The Art of Recruiting the Best Female Employees

Should the recruitment process be different for attracting the best men versus the best women? Two experts chime in on the importance of modifying your method when recruiting female talents and on the proper steps to take.


Ladies welcome

For an organization that is looking to hire more women, it is important to express this very intention, both internally and externally.


Sylvie St-Pierre, CHRP, consultant and trainer in equality and diversity in employment, emphasizes that senior management must ensure that its human resources team is well aware of this desire. “For that to change, managers must receive this message clearly. Otherwise, the automatic reflex is to maintain the same strategy as for hiring and recruiting men.”


The organizational image must also convey this desire. Photos of female employees on the website and in company brochures, especially, allows for women to imagine themselves being part of the team, and will be more likely to apply.


Titles should they also reflect this intention. If the call for applications only serves men, women will feel less concerned, says St-Pierre. Adding a female version to the title has a positive impact on the perception that candidates have on their chances of landing the job.


Go elsewhere

Sylvie St-Pierre also advises recruiters to look outside their networks when trying to expand the recruitment pool. Again, it is important to stress the interest in female candidates.


Another promising avenue is to directly contact the associations that promote women in target areas. “We must be proactive,” states St-Pierre.


The requirements in question

Looking outside of their usual recruitment pool, that is precisely what employers want to do when using the services of Thorens Solutions. Their goal is usually to urgently fill a position with specific job requirements, explains Xavier Thorens, CHRP and the firm’s chairman.


With this kind of approach, the focus is on the candidate’s experience and skills, regardless of gender. Thorens is not convinced of the need to recruit men and women differently.


In his opinion, “to resolve equality issues, the key is to attract female students. That’s where the bulk of the work needs to be done.”


Sylvie St-Pierre does not entirely share this view. “Often, a seemingly neutral requirement is actually a barrier for female employment.” For example, women tend not to get a specialized driver’s license since they usually cannot imagine themselves occupying a job within a predominantly male field.


However, a technical requirement like this is not in itself a guarantee of competence. The driver, male or female, of a heavy vehicle must also be punctual and have everyone’s security at heart, and these qualities are just as much feminine as they are masculine. An employer looking to recruit a female driver should focus their selection criteria on these transversal skills and make getting a license a condition in the offer of employment.


The same principle applies for one’s years of experience in the field, which are, according to St-Pierre, a very poor index of competence. Better to evaluate a candidate on the basis of achievements. Within traditionally male environments, this approach contributes to the recognition of women's skills.


Endangered differences

Providing favourable working conditions, such as flexible hours and telecommuting opportunities, remains a great way of attracting workers and fostering their professional welfare.


Xavier Thorens notes that men and women’s demands in this respect are more and more alike. Considering the present labour shortage, employers should respond accordingly to retain efficient and talented workers.


The president of Thorens Solutions believes that talented female employees are in a better position than ever to make their presence known in traditionally male domains.


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