Help Me, Wanda! #5: What’s a Better Approach to Hiring Women in STEM?

Help Me, Wanda! #5: What’s a Better Approach to Hiring Women in STEM?

Dear Wanda,

My company is actively recruiting women in STEM. What do you think is the best approach to reaching this demographic? What types of messaging and content can I create that speaks to them without relying on tired stereotypes?

Sincerely,

STEM Stumped

Dear Stumped,

The best approach to reaching women working in STEM fields, like most recruiting efforts, is to be authentic. This means you need to align your recruiting efforts to a strategy that reflects the reality of your company’s current situation. It can seem daunting, especially if your company is lacking in the area of female talent, but here are some ideas to get you started.

Position Your Company as a Thought Leader

You might be wondering how you can be authentic in this area if your company currently has a shortage of female talent. If you’re afraid of sounding phony – don’t be. Use your current situation to power your mission to hire more female talent and, at the same time, become part of the larger mission to close the gender gap in STEM. Join the larger conversation surrounding women in STEM and all the topics – good and bad – that go along with it. If you want smart, innovative women leading your teams – don’t hide it.

• Conduct interviews with talented women in your field. Create an “influencer” series of content pieces to bolster your connection to the STEM community.

• Join Twitter chats focused on women and tech. Use those as an opportunity to reach your target demographic and show what you have to offer.

• Consider hosting a “women in tech” hackathon. Host an event at your headquarters that focuses on women in STEM. Liveblog the event or write a recap afterwards.

• Get involved in community events targeting young women in STEM and STEM education. This will show your company’s commitment to changing the way young women are introduced to STEM fields.

• Be honest about the struggles the tech industry is facing. Don’t be afraid to talk about things like unconscious bias, discrimination and wage gaps, to name a few.

• Interview the female employees you do have. Even if it’s only a few; create testimonials about what it’s like to work at your company from their point of view.

• Celebrate national holidays surrounding women and or/tech. Create campaigns for holidays like women’s history month, Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, Grace Hopper Day, Engineers Week, and so on.

And of course don’t forget to post all these things that your company is doing on your career site and company blog!

Leverage Your Own Women in STEM

In addition to the ideas above, you can also create EGC or employee-generated content. If you already have a number of female employees and are looking to add more, then you’re in luck. You have a great pool of content ready and waiting: your female employees. Ask them to join your mission to support and hire women in STEM.

• Interview your own employees. Ask how they got started in STEM, the struggles they’ve had along the way and how your company helped them achieve their goals.

• Brag about all the great accomplishments achieved by women at your company. Did someone become the first women at your company to achieve a specific goal? Talk about it. Are there women at your company who’ve received industry awards? Show them off. Have women filed more patents at your company than men? Put together an infographic that tells that story.

• Be ready to join topical movements that come up. The #ilooklikeanengineer movement made a splash in the tech community last year and many companies jumped at the chance to show off their own female engineers.

• Highlight any mentoring and/or development opportunities at your company. If your company has an Employee Resource Group (ERG) dedicated to women, there are plenty of stories to be told there. Interview the president of the ERG or ask to feature any work they might be doing in a long-form editorial content piece.

There are many different ways to attract women in STEM, whether you already have a strong female workforce or not. Make sure you choose a strategy that aligns with your employer brand and the reality of your situation.

Oh, and most importantly, be sure to stay away from tired stereotypes, like using pink as the color of your female-focused campaigns.

Good luck!

Happy hiring,

Wanda

Have a hiring question you’d like Wanda to answer? Tweet using the hashtag #HelpMeHire and your question could end up in a future “Help Me, Wanda!” column.

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Wanda
Written by Wanda

Wanda has spent the past 20 years in the recruitment marketing world, using her no-nonsense approach to hire the best talent for companies in need. She is a huge Montgomery Biscuits fan and craft beer aficionado. When not dispensing career advice, Wanda loves traveling the globe with her Chocolate Lab, Cooper. She currently resides in St. Louis but hopes to one day live on the moon and start her own improv training center.

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