us about Spectrum’s benefits?
Spectrum offers great benefits that are highly competitive, including health, dental, 401(k) with employer match, maternity and paternity leave, discounted employee services and tuition reimbursement. I think one of the benefits that you see a lot in the technology space is our patent policy. Spectrum provides monetary incentives and recognition to employees who participate in our patent program. One of the teams that I support has the most patents within our organization!
How important is internal mobility and does Spectrum support that?
We offer extensive training and opportunities for growth and promotion. We also offer tuition reimbursement to use towards advanced degrees or professional certifications. The certifications are huge because, in some roles, it's not a degree that you're chasing, you're actually looking for an expert that you can train with, in your department. Our policy is that normally you're in a role for a year and then you're able to apply for different roles or you're eligible for a promotion. We recently launched our internal career site, Charter Career Connects, which features stories from employees who have continued their career trajectories within the company.
What kind of roles are you hiring for right now?
Roles within Spectrum Mobile. We are looking for iOS developers and engineers, Android developers and engineers, as well as mobile quality assurance device testing. In the product team, most of our managers have a technical background, so they could fit a product owner role. We're competing against companies like Oracle, Google and AT&T. You have to be creative when you're talking to candidates and attracting them to your organization.
Brown’s top job advice as a tech recruiter.
As a recruiter, what are the qualities you look for in a candidate?
The top three are competence, likeability and motivation. I'm also a really big fan of self-taught talent, and I look for passion, flexibility and drive. Sometimes it's easy to find the skills that fit the role. But I also ask, “Does this candidate complement their potential manager-to-be and department? It’s more of a holistic approach.
Do you have any recommendations for job seekers who are looking to make a great first virtual impression?
Be as prepared as you would be if it was an in-person interview. Dress appropriately and professionally, remove all background distractions and check your lighting, camera and audio prior to the meeting. Remember every interview counts.
What can women do better in terms of interviewing and negotiating offers?
Be specific in your “ask.” Avoid providing salary ranges; supply details when negotiating and always consider the big picture when interviewing. Statistics show that women are a lot more modest during that process — we typically don't want to be boastful. A common mistake is not knowing your worth. No one ever tells you, “Hey, you're worth a lot more.”
I tell everybody to negotiate. Worst case scenario, you get the same number and best case, you get more — so always ask.
What’s your #1 piece of advice for women who are looking for jobs right now?
Don’t settle — make yourself the top priority.
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