• 03.15.2018
  • BY Proven Recruiting's Editorial Team
  • IN Hiring Managers

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.

Stop losing out to your competition or lagging behind your industry. With the talent shortage growing every day, the need to attract, hire, and support female candidates is only becoming more urgent.

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

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.

Remember: your post is communicating far more than its content; it’s communicating a certain tone and expectation. It is on you and your company to ensure that this tone is inclusive.

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

Benefits should actually benefit.

While Ping-Pong tables and well-stocked kitchens are universally appreciated, 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 will therefore significantly boost your female workforce.

Likewise, flexible hours can make the difference between a woman choosing your offer or opting for your competition. Be sure to advertise these policies in the original job posting, as well as to communicate them to your recruiter and emphasize them in final negotiations.

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

Attracting and retaining female employees in a male-dominated field – especially in a company that is already majority men – can be exasperating. Challenging. Seemingly impossible.

You’ll need to start with culture. 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.

It’s a recruiter’s job to find you the best candidates, and in this tight market, to overlook minority and female workers is to do yourself a great disservice.

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