5 min. read

Xena x Babbel: The Power of DEI Partnerships

How Xena helped diversified Babbel’s tech team with 4 new engineers

Embracing diversity in tech not only enhances the quality of products and services but also creates a more inclusive and equitable industry that reflects and serves the diverse needs of our society.

By bringing together individuals with diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences, teams can unlock a wealth of creativity and problem-solving abilities.

That’s where our partnership with Babbel kicks in. Babbel has been working closely with Xena on diversifying their hiring pipeline since 2022. Xena was approached to fill 4 vacancies across backend development. Out of 15 CVs sent, 7 were invited for an interview.

Xena candidates received a total of 4 offers of which all 4 were accepted.

We caught up with Cemre Akdemir, Talent Acquisition Lead at Babbel to ask her about our partnership experience and how we placed 4 Engineers. The roles filled were:

– 1 Senior Fullstack Developer for the Marketing Team

– 1 Senior Backend (Ruby) Developer for the B2B Team

– 2 Senior Backend (Node) Developers for the Babbel Live Team

Since working with Xena:

–Babbel has hosted 2 events: a Parenthood in Tech Meetup and Career Advice Sprint in collaboration with ReDI School of Integration.

Improved overall hiring process by means of creating diverse interview panels and adding an additional step to the process to explain benefits and how the company support D&I initiatives and overall culture.

Implemented a female engineers dashboard to track and optimise recruitment ratios in all senior and management roles.

How would you describe the Recruitment Process with Xena?

Smooth and integrated. We didn’t feel we were working with an external agency. It felt like a collaboration rather than “handing over responsibility”. From the start, we felt empathy and how it was mutually transactional and constructive how each other’s input would feed into each other.


What led you to partner with Xena?

At the beginning of 2022, internally we analysed our diversity metrics and this brought visibility to turn it into a focus area for 2023.  In order to tackle this goal, the Talent Acquisition team decided to partner with Xena in order to share the workload. This would allow us to benefit from Xena’s specialisation and for us to focus on more internal initiatives. 

Did we meet your expectations?

Yes! Our initial target was to increase female representation in our pipeline and we wanted to increase attraction amongst female engineers. We received very qualified profiles and we ended up hiring 4 of them. This was extremely valuable for our hiring managers and this gave them the opportunity to focus on quality and diversity.

From the start, our expectations were at a good state thanks to our Toddlers, Timing & Taboo Topics Meetup on navigating parenthood in tech. This was a sneak peek and preview to Xena’s community which is our target group. We could also quickly tell how we shared cultural values and we were a match from every perspective.

Other agencies show past references but with Xena, we got to meet the talent pool at the Meetup and had a preview.

The Meetup was a deciding factor for us when we picked which agency to work with. It was a game-changer for us to understand how can we work together beyond recruitment and meet the women within the community.

How would you rate the quality of the pipeline?

The overall talent that was presented to us was very special. Especially the relationship that Xena’s recruiters have with the candidates was clearly an established connection. The Xena team shared with us a lot of input about the candidates, sometimes not necessarily the exact profile we had initially thought of but this was extremely new and valuable for us because these women were a perfect Babbel culture match. Therefore we could find a role that suited the person –and not the other way around. 

Xena provided great talent which widen our perspective on what we were looking for and encouraged us to find the right place for the talent within our organisation.

The invitation to see the bigger picture was refreshing and since we have so many teams available at Babbel, it was great to see different types of shared values with the profiles presented which gave us room to decide on the skills and which team can be a better fit. 

Did anything stand out for you working with Xena?

The feedback culture we shared was special and this is extremely important for us at Babbel. We felt transparency and open communication throughout the entire process.

Each time we were introduced to a new candidate, it didn’t feel like a sell but rather the Xena team advocating for the talent. 

 The Xena team knew exactly how to communicate the strengths and any possible “downsides”. We were open to being convinced because we could tell how the Xena team was insistent based on how qualified they were and deserved a chance. 

Lastly, Xena’s community is really strong, we saw it at the Meetup and at our recent joint Career Advice Sprint dedicated to 17 ReDI School learners.

The feedback-driven culture fostered by Xena aligned perfectly with our values at Babbel, promoting transparency and open communication throughout the entire process. Their team genuinely advocated for the talent, emphasising strengths and addressing any concerns. With Xena, you get to meet the talent pool at a Meetup and have a preview – that was extremely valuable for us.

Cemre Akdemir

Talent Acquisition Lead at Babbel

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