Article: Create new pathways for top talent to get in the door: Salesforce’s Nathalie Scardino


Create new pathways for top talent to get in the door: Salesforce’s Nathalie Scardino

In an exclusive interview with us, Nathalie Scardino, Executive Vice President, Global Recruiting, Salesforce, asserts that talent is spread evenly but opportunity is not. It is up to employers to extend job requirements to provide new routes for top talent to get in the door.
Create new pathways for top talent to get in the door:  Salesforce’s Nathalie Scardino

In the past, companies offered juice bars, ping pong tables, and other perks to attract talent. Today, candidates look for companies that care, and ones that will be there for them in the moments that matter —  be it caring for a sick loved one, family planning, or receiving gender-inclusive benefits. To attract candidates, employers need to lead with their values and meet them where they are, says Nathalie. 

Nathalie Scardino is EVP, Global Head of Recruiting at Salesforce, where she oversees a team responsible for hiring 20,000+ people annually across the globe. Nathalie has developed a recruiting strategy focused on optimising large scale teams, whilst using technology to advance talent acquisition strategies. Nathalie advocates equality and inclusion in all parts of the hiring process and is focused on representation at every level of the organisation.

With a background in sales at Reed Elsevier (now RELX Group), Nathalie moved into executive search, focused on the technology and digital transformation practice. During this time, she was responsible for identifying C-suite and senior-level leadership talent, in addition to succession planning, for both public and early-stage companies.

Nathalie is passionate about education and has served as a mentor to Year Up, whose mission is to close the opportunity gap by supporting young adults in gaining skills and experiences. She is also an advocate for prison reform, in particular juvenile justice reform.

Edited excerpts: 

How do you envision overall employment and recruitment trends, particularly in the tech industry, evolving in 2022?

The past two years have made us all re-evaluate what’s most important to us. Before the pandemic, companies competed for talent with juice bars and ping pong tables. But today, candidates are looking for a company that cares, and one that will be there for them in the moments that matter — whether it be caring for a sick loved one, family planning or receiving gender-inclusive benefits. Employers need to lead with their values and meet candidates where they’re.

And it’s not just about creating more meaningful employee experiences; employers also need to redefine what top talent means. The best candidates don’t always have a four-year degree at a prestigious university or job experience at a big tech company. 

Talent is spread evenly but opportunity isn’t, and it’s up to employers to broaden job requirements to create new pathways for top talent to get in the door.

Amid the Great Resignation and skills shortage, has talent acquisition become more important than ever?

Whether you call it The Great Resignation or The Great Reshuffle, the fact is that people have choices. And for talent acquisition teams, that means recruitment, hiring, and talent experience are critical. At the same time, many of the traditional elements of our recruiting playbook like office tours and in-person interviews have been reimagined. We’ve needed to create that same sense of connection, community, and trust with candidates in this new digital-first world.

For the past two years, we’ve moved to a Success From Anywhere strategy to attract and retain the very best talent. One way we’re doing this is by adding more remote roles to our workforce. In fact, ‘remote’ became our number one hiring location in 2021. By focusing on the way we hire, rather than where we hire, we’re tapping into new talent — broadening our search beyond city centers and welcoming incredible talent from new communities and geographies.

Will degree requirements go away gradually as skills-based hiring becomes more prevalent?

We evaluate candidates based on the core competencies needed to succeed in the role. For many Salesforce positions, that means you don’t need a degree in computer science or direct tech experience — what’s important is the transferable skills that can be used to excel in any given role.


We also encourage employees and candidates to take advantage of our online learning platform, Trailhead, in order to learn in-demand skills. To date, more than 3.9 million learners have skilled up on Trailhead and 1 in 3 say they found a new job with the skills they learned.

During the pandemic, about 3.5  million women left the workforce. How can businesses get women to return to the workforce? 

Without question, women have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Our role as employers is to create an environment where women can thrive. At Salesforce, we’ve found flexibility is the #1 priority for employees — and it has been an especially powerful draw for women. With our Success From Anywhere approach, we’re giving employees the flexibility to work when, where, and how they can be most impactful and to build their workday around what works best for them.

We’re also focused on creating a workplace where everyone feels seen, valued, and heard. We’ve expanded parental benefits, including expanded family care leave, childcare stipends, and other resources to help working parents. Throughout the pandemic, we continued to prioritise equal pay. Last year, we spent $3.8 million to address any gaps among gender globally and race in the U.S. — a total of more than $16 million to date. We also know that Black women are experiencing the workplace differently, so we designed a company-wide strategy focused on the Black Women experience to accelerate representation, create access, address microaggressions, and better support Black leaders.

Together, these strategies are working. We’ve been able to hire more women now than we were hiring pre-pandemic. In Q3, we had our best quarter ever for hiring women. And in 2021, we more than doubled our rate of Black women hires.

What are Salesforce's plans for expanding its talent pool? What methods do you use to encourage diversity in the workplace?

Our vision for equality is to have the most inclusive workplace possible. I had the honour of being part of the Racial Equality and Justice Task Force, designed to accelerate our equality efforts and drive change across four core pillars: People, Purchasing, Philanthropy, and Policy. Starting in 2020, we introduced new, equity-focused recruiting practices to open up access to roles for underrepresented racial minorities (Black, Latinx, and Indigenous) while redesigning our recruiting processes with equality at the center. This included training over 40,000 employees on inclusive hiring practices, implementing a diversity recruiting team, and revising our referral process.

We also introduced Salesforce Insiders to provide candidates with the opportunity to connect with a Salesforce employee to gain insight into life at Salesforce. Candidates can connect with parents, veterans, employees from underrepresented backgrounds, and LGBTQ+ employees to hear about their individual experiences, as well as any benefits and programs available to them.

What constitutes the backbone of Salesforce's hiring and recruiting strategies?

Equality is without question the backbone of our recruiting strategy. It drives innovation, strengthens our products, and ultimately helps our customers succeed.

Research shows that even well-intentioned recruiters are prone to unconscious bias when screening candidates. How do you ensure a fair assessment of potential candidates?

We are working to be the most inclusive company possible. Rather than looking for a “culture fit,” we map potential candidates to core competencies within the role. Competencies allow us to evaluate each candidate objectively and help us mitigate bias so we can consider each candidate's alignment with the skills required to succeed. All recruiters and sourcers are trained on competency-based interviewing, spotting and addressing biases, and identifying microaggressions. We also introduced our new hiring certification requirement, which includes unconscious bias training and enables inclusive hiring practices, for interviewers, hiring managers and recruiters. The goal is to reduce bias in the hiring process and open up access to underrepresented talent. 

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Topics: Recruitment, Talent Acquisition

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