Rhett Lindsey Left Six-Figures Behind to Solve the Market Need For Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Recruiting
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Rhett Lindsey

Rhett Lindsey Left Six-Figures Behind to Solve the Market Need For Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Recruiting

“As a Black queer man in tech I never really was invited to have a seat at the table,” shares Rhett Lindsey, former Facebook and Tinder recruiter making waves in Silicon Valley through his new app.

Siimee (see-me) is a new recruiting platform designed to help job seekers and employers by focusing on who people are, not what they are in order to change a system that needs work when it comes to hiring people from all walks of life.

Lindsey joined us via Zoom and shared his passion for getting HR & Recruiting right through his new platform, where companies get it wrong in the hiring process, and what about building something from the ground up brings him joy.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length. 

 

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AfroTech: What inspired you to create Siimee?

Rhett Lindsey: I wanted to build an inclusive platform, specifically in a tech startup environment that truly focuses on recruitment, outreach, and job searching because I saw firsthand the gap that job seekers experience with trying to get their foot in the door, let alone hired. Several events, in general, inspired me to step out on faith and resign from my six-figure high-salary job at Facebook — and that was one of them.

As I mentioned, I was never invited to have a seat at the table that would help to implement better strategic recruiting solutions. So, I made the decision to not just award myself a seat, but to create my own table — a table that is inclusive for all and that has inspired me to step out and create the startup Fyindr, which is now creating the platform Siimee.

AfroTech: That’s major! Shoutout to you for creating that table. How would you say Siimee is going to get it right when it comes to the diversity issue that is at hand?

Rhett Lindsey: We’re really trying to redefine what diversity recruiting means. There’s a disconnect when it comes to diversity and its definition. Historically, it’s just been about people of color and gender, but diversity is extremely broad and also includes whether you’re handicap, your age, your background, your religion. There are just so many factors surrounding diversity. Siimee will solve the market need of DE&I recruiting.

AfroTech: Speaking of recruiting, where do you feel companies get it wrong when it comes to this?

Rhett Lindsey: The first issue is that most companies — specifically those in tech — face is that they don’t know how to define ‘diversity.’ It’s hard for them to define because usually, executive leadership doesn’t reflect what underserved professionals experience or who they are.

They should work on reaching out to more organizations that are focused on specific underserved communities like Women In Tech or even you guys here at AfroTech. These organizations are crucial and are here for a reason.

I also think it’s important for companies to look at people for who they are, not what they think they are. Look at people based on their background and their aspirations for where they want to go in their careers and align that with your company goals and whatever the requirements are for the open position they’re looking to fill. Companies need to be very careful not to allow everything else to shadow the quality of who a person is.

We are all people. We have feelings. We are not a quota. We are not a target. We are not a number. We are people and it’s already hard enough getting our foot in the door, let alone getting the opportunity or the hire.

AfroTech: You hit it right on the nail, and while I know what you’re building has not been an easy feat, tell us what’s brought you the most joy about building Siimee.

Rhett Lindsey: What’s been fruitful during this experience has truly been the number of positive responses from people who identify with our mission, the product, and our goal.

Seeing the number of people that I respect, love, and admire, stand behind this platform has been extremely rewarding from co-founders to investors and even an advisory team. None of this would be possible without everyone who has helped to get us to where we are today.

It’s one thing to have the idea in your head and to be fully self-funded, but it’s another thing when you have outside influences and perspectives that are truly buying into what has been created.

Fill out the early-access form to join Siimee by clicking here.