🏗️ Building your women in tech recruitment strategy
Partner message from VanHack: The dos and don'ts for attracting and hiring women in tech.
Hiring developers can be a mammoth task on its own. Let alone, hiring women for your product and engineering teams. The lack of gender balance and distribution on teams is holding organizations back from greater innovation and boosting their bottom line.
Real talk: The modern workplace is changing, and employers are quickly recognizing the need to make significant diversity improvements to their teams and the importance of building an equitable workforce.
If you’re late to the game, there’s no time like the present to address issues head on, and reassess your talent pipeline and team makeup.
One jumping-off point is your women in tech (WiT) recruitment strategy, and its alignment with your organization’s broader DEI and gender parity goals.
To help, here are a few dos and don’ts for employers looking to rework their WiT talent attraction and recruitment strategy:
👍DO expand recruitment avenues
Traditional recruitment channels (Indeed, LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, etc…) have been the go-to sourcing spots for hiring teams.
Go beyond the obvious. Find women where they are: To increase your women tech talent pool and applicants, expand your recruitment avenues and outbound efforts to include women-focused social networks, niche communities and career fairs targeting diversity such as: Tech Ladies, FairyGodBoss, Girls in Tech, Diversify Tech, Power to Fly, and Remote Woman.
The power of community and referrals: Women-led communities are a hotbed of WiT talent. But above all else, these close-knit communities are dedicated to prioritizing gender diversity in technology, and can be a critical resource for companies looking to connect and engage with women tech talent.
Many of these communities have job boards and forums, an ideal spot for companies to share and advertise roles where women are actively looking and engaging with their peers.
Additionally, these communities and networks serve as a safe place for female tech professionals to build relationships and empower one another, while referring job or funding opportunities to other women in the network.
Career fairs: Another avenue to participate in is career fairs targeting diversity. These hiring events are a great way to source a large number of candidates, and interview qualified women in tech in a short period of time.
Learn more about VanHack’s Women in Tech Hiring Events here.
👎DON’T just stop at setting a DEI goal
Conducting an audit and setting a DEI goal is a significant step, but it’s the followthrough that truly matters.
To be successful, DEI work is done consistently over time. Working towards a gender-balanced team requires the team to acknowledge that the time to hire for finding the right candidate may take a bit longer, require additional resources but will have long-term payoffs benefiting your team culture, product, and revenue.
A successful DEI strategy must have a measurable goal and actionable next steps. Ensure the process is done with fairness and transparency, and for leadership and the broader organization to hold each other accountable, and have full visibility into their DEI progress:
Building a Strategic Action Plan - What are the critical tasks and relevant actions for success, and when do you anticipate its rollout?
Integrating regular check-ins - How are you tracking against your goals?
Measure with data - What are your key success metrics and how is this being measured and reported?
Accountability and transparency - Are there concrete examples for the team to actively work towards being more equitable and inclusive, and is everyone looped in on the progress? Is there a healthy feedback culture?
👍DO increase visibility of women
72% of recruiting leaders believe employer branding significantly impacts hiring.
Does your employer branding reflect your organizational values, and authentically showcase the existing, brilliant women on your team?
If you’re looking to attract the brightest women tech talent to apply, review your company’s owned channels. Update your company pages and content, by highlighting your shared values, DEI goal, and progress.
Featuring the women on your team and their stories allow candidates conducting preliminary research on your company to get a sense of your culture, and how women like them are thriving (It goes without saying that you’ll have to do more than just include a few photos and a quick blurb on your website).
Having women visible and represented in senior leadership and board level is key: According to Harvard Business Review, organizations with women in senior positions are more profitable, socially responsible and provide higher quality customer experience among many other benefits.
Take a look at your executive leadership, and representation. Having women at the C-suite and senior management, with decision making power to transform the business for the better.
For female applicants, an example of women in leadership can build a sense of inclusivity, relatability and trust in knowing they are coming into space where women have a seat at the table, and a path has been paved.
👎DON’T use exclusionary or gendered language
Unconscious (gender) bias can rear its ugly head in written language, especially in how job descriptions are crafted.
Inherent gender coding and language have the potential to turn applicants off from applying. For example, vocabulary such as “rockstar,” “dominant,” “hero,” and “competitive” tend to denote masculine and dominant actions. Candidates from marginalized groups may feel alienated and unable to relate to these descriptors, and may decide against applying.
Instead of fluffing up your job descriptions with quippy, gender-charged terms and superlatives, focus on building job descriptions zero into the role at hand, written with inclusivity and a diverse audience in mind.
Tools including Gender Decoder and Textio can help you identify gender charged words with inherent bias.
Additionally, review job descriptions for:
Simplicity: Have a closer look at what’s absolutely essential to be successful in a role. Going through this process would allow you to identify what are “must haves” vs. “nice to haves.” Consider trimming down the non-essentials, so candidates don’t feel intimidated by the position if they don’t meet all the checkboxes
Pronouns: Keep your descriptions gender-neutral, and eliminate use of gendered pronouns he/she and him/her. Opt for second or third person pronouns such as You/Your or They/Them.
👍DO design workplaces and benefits with women in mind
Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility. We can’t emphasize this enough.
With women carrying the bulk of family and household responsibilities, it’s no surprise 22 percent of women often leave the workforce, dropping out mid-career to attend to responsibilities at home.
To retain women in tech, having an environment and compensation plan that directly addresses and equips women with what they need to succeed in both their professional and personal lives can make a difference as to whether your top-notch candidate accepts or rejects an offer.
Consider including the following workplace benefits that focus on supporting working professionals to balance their work and home life:
Mentorship, professional development, and career advancement opportunities
Start building a gender balanced team: Women in Tech Hiring Event
VanHack connects you with over 40K+ qualified women in tech, ready to interview and hire.