EP41: Glovo - Prioritizing Gender and Cultural Diversity (With Fabio C. Sottile)

Prioritizing Gender and Cultural Diversity

All-In Recruitment is a podcast by Manatal focusing on all things related to the recruitment industry’s missions and trends. Join us in our weekly conversations with leaders in the recruitment space and learn their best practices to transform the way you hire.


This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Lydia: Welcome to the All-In Recruitment Podcast by Manatal, where we explore best practices, learnings and trends with leaders in the space. If you like our content so far, please subscribe to our channels on YouTube and Spotify to stay tuned for weekly episodes.

My name is Lydia and joining us this week is Fabio Sottile, Head of International Talent Acquisition at Glovo.

Hello, Fabio. Good morning to you and thank you for joining us all the way from Spain.

Fabio: Hi, Lydia, how are you? Thank you for having me here today. It's very nice to be here.

Fabio’s rapid rise at Glovo

Lydia: Wonderful. It's nice having you, too. So Fabio, tell us about your role at Glovo. I understand you've held several roles in talent acquisition in the past year and a half.

Fabio: That’s correct. I moved from Argentina to join Glovo here in Spain. I originally joined as a senior executive recruiter working for a hub called Executive Search Team for the HQ here in Barcelona. Then, after six months, I was promoted to Head of Talent Acquisition for the West Europe region at Glovo.

I also took on an interim basis the management of the ACE (South Eastern Europe) team. Then, after another six months, I took over all the regions, which comprise of 24 countries. I’m now Head of Talent Acquisition International for the business part of Glovo. I have a team of eight recruiters spread throughout Europe, who support the recruitment activities for the business side of Glovo in these 24 countries.

Lydia: That’s a very impressive progression and congratulations on moving up so fast. What were the factors behind your role changes and expansion?

Fabio: Well, this is probably one of the things that I like the most about Glovo. You never know where your path will lead you to. Everything is very flexible. There are many opportunities to move around positions and countries. So, I think I was in the right place and doing the right job at the right time. And when you combine that with a company that is fostering career development and internal talent, that’s the best thing that can happen to you.

Challenges and Rewards of Recruiting Across 24 Countries

Lydia: What are some challenges you’ve faced since taking on this role? How has the international talent market changed recently? And what areas have you focused on in terms of talent acquisition?

Fabio: We actually have different challenges, and I can name a lot of them, but basically, having such a wide range of countries and cultures, and also having different levels of brand exposure in each of the countries is one of our main challenges. It’s not the same attracting people in Spain or Italy, for instance, where we have a solid brand. Where everybody knows that Glovo is not only about delivering food or goods, but also a huge company with many different positions in tech and business.

One of our main challenges is how we get the word out there. How do we make people know that Glovo can offer great opportunities, that we have a high density of talent, and that we are present in many countries? Then, we have another challenge with this macroeconomic crisis.

Recruiters will understand that when you are trying to attract people, you need to convince them not only with your value proposition but also with your salary offer. We have a challenge there where some countries are experiencing huge inflation. And it has impacted people. It’s very hard to cope with the speed of that inflation from the company side and adjust your offers to be attractive for candidates.

So, it’s not only a matter of attracting them with your value proposition, but also from the economic side. Glovo is doing pretty well on that side. We don’t have a big problem there because we look at Glovo from every angle. But sometimes it becomes a challenge when you combine that with the lack of visibility of your product in some of the countries. It becomes a big challenge. We are taking some actions to improve that as well.

We look at every country separately. But one thing that we have very clear is that we don’t want to attract people for the compensation. Our approach is super unique and it’s something that I’ve never seen before in my previous experience.

When it comes to Glovo, our company is very focused on bringing in people who are aligned with the values and the culture, no matter what. So, if we want to build this high-density talent pool here, like the talent house at Glovo, we look for people who are very smart, very talented, who want to keep growing and learning and becoming better professionals.

We cannot just attract that type of profile with money. They should understand or we should make them understand that we are a top-notch company that looks for the best people who share the same culture of raising the bar and going full gas. And not many people identify with that.

Like when they come to Glovo, they understand how it works or they feel proud, and they value being surrounded by very talented people who are at the same time very humble and always have good vibes. Like, ‘’Here we go. Full speed.” We raise the bar, but something that you cannot say is that we don’t do it with good vibes or that we don’t care for each other. We take ownership over things that are not even in our scope. Everybody tries to collaborate and help each other.

And I think that’s the key attraction from Glovo: working in a place where you can be a better professional but at the same time, working in a great work environment as well. At Glovo, it’s not about competing. It’s more about being better, making Glovo better, making yourself better. Not only professionally but also as a human being.

Lydia: I noticed that the terms you just used such as full gas and also move fast, I think those are all exist on your career page. What does gas mean here?

Fabio: Gas is one of our values and we have recently redefined it or put it in simple words. Our values are gas, high bar, care, glow, ownership and stay humble.

Gas means to execute with speed and focus. We prioritize speed over perfection. We prefer to execute, analyze, review, and then iterate rather than waiting for the perfect scenario to execute.

We value people who are not afraid of making mistakes. Of course, we do the proper analysis. That’s why we bring in super talented people to analyze problems and situations and able to execute fast.

That would sum up what gas means for us.

Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in TA and Beyond

Lydia: I understand that you mentioned earlier about tailoring the EVP and the offering to a prospective employee according to their location and their cultural and economic needs. And I understand also that the perks and benefits change depending on the location of employees.

So, what’s the thinking behind that? And what has the feedback been like when this is communicated to candidates?

Fabio: Yeah, definitely. Let me split up the answer.

What we try to do here first is that no matter where you are working in terms of locations, whether it is Glovo office in Bucharest, Spain, Georgia, or even Nigeria, we try to have the same type of events. For instance, we value our culture days and our stand ups. We honor that and we try to keep it consistence for everybody. So, if there is a beer after the standup in a culture day in Spain, there will be beer in Nigeria as well. This is part of our culture, our DNA.

We also really listen to our employees and what they value the most in the different cultures.

Different cultures have different ideologies and I think they require you to be flexible as well.

So, we listen to our employees, we listen to the market. Just like in recruitment. What the candidates are saying? What the market usually offers? And we try to adjust that to the certain countries.

With a company this size, with 5000 employees spread around 24 countries, you cannot go into the micro details and adjust it to the micro situation. But we pay attention to what employees and candidates say or value and we try to make it happen. So, we do have perks that might differ from Spain, Nigeria, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Georgia.

Lydia: On that note, being such a diverse company with people from diverse backgrounds, what’s the approach to diversity and inclusion globally and what initiatives have you implemented that you’d like to share?

Fabio: We do have our focus on diversity. It is part of our values. To care about people also takes into the account of diversity, right? Company-wide, we have a lot of diversity and inclusion initiatives. Like courses at Glovo, where we celebrate the cultural diversity and there are many actions taken by this. There’s even a committee for cultures because we have a department for diversity and inclusion. And there are subcommittees inside which work in the different verticals like gender, cultural diversities, religion, etc. So, we value and appraise that.

When you hire any leader or manager in technology, or when you hire any manager, director, VP in business, the recruiter gets an accelerator on the bonus structure, right for hiring women, right? Because we think it’s very important to keep that balance. And right now, we are getting close to definitely closing the gap. When you look at the leadership team but we need to work a little bit harder at the VP level, right? There’s still work to do there.

And from the TA perspective, we are paying a very close attention on gender. We have a special bonus for recruiters, whenever we hire women for the roles in upper management and above.

Whenever you hire any leader, manager, director, or VP in tech business, the recruiter should get an accelerator on the bonus structure for hiring women. Because we think it’s very important to keep that balance.

And right now, we are getting close to definitely closing the gap. When you look at the leadership team. However, we need to work a little bit harder at the VP level. There’s still more work to do there. But we are very close.

Another important thing is to build a diverse pool of interviewers. Because we want to remove bias. So, if you’re making an effort to bring female candidates to the pipeline and to the final stages, you also need to have a diverse pool of interviewers. From a TA perspective, we have worked with the diversity and inclusion team and the department to build or to get a list of employees who are well known for praising and respecting diversity to become part of this pool of interviewers that come into play at a certain stage in the recruitment process. We make sure that the hiring manager is not biased. We give another perspective during the recruitment process. That’s one more thing that we’re doing.

Also, and this is going a little bit outside of the TA scope, we do salary review twice a year to measure compensation gap. If there are compensation gaps, we would review them and make adjustments. Then another very cool initiative that we have implemented is the Leadership program. It’s a kind of a mentorship program for women to become leaders. Because if we want to close the gap at the higher ranks in the company, we need to work up from the lower end.

So, we created this six-month mentorship program which all women in individual contributor roles can apply. And then they get selected based on certain criteria. For sure, we look at performance and many other factors. The ones that are selected will go through this kind of mentorship and training program. And that for sure helps them get these leadership positions at Glovo.

We used to have a team of three people only focused on diverse hiring. We used to assign certain roles to that team of recruiters that were only focused on bringing women to those pipelines. Nowadays, we have spread that function. And it’s no longer a specific team, but rather, the function lies in one two or three of our more senior recruiters in the team. And they have specific goals in terms of women in leadership positions.

Lydia: And may I ask? Do you have a specific target that you need to hit in terms of gender balance in leadership positions?

Fabio: Definitely, the first goal would be having 50-50 as the first target. Now, depending on the level of leadership, we are more than 40-60, although in some departments and in some seniority levels, you may find the opposite picture, like having more women than men, but it’s just a tiny proportion. So, first of all, we aim for the 50-50. And then we’ll see.

Lydia: So, you’ve got that 50-50. And you said earlier that you’re almost close to that 50-50. That’s great to hear. There are so many initiatives to bring about more balance to the gender split in tech, especially. And it’s really great to see how even in the hiring process, you’ve got that sensitivity to cultural bias and gender and everything else.

Fabio: Definitely, diversity and inclusion are part of our OKRs for TA. And to give you a specific example, last quarter, we hired 15 people for upper management and 11 of them were female. So that’s how we try to boost that percentage that we need to balance.

Driving Talent Acquisition with Data

Lydia: So, how long have you had this particular OKR? Or is it new this year? How long have you been working on it to reach this level?

Fabio: Somehow, it’s always present. I mean, it’s not something that we in TA have randomly, but it’s usually present within our OKRs.

Lydia: That’s great, because you’re also looking at data in this instance to see exactly where you are in terms of bringing diverse hires with more women to leadership positions in tech.

And also, that mentorship is allowing internal growth to happen and more mentoring from those who are already in senior roles inside the company to grow more people in house. That is a true example of how you use data to also inform where the talent acquisition direction is going.

Are there any other examples you’d like to share how Glovo uses data to inform your hiring decisions and improve the overall recruitment process?

Fabio: We lead by data. And we wouldn’t be able to work this way if we didn’t have the ATS. I think the ATS is a key part of our work. Because, like you said, we make many decisions based on data.

For instance, we have different KPIs for sure, but we look at many metrics in the whole recruitment process that help us managers making decisions and also help recruiters making decisions. So, for instance, we pay attention to the conversion rate through the different stages, from how many candidates you had in HR.

So here at Glovo, we pay attention to main metrics that help us make decisions. For instance, when we speak of the recruitment process, we pay attention to the conversion rates we have through the different stages.

We pay attention to how many candidates you interviewed pass the tech one stage or technical one interview, technical two or business case. We pay attention to those conversion rates first to spot if you’re having any issues or problems.

For example, if you have a high conversion rate from HR to tech, but then that conversion rate between the technical one interview and whatever the next stage is low, it means you’re having a problem with the candidates you’re sending to the tech one interview. So, it’s not only the manager, but the recruiters also pay attention to that, because that’s how they can spot that they need to take action on any of the stages within the funnel.

But then, from the ATS, we also take for instance, what’s the interviewing activity, scorecard completion, time to fill, which are super important. And we also give visibility to the business.

We use key metrics and KPIs to inform the business about the status of the pipelines, our conversion rates, our time to fill, what has been the prospecting activity and how successful we have been converting those prospects into active candidates.

And also, as managers, we also make decisions on that and provide advice whenever we have to open a new position with the business. For example, let’s say that we are going to have a director position or a GM position in XYZ country. We then look at historical data, time to fill conversion rates, etc. And we tell the hiring manager, “Hey, usually this position will take X number of days to be closed. We will have to, or we will need to have X number of candidates at the early HR stage to make sure that we get one hire.” And so on and so forth. So, data is really critical for us.

Lydia: On that point of using the data to monitor your hiring processes and make sure your decisions are relevant to the business needs, how often do you review this? What is the interval for reviewing your performance and the different conversion rates?

Fabio: We have a weekly meeting with the TA team, where we discuss our progress and challenges. We also have a monthly business review with our people director, where we show our performance and the status of the key positions, as well as our main concerns and issues. And then there’s a quarterly review for the whole business, where we also bring our insights from TA to that meeting or document. So, we review our data weekly, monthly and quarterly.

Lydia: That's enough for everyone to get a good picture of where it stands, especially when you're dealing with so many different countries as well.

Fabio: Or if you're making progress or not.

The Essential Skills for a Talent Acquisition Specialist in the Digital Age

Lydia: Exactly. And what do you need to do to tweak those processes, right? The challenges are getting more and more intricate as you go to different countries, and you probably need even more data to feed your decisions from there.

So that also means to a certain extent that the talent acquisition professionals’ job entails not just a two-dimensional job anymore. You sort of have to be many things, right?

So, how would you describe the role of talent acquisition professionals in today’s context? What do they need to have or what skills do they need to be successful?

Fabio: Okay, let me say first what I look for in a talent acquisition specialist when I want to hire for my team. I think a recruiter or a talent acquisition specialist definitely needs to have a goal-oriented mindset. If you’re not goal-oriented, it will probably be harder for a recruiter to succeed in this context. Because we are part of the business. So, whenever the business requires to fill a position, it’s because that position will bring in some money to the company. So, it means that we need to act fast. So, it’s important for our work to be goal-oriented.

Then when we speak of the hard skills, I mean the ones that you can actually learn, because being goal-oriented is kind of intrinsic, right? You have it or you don’t have it. But then it’s super important nowadays that people are super familiar with technology. It’s part of them. And also understanding that data is your best friend. We make decisions based on data more and more.

So, I would suggest if somebody told me, “Hey, I want to start in the talent acquisition world, etc.” First, you need to handle all the online tools like the G Suite, you need to understand how an ATS works, for sure LinkedIn, and you need to learn how to do Boolean searches. Many things that probably are not specifically related to interviewing people.

It’s also very important that you start having this mathematical approach. In the past, we were not hired or selected as recruiters by handling data. But that is crucial nowadays. And probably this may sound very basic, but it’s not only a matter of how you extract the data, it’s how you interpret the data. And when you need to interpret data, it’s very important that you’re good at math. If you’re good at statistics, even better. Nonetheless, it’s super important that you understand data, that you can bring insightful data and comments and you can take insightful decisions when it comes to recruiting that are supported by data.

And then of course you need to have the skill of stakeholder management. Sometimes it’s not everything about presenting the perfect candidate, but also being able to influence your hiring manager with a good candidate and influence your hiring managers to make decisions. So, all in all, I think that’s a combination of all those skills.

How AI Can Help Recruiters Find More Candidates Faster

Lydia: You brought up technology and data. And I love the mathematical approach and the emphasis on being able to interpret numbers that we see from the technology that we use. That leads me to my next question, which is the widespread adoption of AI into many parts of the business that we see today.

We’ve got ChatGPT and all the tools available run by AI and now it’s taking over everything that we do inside the business sphere. So, how do you think TA professionals can benefit from AI?

Fabio: Definitely, we should benefit from that. Because usually, where we struggle the most many times is bringing a good number of candidates to the top of the funnel or the top of our pipelines. And I think that AI should be the one helping us to do so. We would spend less time looking for candidates.

AI can be very helpful in one of our pain points nowadays. Usually for recruiters, the pain point is to have stronger and robust pipelines at the beginning of the funnel. I mean, having a greater number of candidates at the beginning of the pipeline. And we spend a lot of time running Boolean searches, sorting through LinkedIn, trying to find candidates. I think that’s where AI should help us with. Like, running automated scripts where we can just input the job descriptions, skills required, experience, etc. And that’s it. The AI would suggest the most qualified candidates for that position.

I think there’s still a lot to do in that regard. I haven’t seen any accurate tools so far and I haven’t explored a lot. But like a recent example, we tried some searches with ChatGPT, and it wasn’t that precise. The data that it would bring or the candidates it would suggest was not probably updated or accurate. So, there’s still a lot of work and a lot of research we have to do with AI to improve it.

But definitely it won’t replace a recruiter. It definitely won’t, believe me. Rather, it will make a recruiters’ life easier, much easier. They will just take care of interviewing and making sure that that person is a great cultural fit. And that cannot be replaced by AI but it will make our work faster for sure.

Crafting An Authentic and Relevant Employer Branding Message

Lydia: That’s a great point. Moving from the manual tasks and all those tedious works that you do on a day-to-day basis and handing it over to AI to handle that. And then things like cultural fit, which can be a hit or miss sometimes, especially when you’re hiring fast and wide. You may want to spend a lot more time trying to sharpen those kinds of assessments, right?

So, it’s great to see how the talent acquisition as an industry and as a function is being enhanced or enriched by technology in so many ways. And also, that we see data being the backbone of everything, a lot of practices and a lot of improvement in the process. It’s moving at a rate that we’ve never seen before, exponentially fast.

It also goes back to the competitive job market that we’re seeing. And companies make many different decisions based on the data they have. But in terms of an employer brand, in today’s competitive job market, how can companies differentiate themselves as employers so that they can appeal to a much wider talent pool?

Fabio: What I think is that employer branding is what your employees tell their friends when they go out, when they have lunch or dinner together, when they spend time out of the office. They spread the word. So, I think that the first thing you need to do, as a company, is to work inside. Like making sure that if you’re saying that you’re a diverse company, you’re actually a diverse company. Because your employees will be the ones spreading the word and that will be your brand as an employer.

And for sure, you have to listen to your EVP. What’s your EVP in each of your countries? It won’t be the same in every country. You have to base your message on that EVP. You need to make sure that that is actually true and that is actually happening in that country.

And also try to combine that with the market values. For example, if you go to a country where diversity is not very advanced culturally and you say that you are very focused on diversity, that may not be attractive or relevant for your target candidates in that country. So, you need to combine your EVP also with what the local and relevant market is requesting.

Lydia: That’s very intricate. And it can sound pretty complex when you’re looking at many different markets. So, how do you go about looking at all these different data points and matching them together? And how do you make sure that you have a well-oiled machine in terms of understanding all these different markets cohesively, especially in an international context?

Fabio: We do have it because we’re part of it. It’s our climate survey, where we get super insightful information from every country. And we build that EVP. Moreover, we also run specific surveys to see what the drivers of engagement for our employees in the different countries are. And then for sure, we have another input which is coming from TA. Like, what is the perception? And what are the candidates valuing in different countries?

And of course, you need to make sure that you combine both, like you said. Like, looking at your EVP. What are the top five most valued benefits or attributes in each of the countries? And you combine that with what you get from the industry and from the market. That’s how you should build your employer branding message.

Organizing, Tracking, and Optimizing TA With ATS

Lydia: What is the impact of recruitment technology on hiring? I know we touched on this a little bit earlier, but what are the benefits that you’ve seen so far in your experience?

Fabio: Definitely. Imagine managing 230 open roles only with a spreadsheet. It would be crazy. So basically, ATS helped us a lot with organizing our processes, having feedback, having statuses, having all that information.

Now, of course, apart from candidates, you store the candidates in your ATS. Otherwise, you would have their CVs spread in tons and tons of folders in your shared drive. So, for sure there’s a content management function that you cannot replace with any other thing. But most importantly, it’s the data that we are extracting from ATS.

At Glovo, we work with an ATS that we combine with a software for visualization, where we see our KPIs and our different metrics and everything we use to monitor performance. And so, the ATS is like the heart of it. Without the ATS we wouldn’t be able to track data. And we use data for making decisions as I explained before. We monitor our conversion rates, prospecting activity, interviewing activity, scorecard quality, scorecard completion, time to fill, and many other metrics. So, they all come from the ATS.

Definitely, technology for recruiting is more than irreplaceable nowadays. I cannot imagine my work only with spreadsheets. And definitely for the future it will become more and more sophisticated, especially if we can integrate AI to it.

Fabio’s Advice to New Players in the TA Scene

Lydia: What advice would you give someone who is starting out in talent acquisition today?

Fabio: Definitely use all of your energy to learn. Because we keep on learning every day. Make data your best friend. Definitely understand that recruitment is not just a matter of talking to candidates. That would be like the end point or the middle point for us. And focus on your skills in technology.

Try to understand an ATS, try to understand the logic behind LinkedIn, try to understand what Boolean searches are, what writing a script means. Talk to developers, talk to people in the technology sector to understand the logic of it. Because that will help you a lot when it comes to looking for candidates on the internet. Until you have the famous AI helping you, it will be your best tool.

And then go back to your books from high school. And check the math part, check statistics. Because that will help you understand the data coming from your work and your recruitment processes. It will help you understand what’s going on and make accurate decisions. And it will make you more efficient.

But never forget about your human part. Because you’re dealing with humans, you’re interviewing people, and your stakeholders will be managers or directors or whatever. They are human. And for sure, that’s the other part of your job: trying to work with those people and influence them.

Lydia: Thank you so much for your time and your rich insights today. I think it’s been valuable to hear how many different initiatives have been implemented, especially concerning the way data is used. And the different initiatives to ensure that there are more women in tech leadership, and more initiatives for diversity and inclusion as well.

It’s particularly interesting to see how there are different types of interviewers that are put into that, that have come from inside the company. So, I think that’s really interesting to understand. And I wish you all the best in making sure that you hit those targets for diversity and also the gender inclusion part. I’m sure you’re already on track for that.

So, where can the audience connect with you? Is it on LinkedIn? Which is your preferred platform?

Fabio: Definitely, LinkedIn is my preferred platform. You can just shoot me a message there. Or you can find my email and my phone number on my profile. They are public, so you can grab them from there.

Lydia: Excellent. Thank you so much.

And we have been in conversation with Fabio C. Sottile, Head of International Talent Acquisition at Glovo. Thank you for joining us this week.

If you like our content, please subscribe to our channels to stay tuned for more weekly episodes from All-In Recruitment.

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