Optimise your outbound NOT inbound to improve gender diversity

Research shows that whilst a popular idea, gender-neutral job ads don’t increase female applicants. But outbound recruitment can.

More organisations are looking to increase the number of women on their teams, hoping to reap the economic (up to 40% more revenue) and societal benefits of a female-empowered workforce. But the big question is: how do we bring more women into the company?

Job Ads

Job ads are a simple and reliable source of candidates for many companies, which means they’re often the first process to be overhauled when trying to improve gender-neutral language. Words like “manage” are changed to “develop” and “coding ninja” is firmly blacklisted.

There’s also a substantial amount of research that shows women tend not to respond as well to ads as their male counterparts do. Whilst women view just as many job ads as men they are less likely to apply. Men tend to overvalue their skills and experience when looking at a job ad and apply when they meet fewer requirements than women.

Whilst we would encourage you to continue fostering gender-neutral practices, the research shows that changing the language on job ads does not have a significant effect on female applicant numbers. There’s also research that shows that this is also true specifically for startups as well.

The solution

So, if job ads don’t attract women at an equal level, and gender-neutral language changes don’t have a significant effect, what can be done?

Optimise your outbound recruitment instead.

The greatest thing about outbound recruitment is that you control who you reach out to, and this flows into what your candidate pool looks like for a job role. That means where a woman may not apply for a role because it appears to her that she would be underqualified, you can reach out to her when you see she is qualified.

You can also optimise your outbound campaigns around women, and achieve a more gender-equitable candidate pool.

Why we love outbound

Outbound recruitment is the clear winning strategy. It has many other advantages (that help get women into your hiring process too) including:

  • Granting access to the other 70% of the talent market — those who are not looking for work.
  • Target your dream candidates, and fill gaps in your workforce (like hiring more women!)
  • Gain full control over your candidate pool’s quality, skills and experience.

Making the most of outbound

Although you can choose to focus on the sourcing aspect to improve the gender diversity of your hiring process, there are additional outbound strategies you can implement to encourage women.

Research indicates that flexibility and a diverse, inclusive company are the most important factors for women looking for new roles. Including factors (like WFH) that are a draw for women in your outreach will improve your reply rate, especially if competitors haven’t made this information easily accessible.

Additionally, ensure that you send follow-up messages. Many women work a “second shift” which means you’ll likely get lost in their endless to-do lists. Offering flexible options for women to book that screening call and first interview with you will go a long way in securing interviews and in showing you put your money where you mouth is when it comes to gender equality.

If you want to optimise your outbound recruitment and improve female representation in your candidate pool you need to source and engage candidates effectively.

Our AI search and automated engagement tools alongside diversity features are perfect for helping you. Get in touch if you’d like to learn more.

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