Increasing Gender Diversity Starts with the Hiring Process
If you’re serious about increasing the diversity in your workforce, start with the hiring process. We’ve identified and outlined three simple suggestions that will improve your hiring process and increase gender diversity.
1) The hiring process begins with the job posting, so make sure the wording in the posting does not discourage women from applying.
2) Encourage female candidates to apply! Sounds obvious, but it will get more females in the hiring funnel.
3) Make sure your company has taken steps to eliminate the similar-to-me bias that can exist in the interview process.
Make Sure Your Job Posting Doesn’t Discourage Women From Applying
A recent LinkedIn study called Language Matters, researchers found that both men and women responded in a positive manner to words and phrases like “hard working,” “confident,” and “good at my job.” These are words that focus on job performance and are considered gender neutral. Alternatively, when words like “aggressive” were used, 44 percent of women in the study indicated that they would not apply for the job. Similar results have been found with words that are common in tech like “ninja” or “crushing/killing it”. A strong starting point for hiring more women is making sure you are not discouraging women from applying based on the wording of a job listing.
Another reason gender neutral job descriptions matter, is that it outlines the ideal candidate. If the ideal candidate is described in words that are more masculine, this can shape the idea of what the ideal candidate looks like in the minds of those involved in the hiring process as well. Words that are usually considered masculine in a job posting can lead to an unconscious bias for male candidates for that position.
Get More Women in Your Funnel
Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” cited research showing that men apply when they meet 60 percent of qualifications and women apply when they meet 100 percent of the qualifications. Sheryl encourages women to apply even when they do not meet all the qualifications. In general, women do need to apply for more opportunities, but that’s only part of the equation. Companies need to invite qualified females to apply as well. That also means that hiring managers need to have qualified women in their networks to reach out to.
One of the strategies that Blizzard Entertainment used to increase their female interns by 166% in one year was reaching out to women’s groups on campus to help with recruiting. They also asked current female employees about the organizations that they participated in during college and made sure to let those organizations know about the opportunities available at Blizzard.
If you do not have qualified women in your network, reach out to women’s organizations. The website hire www.morewomenintech.com has a list of women’s organizations specific to the tech industry, as well as other resources. Locally, I would add The Women Tech Council, The Sego Awards, and Braid Workshops to the list.
Avoid Bias in the Interview Process
When companies say they hire for culture fit, it can be worrisome. Without defining what culture fit is, i.e. the skills and attributes a person needs to fit the culture, hiring for culture can fall prey to the similar-to-me bias. One example of this would be asking a question like “What are your hobbies?” to gauge culture fit.
Companies should focus on the essential skills and attributes needed for a candidate to be successful in the role and at that company. The next step would be to define the measure for each of those skills and attributes whether it’s an interview question, work sample etc. This article offers additional tips on this process, as well as a list of 100 sample interview questions.
In an article for the Atlantic about how Slack increased diversity, noted that Slack redid their interview process. They determined the characteristics and skills of a successful hire for each role they were looking to fill. Next then came up with an interview question for each skill and characteristic. It’s also important to note that they used a structured interview process and asked each candidate the same questions.
If you’re interested in learning how to effectively remove bias and decrease your employee turnover rate, contact us today. We help use the power of predictive analytics to help you find employees that are qualified for your positions and will be a great fit for your company.
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