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Facebook’s Head of Diversity: ‘Nobody Is Handing Out Jobs — We Want to Give Opportunity’

“When we talk about diversity, we’re not talking about ticking boxes.” Cutting straight to the point, Facebook’s Global Head of Diversity Maxine Williams knows full well the preconceived notions and hushed opinions of those who question corporate diversity initiatives. “We’re not talking about doing things because we have to,” says Williams, “we are talking about doing things because we want to, because we can only be the company we want to be, we can only build communities as strong as we want to build them, if we have more diversity.”

It is this blend of straightforwardness, honed strategy and a signature smile that makes Williams a force in the diversity and inclusion space, but also the go-to executive for Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg.

At the heart of Facebook’s win as the #1 Best Place to Work is its people. The over 25,000 employees at Facebook are uniquely innovative and increasingly diverse. According to their 2017 diversity update, the number of women globally has risen from 33% to 35% and the number of women in tech has increased from 17% to 19%. Women now make up 27% of all new graduate hires in engineering and 21% of all new technical hires at Facebook. In the US, they have increased the representation of Hispanics from 4% to 5%, and Black people from 2% to 3%.

However, while Williams can celebrate the strides the 14-year-old company has made, she isn’t satisfied. “If you ask me when would I be satisfied, I’d be satisfied when it’s 50% [women at Facebook],” she says in an exclusive interview with Glassdoor. “My satisfaction is sky’s the limit. ‘More,’ I keep saying. People say, ‘How many do you want?’ More, I always want more.”

With nearly 3,000 open roles to fill and over 50 offices worldwide, Facebook is eager to hire more talented innovators of all backgrounds, not only to get those number up but to make sure the company reflects their over 2 billion users.

“I’m looking for problem solvers and builders,” Williams said frankly. “I’m not hiring people to say to them, ‘Here is what you need to do.’ I hire them, and say to them, ‘Here are the problems we’re trying to solve.’ I want people who are deep thinkers, who are curious, who are analytical, who are ready to build with other people.”

On the heels of winning the #1 Best Place to Work — an honor that Facebook has now clinched for the third time in the ten years — Williams sat down with Glassdoor’s Editorial Director Amy Elisa Jackson to talk candidly about diversity at Facebook, what it takes to be hired there, and the soca music that is the soundtrack to her success!

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