Why You’re Not Attracting More Female Candidates

2018-03-15 | BY Proven Recruiting's Editorial Team | IN Hiring

Why You’re Not Attracting More Female Candidates

Depending on your industry, it can range from extremely easy – doctors, social workers, veterinarians – to extremely hard – software engineers, statisticians, data scientists – to identify and retain female professionals. While women comprise nearly 50% of the US workforce, they make up just 24% of STEM workers.

But women aren’t an impenetrable black box of motivations and desires, their needs unknowable and their job search patterns random. Their drives are, in fact, quite easily discernable – if only you make the effort to listen.

Investing in a few calculated changes can make all the difference.

Benefits should actually benefit.

While Ping-Pong tables and well-stocked kitchens are universally appreciated (at least, when you can go into the office), they are almost never deciding factors in offer negotiations. Moreover, these non-essential ‘fun’ benefits are far less appealing to women.

In contrast, 25% of women report that parental leave policies form a serious part of their job considerations. A liberal policy can significantly boost your female workforce – though If you’re a small or mid-sized company, this might be a costly investment; maybe one you can’t afford, even. Only you and your team can weigh the benefits and challenges, but just know that such measures will not go unnoticed and unvalued. A company is just a collection of people, and people want to feel supported inside and outside of work. 

Likewise, flexible hours can make the difference between a woman choosing your offer or opting for your competition. Especially in a hybrid/remote world, it’s important to not only trust your people to manage their own time, but to clearly articulate this trust so people know they can be flexible as needed. 

Advertising these policies in your original job posting should significantly increase your appeal. At the same time, communicate your flexible culture to recruiters and emphasize it in offer negotiations.

Your job posts speak volumes.

Avoiding gendered language goes well beyond nixing ‘him’ and ‘her’ from your professional lexicon. When writing job posts, seemingly harmless allusions to ‘rock star candidates’ or ‘assertive go-getters’ can unintentionally leave women feeling excluded.

Don’t take anything for granted. If you’re struggling – or if you could benefit from a second set of digital eyes – this handy Gender Decoder can provide valuable insight into your language choices. Just copy/paste your material into the box, and watch as the decoder determines whether the ad is female or male-coded based on select keywords.

Job posts communicate far more than their content; they communicate a certain tone and expectation. It is on you and your company to ensure that this tone is inclusive. If you’re feeling lost, this job post quick-guide can help. 

Otherwise, you risk losing some of your best candidates before they even interview.

No one wants to be the only woman in the room.

Consider creating a ‘culture quiz,’ to be passed around and completed anonymously. This survey should shine light on your employees’ personal experiences – and how those experiences may differ for men and women. Example questions include, on a scale of 1 to 10:

– I am comfortable offering my opinion – even when no one else agrees

– I feel included in after-work group activities / I feel obligated to join after-work group activities

– Sometimes I sneak out early to run a personal errand / I am comfortable occasionally asking permission to leave early for personal matters

With your new knowledge, research and implement systems to support your existing female workforce. Training, encouraging, and promoting women to leadership positions will help you expand your female recruiting efforts.

The fact is, most companies are self-replicating. If there are very few women at your company, the trend will continue. No one wants to be the only woman in the room. Promoting existing female employees to a position where they themselves can hire will greatly increase your probability of success.

It’s time you speak to a recruiter.

As a minority-run company, Proven Recruiting has made a deep commitment to proactively hiring and placing employees of all backgrounds, races, genders, sexualities, etc., and embedding accountability for diversity throughout our organization as well as our clients’.

And while not all agencies have made a similar commitment, any competent recruiter can easily list the benefits of recruiting a diverse workforce – and help you to reach your diversity goals quickly and ethically.

Without intentional effort, your company will continue to self-replicate. This is the time to embrace change. Get in touch to learn more.

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