Top Tips for Recruiting More Women
Many hiring managers strive to hire more women into tech roles but face challenges when it comes to attracting female talent. This subject comes up time and time again at our networking events so I thought I would collate some of the useful ideas and guidance I have learned and am putting into practice along with the Ivanti UK Talent Acquisition team.
1. Analyse your recruitment process. It would be really helpful to understand at what point women drop out of the recruitment process. Most hiring managers I speak to struggle to attract women to certain roles and don’t get enough CVs from female candidates. But if you are getting a lot of CVs and not hiring then the recruitment process itself could be to blame.
2. Raise the profile of women in your organisation. Whether this is through social media, your website, and/or if possible, public relations. Most candidates will research a company before applying for a role so make sure it is apparent that you have female employees and they are high-profile and highly regarded.
1. Ask for what you really want. A report was published by Hewlett Packard a few years ago and it stated that men will apply for a job even when they only meet 60 percent of the qualifications, while women will apply for a job only if they meet 100 percent of the qualifications.
Really think about your list of requirements for a position and keep them to the absolute “must haves”. Then list all the "nice to haves". This may encourage more women to apply. Also, suggesting on-the-job training can be an attractive prospect for women and reinforce the fact that you are not necessarily looking for someone who has it all right now. After all, cultural fit and attitude can often be more important.
Another thing to think about is the softer skills. I have spoken to many service desk managers who have struggled to hire females, and when we talk about the job description vs. the perfect candidate, quite often it is not about technical ability but about other skills. Many people feel that they are not technical enough to apply for a specific role, so listing the softer skills required—combined with the ability to train on the job—can make a role more appealing and is a great way to attract people looking to start a career in technology. Think about traits like creativity and good communication.
2. Offer flexible working. It is said that around 60 percent of experienced women want flexible working. When I am recruiting, I find that this is something which comes up in interviews far more with women than men, and not just from mums (or dads). Flexible working could be job share, home-working, occasional home-working, flexible hours or part-time.
3. Avoid unconscious bias. This is something which a lot of businesses regularly review, including Ivanti in the UK. Some job descriptions use language which is accidentally gender biased. A very obvious example is “Superstar” which may appeal to men but not women. This is a great tool for decoding your language.
Here are some example of male-biased words:
- Highly Intelligent
Here are some examples of female-biased words:
- Learn new things
- Highly motivated
- Love learning
This is not to say that all women will be put off by these words—and I personally don’t think you need to avoid them altogether—but just thinking about the balance and making small adjustments can make a big difference.
1. Have women on the interview panel. Granted, you do need to get CVs for women as first stage but, when you do, this is a great way to ensure that the candidate gets a feel for the company culture and can see that she will be part of a diverse team. Nobody wants to feel alone in the workplace.
2. Talk about Women in Tech. If you have a Women in Tech community, programme or network, talk about it during the interview process and list it on your company benefits page. Not all women care for this but those who do will appreciate it.
3. Back to work programs. If you have a back to work program again, talk about it and include on your companies benefits page.
4. Flexible working. Many women I interview seem reluctant to ask about flexible working (I believe there is still a stigma attached to this in some organisations which causes this reluctance). In the UK, we cannot ask if someone has children and so I always assume it could be a deciding factor and bring up the topic of flexible working, with some examples of how other members of my team work flexibly.
Hopefully this has given you some food for thought around recruiting more women in to your teams. We’d love to hear any suggestions you may have so feel free to message us via Twitter @TheTechieGirls!