3 Steps to Recruit More Women

Let’s cut to the chase. You want to succeed. You want your business to succeed. You’ll need higher production, service, and profits. That means the best talent. So why would you limit yourself?

To build a high performing team and business, focus on intentionally recruiting more women.

Why?

Having the best talent on your team will help you excel. When you have the best people on your team, they will better anticipate customer needs, make better business decisions and help you achieve higher levels of performance. If you don’t hire the best talent, you can be sure your competitors will.

Half the university graduates are women. Women make somewhere between 75% to 85% of consumer purchasing decisions. Women are a major sources of talent, customers and market influence.

There is a proven link between diversity and profitability — to the tune of an additional $28 trillion in GDP by 2025. Parity in the workplace promotes stronger communication, better problem-solving and stronger than average market performance. Purely from a financial standpoint, the benefits of recruiting women are staggering.

How to Recruit More Women: Move from Passive to Active

Since we’re all on board with why we should recruit more women. The question now becomes how? Advocating for women in the workforce is an important first step, but to recruit more women you’ll need to move from a passive hiring approach to an active and intentional recruiting strategy. Here are three steps to recruit more women:

Recruit More WomenStep 1: Start Internally

When it comes to hiring, look at your internal values and practices to identify unconscious bias. Most recruiting practices have been unconsciously built with men as the default option, meaning that the ideal candidate typically possesses male characteristics. Having systems that are predisposed to selecting men is a major contributor to the low number of women in leadership.

From there, check your company culture. Are women appreciated and provided with equal opportunities? Is your team built with people who are different than you? A diverse team and inclusive culture will be more appealing to women candidates.

If you are struggling to identify disparities in your hiring practices and culture, ask someone to give you feedback on this aspect of your company or team. A female would be a good “someone” in this instance.

Step 2: Send the Right Message

With biases acknowledged, push your actions externally. Advertisements and job postings play a huge role in how women view your company. To recruit more women, ensure that your website, recruitment materials, and interviewers are diverse and inclusive. This does not mean adding pink.

Experiment with having applications or resumes presented without a person’s name or gender indicators. Instead of using words in job postings and job descriptions like “Competitive environment,” try “Competitive industry with a collaborative working environment.” In lieu of “Crush the competition,” go with “Win in the marketplace.” Also, can we all just chill out on sports and military analogies? Words matter.

These types of changes make your jobs and company more appealing to women and grab their attention when they are searching for opportunities.

Step 3: Hunt vs. Wait

Get active and intentional. To recruit more women, don’t just wait for women to apply.

Approach qualified women you know and tell them you consider them a strong candidate for a role you have available.

Hunt for female candidates in unlikely places. Look for women with skills and talents that have gone undetected. Consider women that you may not have previously thought of, specifically women who may have different backgrounds than you typically look for. Look for women who have taken a career break or downshifted their professional lives for a period of time but are now ready to fully engage.

Think about women you interact with in your volunteer, board of directors, social or religious activities and reach out to university alumni networks. Ask your colleagues, clients, friends and family members especially your wife, daughter, and mother to connect you with talented women they know.

When it comes to hunting, Georgia Tech is a fantastic example of successfully attracting diverse students. In 2015, female enrollment in the engineering student body reached 32 percent, a far cry from the 17 percent national average. Those numbers didn’t happen on accident; Georgia Tech actively pursued and attracted top female students. Follow their lead and invite women to spend time getting to know you and your company.

Take these methods a step further and insist that your recruiters provide you with a diverse pool of candidates for every job opening. A regional vice president at Salesforce, a global cloud computing company, shared with me that he believes that his implementation of this practice is one of the main reasons 40% of his team is comprised of women (not common for a tech team).

Is It Worth It?

Why should you go to such lengths to recruit and retain women? Simple. It’s never easy to find top talent and seeking women is no exception. Women are the largest source of untapped human resources. Recruiting women isn’t “nice” or kind. It’s smart and strategic.

As a smart and strategic leader — given your interest in this article, I imagine you are — take some time to work through these steps, they will pay dividends for you and your business.

If you found this article helpful, pass it on to your boss, colleague, or a friend who shares your enlightened thinking. You and they can subscribe to my monthly newsletter where I’ll be dishing out more practical advice like this every month.

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