Newsletter - September 7, 2017

How To Recruit More Women to Tech

We’re Proud to Support Women in Leadership

If you’re in tech, you’ve noticed something lately. The spotlight is shining on tech companies and their experience hiring and retaining women. Some companies get this right and some fail miserably. This piece on how to recruit more female executives is dedicated to the women tech executives that we’ve placed:
  • Christine Nurnberger | Bottomline Technologies (NASDAQ:EPAY), a leading provider of cloud-based payment, invoice and banking solutions hired us to find talent for their CMO role in Portsmouth NH.
  • Kim Saturley | Zerto is an enterprise virtualized data center and cloud disaster recovery software developer. This leading company hired us to lead their search for a Director of Human Resources for their growing company.
  • Theresa Colarusso | Visual IQ is a Boston based producer of the world’s most powerful cross channel marketing attribution software products. We provided their SVP Customer Success the needed support for success.
  • Cindy Brown and Julie Ginches | When ViralGains, a software company that creates authentic connections between brands and consumers through the power of online video, needed to hire a CRO and a CMO, we were happy to recruit two leading women.
  • Amy Brownrigg | AspenTech, a provider of smart manufacturing and supply chain management software and services for the process industries, hired our team to find them a VP Corporate Controller. We found them Amy Brownrigg from Avid Technology.
  • Patricia (Patti) Foye | When Boston based SiteSpect, an optimization platform that enables web and mobile marketers to improve conversion rate and engagement, sought a CMO, we found them Patti Foye from Meridium.
  • Kate Labbe | SevOne is a provider of the only digital infrastructure monitoring platform, engineered for Speed at Scale. They worked with our team to support their VP Quality Assurance search.
Are you looking to bring more women into the mix when you hire your next executive? If so, you’re not alone. We asked Erica Seidel, friend and partner of Polachi Executive Search, to share tips with you. Erica recruits executives with a focus on modern marketing, digital strategy, marketing technology, and marketing analytics.


How To Attract More Female Candidates For Executive Searches

“…And we’d like you to introduce us to plenty of women candidates.”
Executive search people hear this a lot. Especially these days.
Here’s what I’ve done to funnel top women candidates into searches:
1. Read “ Solutions To Recruit Technical Women .” This guide, published by The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, details how to build female-friendly recruitment channels and hiring practices. It also showcases tech companies with creative approaches to recruiting women.
2. Define what success looks like in the job, and focus less on what the ideal candidate looks like. In other words, define the job more so than the person. I’ve found that a search is far more successful if we accurately define the problem we’re looking to solve, the results we’re hoping the new leader will achieve, and the KPIs that will form the signposts along the way. By contrast, if we get into “this is someone who is charismatic,” then we get stuck trying to manifest that particular personality style, and benchmarking candidates against that style rather than against the job. While interaction styles matter, there are a number of styles that can be successful at, say, telling great stories with data or bringing people on board with a new marketing initiative.
3. Optimize the job spec, which is the ‘front door’ to an opportunity. When candidates first read the job spec, they try to picture themselves in the role. If they read something that makes them picture someone else, they could be turned off from the start. To maximize engagement with the job spec, here are some things I’ve found that work well:
  • Run a job spec through Textio, to spot language that could be made more gender-neutral.
  • Interview a variety of people who will be on the hiring team or be a stakeholder for the new hire. Incorporate their input into the job spec, peppering in quotes from a range of people. Doing this makes the role and culture come alive more, while showcasing diversity of thought and background
  • Stay careful with how many requirements we impose. Being overly prescriptive can turn off candidates — women in particular. Men have been shown to throw their hat in the ring for a role if they meet 60% of the stated requirements, while many women toss their hat in only if they meet 100% of the requirements. With that in mind, I prefer to write job specs that are broadly-worded, to attract a variety of interesting candidates. Instead of saying, “you’re an expert in lead gen”, I’m more likely to write something like, “You love coming up with novel ways to drive traffic and conversion.” Then I’ll apply an evaluation process that figures out if a particular candidate’s experience really constitutes the expertise we need.
4. Scout female candidates in particular. Ah, the joys of LinkedIn. You can find alumnae from historically women’s colleges – Wellesley, Smith, Mount Holyoke, etc. You can search for words like ‘women’ or ‘she.’ Beyond LinkedIn, some lists of ‘women to watch’ are very helpful.
5. Orchestrate a process designed to let skills shine – not just through interviews, but also through assessments. Most interviews are about building rapport and discussing the job in generalities. This isn’t a bad start. But things get a lot more real when we discuss actual work that a candidate has done, and invite that candidate to grapple with the challenges of the role that they’re evaluating.
6. Make sure candidates meet with both women and men at your company. Some candidates – though not all — value greatly the opportunity to meet people of all genders when they explore a role. Doing this can be the difference between losing and hanging on to a candidate. This diversity needn’t come from the cluster of people that the new hire will work with every day – though that doesn’t hurt. It could come from tapping an advisor or Board member.
While the best person for a role will ultimately be determined based on multiple variables, the tips here will help you develop a gender-diverse pipeline for a job and keep that pipeline as diverse as possible for as long as possible.
Erica Seidel along with the Polachi team recruits the rare marketing talent that you wouldn’t find on your own. To hear more about how to attract more women executives to your company – or how to recruit strong modern marketers in general, press reply to