7 Tips for Recruiting Women

March was Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate the accomplishments of women in the U.S. In recent decades, women have made tremendous strides in the realms of work and education. Despite these accomplishments, women still have a glass ceiling to break through, and a few changes to recruiting efforts can help tremendously.

Women’s labor force participation rate has increased steadily, since Rosie the Riveter first paved the way during the World War II era. Today, women account for 57 percent of the U.S. workforce. Women now earn the majority of associate (60 percent) and bachelor’s degrees (57 percent), as well as 37 percent of all MBAs, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

When it comes to the working world, women’s participation is important. “The New Business Imperative: Recruiting, Developing and Retaining Women in the Workplace,” a white paper from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, shows that companies with a higher percentage of women in top management positions have increased growth in stock prices and larger returns on equity.

Women dominate the workforce in sheer numbers, education and business performance. Still, just 22 companies in the Fortune 500 are run by women.

So why aren’t there more women in leadership roles? A number of factors impede women’s progress into executive positions.

There’s a lack of confidence among female leaders. Despite their true talent, female executives are prone to “impostor syndrome,” and may be hesitant to seize opportunities they fear they’re unqualified for.

Caring for children is still a role dominated by women. Although the number of stay-at-home dads has risen markedly in recent years (peaking at 2.2 million in 2010), caring for young children is still a traditionally female role. When a woman drops out of the workforce, it effectively derails her career. The loss of momentum can make it extremely difficult for her to get back on an upward trajectory.

Corporate America still isn’t ready. Without a doubt, our nation has made progress in terms of facilitating women’s leadership opportunities. But like it or not, organizational culture is still plagued with pervasive gender stereotypes and double standards that hold women back from rising through the ranks as quickly as their male counterparts.

Given the obstacles talented female executives still face, it’s little wonder their climb into the upper echelons of senior management is occurring at a glacial pace. Here’s how to attract more women to your leadership roles and hire who your organization needs:

  1. Assess your screening process. Scrutinize your current selection process to ensure women are not being disproportionately screened out at any stage. If you find this is the case, address the obstacles or bottlenecks that are deterring or unnecessarily eliminating talented females.
  2. Send the right message. Your employment brand has a tremendous effect on women’s application rates. Make sure that both the explicit and implicit messages your brand is sending are inclusive: We want and welcome women; women are leaders with upward career paths in our organization; women have executive opportunities in all areas of our company.
  3. Use your current female workers to recruit others. Women in leadership positions are beacons for other female talent, so shine that light. Make your female executives true recruiting ambassadors, who build your employment brand and broaden your referral network.
  4. Increase your work flexibility policies. For a number of reasons — including pregnancy, child rearing and caring for aging parents — women leaders desperately need flexibility. Remove the obstacles that impede their long-term retention and professional growth within your organization by offering telecommuting, job sharing and other forms of schedule flexibility. When you build a culture that supports the needs of female executives, more will be attracted to your opportunities.
  5. Showcase your brand and culture. Enlist your organization’s marketing, IT and recruiting teams to put your best foot forward with potential female applicants. Within your website’s recruitment pages, create a page just for women. On it, feature biographies, interviews and photos of your company’s successful female professionals and executives. Visitors will perceive your organization as one that welcomes, values and supports women leaders.
  6. Close pay gaps. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics research, women working full-time in the U.S. typically are paid just 79 percent of what men are paid. Audit pay by gender to ensure you’re paying both sexes equally for equal work. Doing so will strengthen your employment brand. Plus, it’s just the right thing to do.
  7. Recruit good women internally. Your future leaders may already be working for you — you just need to nurture them. Systematically identify your promising female protégés and pair them with established female executives in your organization to fast track career growth. Alternately, consider investing in professional and/or leadership development training programs to accelerate upward mobility for women.

Women may be a bit challenging for your organization to recruit, especially in today’s employment market. But the benefits — including improved diversity, fresh approaches to management and enhanced business performance — make it worth the effort.


AUTHOR:  Allison O’Kelly is founder and CEO of Mom Corps, a national talent acquisition and career development firm with a focus on flexibility.

Reprinted from TALENT MANAGEMENT magazine


Using Micro-Videos as Effective Recruiting Tools

By now everyone knows that the future of recruiting will require the effective use of both the mobile phone and social media. However, you may not be aware that new features on social media giants Twitter and more recently on Instagram now provide the opportunity to effectively sell recruits with short micro-videos that are sent to their mobile phones.

Videos are superior to words because they can more effectively reveal the passion and excitement that occurs at a firm. If

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a picture is worth 1,000 words, imagine how powerful a moving picture can be. Although videos in recruiting are certainly not new, they have suffered from three significant weaknesses.

First, they have often been expensive and time-consuming to create if they were shot by professionals. Second, the content has not always been particularly authentic. Third, their length caused many who received them to postpone viewing them.

There are numerous ways for employees to share videos. Some micro-videos will be attached to your employees’ tweets, while others will be made using the Instagram app and placed in their Instagram profile and feed.

Independently created micro-videos can be added to your Facebook profile or attached to text, email, or other social media messages that your employees send to friends and potential referrals. If you create a company micro-video library, the videos can also be used by recruiters.

How Micro-videos Can Be Superior

Micro-videos which last less than a minute have many advantages, which include:

Increased authenticity – because micro-videos are unedited and they are created by your employees, they cover the employee perspective, which makes them more credible, believable, and authentic to those viewing them.

Feel the passion – the pictures and the sounds of videos have proven to be effective in revealing the passion and the excitement that your employees feel about their job and their firm.

The length increases the likelihood that it will be viewed – the minimum length of the video (Twitter Vine allows six seconds and Video on Instagram allows 15 seconds) forces your employees to be concise. The micro length almost assures that many more prospects will be willing to watch them and also that the video will be viewed without delay.

Skeptics may think that a video that only lasts seconds couldn’t possibly have much of an impact, but there is plenty of evidence to show that micro-videos can be compelling, especially among newer generations that have learned to love the brevity of texting and Twitter. The short length also forces employees to be creative in their messaging.

The mobile platform is accessed 24/7 – because recruiting prospects carry their mobile phone with them constantly, micro-videos are more likely to be immediately viewed and immediately responded to. Obviously, it will also be smart to allow individuals to apply for open jobs using only their mobile phone.

Wide social media coverage – because both Twitter and Instagram (other social media sites also allow videos) are incredibly popular, recruiting messages, pictures, and videos are all likely to reach and be forwarded to a broad and technology savvy audience.

Minimal costs – because micro-videos are normally created by your own employees using their mobile phone camera and easily available video editing software, there are no production costs.

Constantly being refreshed – because these micro-videos are so easy to create, if the program is fully supported by management, you will have a continuous flow of new and timely videos.

Diverse perspectives will be covered — because many different employees can create micro-videos, the volume increases the likelihood that the content will reflect many different positive aspects of the firm. Corporate created videos tend to reflect a headquarters perspective, but employee videos are more likely to include regional features and diverse perspectives.

And because many are likely to be created by field employees, the videos may cover positive features of the firm that “corporate” might not even be aware of.

A video contest can create a large amount of content – Deloitte, Hyatt, and Marriott have each successfully used video contests to create a significant volume of employee videos. A contest is a good way to build up your initial volume of videos, but with the right management support, the initial library will be continually supplemented.

Create a video library as part of the referral program – rather than making videos an independent program, associate it with your current employee referral program. The referral program is an excellent mechanism for making micro-videos available to all employees. Companies can create a micro-video library that contains all of your employee-created videos. Employees can then, if they want, have the option of selecting existing relevant videos for use during their attempt to create referrals.

Obviously corporate recruiters can also use videos from the inventory. Employees can also be asked to rate the videos, so that everyone knows which ones are the most powerful.

Use videos internally also – the most compelling micro-videos can also be used internally by individual managers, during onboarding, and to improve your internal employment brand.

No corporate screening — traditional full-length videos are almost always screened by lawyers, HR, or PR, often making them bland. Obviously, allowing your employees to make videos without approvals or pre-screening carries some risks, but firms that have allowed it for tweets and blogs have actually had very few issues. You simply have to trust the judgment of your employees.

However, be aware that even if a negative item occasionally gets covered in a video, that “tolerance” by corporate may actually help to improve the credibility of your micro-videos and reinforce the authenticity of your corporate employer brand.

Coaching Your Employees

Obviously you want to provide your employees with a high degree of freedom in making their micro-videos. However, that does not prohibit you from offering them guidance and coaching on the content that will likely be the most effective in recruiting micro-videos. Those safe content areas include:

A mini-profile of an individual employee or their coworker
A “why-I-work-here” testimonial video covering a critical recruiting factor
A snapshot view of an employee’s day
A video of one exciting aspect of an employee’s job
A humorous video demonstrating that your firm is a fun place
A video highlighting a unique company perk or benefit
A video highlighting an exciting technology, tool, or piece of equipment
A snapshot video of an exciting company event
A video demonstrating the company culture and employer brand
A quick facility tour
A video displaying diversity or a global reach
A video showing that a particular executive is “real” and approachable
A video highlighting the exciting aspects of the region where your facility is located

Final Thoughts

Micro-videos on Twitter and Instagram provide a great, inexpensive opportunity to continually spread authentic recruiting messages by taking advantage of the time and the creativity of your own employees. I have found

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that employees enjoy making the videos and contributing to the recruitment effort.

The primary roadblock unfortunately may come from recruiting leaders, who are afraid to give up their current “total control” over the process of creating recruiting videos. Smart recruiting leaders will simply have to trust their employees to create compelling but positive micro-videos.

Initial action steps for setting up a micro-video program starts with benchmarking what others have done. Next you will need to put together an initial marketing campaign to encourage employees to make videos along with good and bad micro-video examples for them to view.

Next, hold an employee video contest to initially fill your micro-video library. Metrics for measuring effectiveness are also required, so new hires should also be asked during onboarding whether the micro-videos had a significant impact on their decision to apply and accept.

Reprinted from ERE.net

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