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The recruitment process & understanding the Bias

We, at women’s tech jobs are more than aware of the issues associated with the recruitment process and its subtle and sometimes not so subtle bias. We’ve therefore decided to do some posts to help you consider the issues and possible ways to identify and hopefully avoid them.

First things first, what is it that you REALLY need?  It seems simple but strangely enough many times this is about as clear as mud.  So first things first lets anlayse your needs.

What are your companies’ goals, where are you planning on heading in the short term and the long term?

Conduct a quick analysis of the company core competencies and identify any gaps both current and future.

What core skills are missing from the department?

Conduct a Job Analysis if this position will be new to your department so you really know what you need.

Now let’s think through the two main options of a new or a replacement role:

New role:

Contractors and consultants for short term needs

Positives +

  • If its short term and a critical milestone that you need to achieve then contractors or consultants would probably be your best bet, they should have broad experience and the ability to ramping up quickly to help achieve the goal.
  • You also have no need to keep them on long term once you have achieved your short-term goal so if you are a start-up or unsure of longer term stability it’s a win-win.

Negatives –

  • They can be prohibitively expensive
  • They don’t have any emotional attachment to the success of your company
  • They are not always ‘as advertised’, many are very good at interviews as it’s a common enough experience for them but may not have the skill set that you need.

Consider

  • We know that women do not go into consultancy as often and when they do they often undercharge. A lower wage request does not make them an inferior prospect so don’t gauge them based on contracting rate.
  • Ensure you do a proper technical test and base your decision on ability rather than ability to charm or interview well.
  • Ensure they will fit well with the current team and culture – nobody wants to work with someone who does not work as hard but is being paid double.

Longer term permanent employees

This is like buying a car or house as opposed to some shoes, it’s a big investment and needs some serious consideration.

Positives +

  • They will want to engage with the company and ensure its long-term success
  • They will be able to grow with the company and help grow a great company culture

Negatives –

  • It’s a long-term commitment so getting the right employee to help create a good culture is key and not that easy
  • There’s a shortage in the market for good mid-level candidates, consider using the apprenticeship levy to upskill junior developers (we’ll discuss this in the next blog).

Consider

  • There are a variety of ways to ensure that permanent employees stay with you for the long term so upskilling, support and good clear career projections help retainment
  • Are there any upcoming changes that may affect any roles? If so it may be wiser to consider a longer-term contractor/consultant rather than lose company reputation with layoffs.

Replacement

When replacing a current position then this is the time when you have some real data to analyse.

What is the actual role you are replacing?

If you are replacing a long-term employee it’s possible that they have many attributes and skills that you are looking to replace.  Does that person with that complete skillset even exist in the market place?

Rather than replacing like for like consider splitting the role and perhaps taking on more junior people to replace and specialise on the skillsets required.

If you need someone for continuity, then you might want to consider a contractor and upskilling juniors to train into the roles.

Who was doing the role?

Analyse the person departing and really consider what they bought to the team and company culture, the good points and the bad.

Not all employees are perfect so breaking down their positive and negative attributes is a good start to considering who you want as a replacement.

Why have they left?

If they have left because you weren’t offering them a career future then replacing like for like is not the ideal as its likely that a replacement would also feel that they have no place to progress.

If it’s down to culture then consider if it’s a problem with the company itself and think about how to improve the culture to ensure the replacement would want to stay.

If you have in mind the person that left the role then its natural that you would be baised to someone that actually speaks, sounds or looks like the person you are replacing.  You simply need to be aware that the skills or ability are not related to peoples looks, gender or even their faviourite hobbies!