Six Ways to Attract and Hire Women in Male-Dominated Industries

Like this on Facebook

Current news stories make it sound like it’s impossible to attract women to high-tech jobs. My team debunks that myth. Here’s how you can do it too.

I lead a high-tech sales team of 50—half are women, including a vice president and two directors. Yes, this is highly unusual in the male-dominated worlds of both tech and sales, and I’m often asked how I’ve managed to hire so many successful women.

The truth is, I’ve never had a problem finding highly talented people of both genders, so I haven’t had a good answer. To analyze what’s worked so far, I turned to the experts: the women on my team. I asked what attracted them to their current job and what other companies could do to attract and retain women. Here’s what they had to say:

1.  Understand the power of female role models. Every woman I spoke to said that seeing women in leadership positions attracted her to our company. “It’s motivating to watch these leaders balance work and life, raise families, and still crush goals at work,” says Erica Johnson, a senior account executive. When Kathie Baures, a senior account executive, met me during her job interview, her first thought was: “Nice. A female exec. That’s different.

2.  Don’t treat women as tokens. Seeing only a handful of women scattered here and there raises a huge red flag. “I once had a leadership role with a large technology company where, out of 75 leaders, only two were women,” says Sherrie Hayes, a senior account executive. “Our ideas were quickly dismissed, and we were ignored on a regular basis.” After a year, she decided the money just wasn’t worth it and left.

3.  He for She. Building a strong female presence requires men who are not only committed to hiring women but actively champion for them. My boss, Rick Brown, an SVP of sales, was described as that kind of ally. Recalling her job interview with Rick, Hayes said, “He made it clear that, based on his opinion and experience, when you have women in your organization, you always have a strong and successful team.”

4.  First impressions count. A lot. Job interviews are as much about the candidate picking your company as they are about you deciding to extend a job offer. “I can tell right away if a company is ‘women friendly,’” said Hayes. “I take my cues from the men in leadership positions and how I’m treated during the interview process.” Baures described a disastrous interview at another tech company with a brash, egotistical VP: “I’d never want to work at a company where that guy was considered the ultimate sales prototype.”

5.  Get managers onboard.  To succeed you need support at all levels, not just at the top or within human resources. “If a company is serious about hiring more women then they need to make sure that’s not just HR talking and that they have hiring managers who objectively consider female candidates,” says account executive Amanda Pittis.

6.  Talent attracts talent. The great thing about hiring and developing talented women is that they become your best recruiting tool. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle of like attracting like. Simply put: “Find the talented women in your company, nurture their skill set, and promote them,” says Lisa Martin, vice president of northwest sales. “They will act as a beacon for others to follow.”

Originally posted on LinkedIn Pulse.

Alice Katwan

Alice Katwan is Senior Vice President of Sales, West and Central regions, at Genesys, a high-tech company in Silicon Valley. She has 20 years experience in sales at enterprise software companies, and frequently writes and speaks about women’s leadership issues. Connect with Alice on LinkedIn.

Recommended

Leaderly Quote: Be bold.

Angie Gels is Chief People Officer with Everything But The House,  where she leads all aspects of EBTH’s people strategy to promote a high performing and ...

11 Practices for Highly Productive Meetings (Infographic)

Meetings are necessary, but some might describe them as a necessary evil. Unfortunately, many people feel the same way: Too many meetings equal too much ...

You’re Going to be Judged

I was teaching a writing class. Towards the end, someone asked: “How can I get over my fear of people judging me? I’m nervous to ...

Ready to lead?

We'll show you how!
Get email updates from Be Leaderly.

Our mission is to provide the career strategies that help you lead, climb and thrive as a rising woman of influence.

Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor

Have conversations with your mentor gotten a bit repetitive lately? Perhaps you approached ...

5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a manager and a leader? ...

How to Shut Down a Colleague Who Takes Credit for Your Work

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a meeting and the unthinkable ...

15 Songs for Your Leadership Playlist

It was one of those conference moments I’ll never forget: Carly Fiorina had ...

10 Killer Leadership Skills: The Great Differentiators?

Last week at Hallmark I hosted a couple gentlemen from a partner company. ...

Influencing Without Authority—Using Your Six Sources of Influence

I am in the difficult situation of being unofficial project lead, responsible for ...

6 Critical Missteps That Hurt Your Career Advancement

Let’s face it: it isn’t easy to break out and establish yourself as ...

11 Leadership Lessons Learned

Here are 11 lessons I’ve learned about leadership—mostly from much-admired colleagues, and just ...

Nine Qualities of Female Leaders Who Get Beyond the Glass Ceiling

I’m frequently asked to speak about women in law and specifically the issue ...

4 Characteristics of Leaders Who Get Hired and Promoted

Imagine if you had the opportunity to sit down with a senior executive ...

9 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

Truly great leaders are hard to come by, but it seems everyone thinks ...

5 Things Women Leaders Should Stop Doing. TODAY.

Over the last couple years, I’ve had a front row seat to career ...

8 Types of Courage for Aspiring Leaders

“The truth is that courage resides within you; you must simply decide to ...

How to Manage Former Peers

Let’s talk about a potentially awkward situation. You get a new role and ...

Thank You, Leaderlies
Thank You, Leaderlies

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we consider ourselves to be extremely lucky to know you, our

My Favorite Salary Negotiation Tactic (That Recruiters Love, Too).
My Favorite Salary Negotiation Tactic (That Recruiters Love, Too).

How many of you negotiated your first job offer? I have to admit I didn’t.

Transform Your To-Do List With This Quick Productivity Hack
Transform Your To-Do List With This Quick Productivity Hack

You’re probably familiar with the story for a jar that represents the time available in your life.

Why You Need a Sponsor Not a Mentor!
Why You Need a Sponsor Not a Mentor!

Could your career use an influential advocate? When you first begin your career, it’s important

Leaderly Quote: Dream. Do. Dream.
Leaderly Quote: Dream. Do. Dream.

“Don’t let a dream become a fantasy, which is what happens when you never act

Don’t be the Best Kept Secret in Your Organization
Don’t be the Best Kept Secret in Your Organization

“I feel like I’m the best kept secret in this organization,” said Tina. She had

Technology, Peace and Sanity
Technology, Peace and Sanity

A few years ago, I sat down and did some math. I tallied up how

Top 5 Most-Read Articles This Month
Top 5 Most-Read Articles This Month

Here are the top articles that other emerging leaders have been reading at BeLeaderly.com this

Don’t Let Fear Steal Your Dreams
Don’t Let Fear Steal Your Dreams

Fear steals our dreams. Think about the last time you really longed for something but

Leaderly Quote: See yourself as a leader now.
Leaderly Quote: See yourself as a leader now.

“See yourself as a leader now. Leadership is an action not a position.” — Cindy Pace,

4 Ways to Improve Your Financial Intelligence
4 Ways to Improve Your Financial Intelligence

Let’s be honest: Most of us who did not start our careers in finance would

Emerging Leader Spotlight: Mindy Seiffert
Emerging Leader Spotlight: Mindy Seiffert

Every month we ask an emerging leader we admire to share what she is doing

Improving Diversity in Hiring
Improving Diversity in Hiring

Caveat: Diversity is more than gender. I’ve used gender in some of these examples because

Leaderly Quote: When you fail, it diminishes your fear
Leaderly Quote: When you fail, it diminishes your fear

You took a big risk… and failed. What now? This is a question I asked

At Be Leaderly, our mission is a simple one: To provide proven career strategies that help you lead, climb, and thrive as a rising woman of influence. If you’re ready to lead, we’re here to support and inspire you.

Subscribe

captcha

PRIVACY

We will never share, rent, or sell your personal information or email address.
Copyright 2017, Be Leaderly