How to: Inclusive early career and college recruiting

Last edited on February 17, 2022

0 minute read

    Cockroach Labs has been investing in early career recruiting since we first started the company. In 2016, only a year after the company’s inception, we brought on our first intern. Since then, we’ve steadily built a program driven by a passion for diversity and inclusion, creativity, and unique perspectives.

    Similar to many other companies, Cockroach Labs had a plan that was working smoothly and that we planned to expand upon with our Early Career recruitment strategy, but with the pandemic, we had to shift our vision. This meant figuring out which virtual events made sense for our company, partnering with a mixture of new and old campuses/organizations and asking ourselves how we could create meaningful connections with students throughout the process.

    Planning and Strategy

    As we’ve noted in the past it is important for us to build long term investments and develop a data driven strategy to measure our success over time. With the virtual transition, we knew it was possible to reach more campuses and candidates, but we wanted to retain the objectives we put forth when starting the program:

    • Build a thoughtful, cost-effective, and repeatable college outreach and hiring effort.

    • Establish long-term connections with faculty, staff, and students in computer science.

    • Increase employer awareness for short- and long-term hiring purposes.

    • Leverage college recruiting as a vehicle for developing robust and diverse talent.

    We decided to do a mixture of large scale events and smaller specialized events. Our large scale events included events such as our Canada “Meet an Engineer” event, Fall internship hiring panel, etc where any college student was able to join the events where they could learn about Cockroach Labs and our hiring process. In addition to hosting events in partnerships with on-campus career centers, we also partner with student groups directly. Here’s some of the other ways our program has developed to meet our aims:

    Thoughtful, Cost-Effective, and Repeatable: By focusing on a targeted presence in classrooms and student organizations across the country, we reach a more relevant student population. When we do it right, we’ll be welcomed back next year!

    Build Short- and Long-Term Relationships in Computer Science: By engaging with faculty and students at some of the best computer science programs in the country, we get to work with the brightest minds in the field today and in the future. Today they’re interns, tomorrow they’ll be engineers.

    Increase Employer Awareness: By putting our technology and engineers in the classroom, we raise awareness about Cockroach Labs and CockroachDB. Giving out swag or treats like Doordash gift cards is just a perk!

    Develop a Diverse Talent Pool: We can only engage diverse student groups and get them excited to apply if we continuously show up, so we made sure to look beyond top 20 CS programs and pay attention to events and programs fostering inclusion. This meant partnering with organizations such as HBCU 20x20, The Marcy Lab School, and Rewriting the Code.


    With this past year, we decided to hone in on 10 campuses and partner with 3 organizations. We wanted to connect with a high volume of students studying relevant technology while taking into consideration cost. This led to focusing on partnerships with student organizations, workshops (mock interviews, resume review, etc), technical information sessions, and hackathons.

    Measuring Success of the Early Career Recruiting Program

    Early career programs are meant for students and growing talent. We believe it’s important to receive feedback from our audience on our events, interview process, and on their time with us if they join Cockroach Labs. Otherwise, our program won’t get better with time.

    After each event we check in with our campus team to make sure they have what they need to realize the program’s mission and to gain their perspective on whether we’re seeing the right results. From these check-ins, we learned which universities and events had unique and diverse audiences. That way, we can make sure to go back!

    To measure awareness, we’re collecting information at our events and in our applications about where students hear about Cockroach Labs or CockroachDB for the first time. Whether it’s a campus event, a Linkedin post, a friend, etc. This is important to us to see how our efforts are being translated onto those campuses and organizations.

    To better understand strengths and pain points in the hiring process, we will collect data on pass-through rates at each stage of university recruiting interviews. This includes the total number of hires through the program, an essential performance indicator.

    We continue to not set specific quotas for hiring, but we monitor applications for demographics to ensure that we are conducting the appropriate outreach and trending in a more equitable direction. This is all important so we are able to continue growing the program and company.


    Every year we want to raise the bar in terms of diversifying our university recruiting program, trying new events and reach a wider breadth of students. Building this program over the past five years has been nothing short of exciting and pivotal to our success as a company.

    We know that it’ll be important to continue these strategies and remote options moving forward to create an inclusive environment for all. We know it’ll always be a work in progress and we’ll continue to iterate, but we hope this inspires you to put intention behind building your university recruiting program.

    Learn more about our Early Career opportunities here. If you’re interested in joining our team, check out our open positions!