Last year PowerToFly, the company I cofounded, was faced with our biggest challenge yet: diversify a tech team with skilled women for a major media company in three weeks. Oh and the positions were in Seattle and New York — already markets where women in tech are in high demand and recruiting teams are crawling all over them.
We’ve all heard the myriad of excuses when it comes to finding women in tech. The “pipeline problem” stands out the most. Companies love to say not enough women in tech graduated from computer science programs so therefore they don’t exist in the hiring market. But doesn’t that sound ironic when you consider that Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs never graduated with a Computer Science degrees? Clearly no pipeline problem there.
At PowerToFly we don’t use the “P” word. We look for women who want to work now because we know they are out there, especially if companies partner with us in the right ways to find them. It’s not easy, but we got the job done for the major media company and we’re working for them again this winter. We can’t give away all of our secrets (we wouldn’t have a business if we did) but here’s a top line breakdown of how we diversified a tech team to have over 50% women on it.
1. Our Platform is Built For and By Women — So Women Come:
Think about how most career sites are made. They focus on your timeline. Women often have very different timelines than men. We have babies. We leave the workforce to take care of them sometimes. Or maybe we didn’t major in Computer Science in college, but we did go to a bootcamp where we learned to code and build products out of the gate. Our PowerToFly profiles ask women to share their stories first and foremost so they can explain why their timeline doesn’t look like a thirty-year old Ivy League grad’s. Employers can scroll down the page for resume info if they want that information too.
2. We Called It A Hiring Blitz and Aligned Our Teams:
We’re a company of almost all women — but we like using war terms like the rest of the business world… Our talent management team aligned with our talent acquisition team on daily meeting schedule that was managed through a project tracker that we all shared. Here’s the template you can download. We actually use this template to manage priorities for our senior team every quarter. My cofounder and I go through and approve top level tasks before the start of the quarter to make sure everyone is on the same page.
3. We Created Content Highlighting Women Working at The Company:
We’re big believers at PowerToFly that you have to “see it to be it”. Yes, companies run employer branding campaigns to showcase their employees, but how many in depth articles have you read about women in tech working at those companies? As working mothers ourselves we have questions that aren’t often answered on company sites. How do you manage a product pipeline with two toddlers who need to get picked up from nursery school everyday? We’ve seen it done and we tell those stories to inspire others.
4. We Also Focused on Hiring Managers:
When looking for a job people can find a lot of information about the company… but what about the person they will be working with everyday? At PowerToFly we know transparency creates a more efficient hiring process. There’s two reasons why this makes sense: one, you want to give people a chance to be prepared for their interview. If they aren’t, especially, when there is information out there about their potential boss, then that’s a flag not to hire them. Second, everyone should have a clear idea who they are working with on day one. If you’re expectations are out-matched then your employment history will be short-lived.
5. We Promoted Content In Places Where Women Are:
Job websites act like it’s still the mid 1990s. Content is all on their site — and not across the social channels where women spend more of their time. How about going to where women are on the social web, especially since they are already overwhelmed? We are big believers in taking opportunities to women instead of asking them to come to us and we do this at PowerToFly for companies through a network of partner sites, women’s organizations, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn groups and a myriad of other places.
6. We Invited 400 Women To A Webinar With The Hiring Managers:
We did this for one main reason: to measure intent within the candidate pool. As I said in point three, we’re very insistent that women know who their hiring managers are. We went a step deeper and held a webinar with those hiring managers. After the webinar women raised their hands who wanted to stay in the hiring process. Those who weren’t interested in what they heard left — everyone saved time. For the record, 141 women expressed interest after the hour-long webinar to work for the media company.
7. With 141 Women In The Running, We Started The Technical Vetting Process: This is where it got interesting. We have Technical Account Managers who focused on code reviews while our Talent Management Team checked in with candidates to see how they felt about the company’s cultural principles. Note that we never put ourselves in a position where we could say “she isn’t a cultural fit”. We think that’s a proxy for people being able to get away from racism or sexism. Instead we wanted to make sure the women felt comfortable and aligned with the company’s internal dynamics.
8. We Handpicked 22 Candidates For The Media Company To Review: We took over 400 candidates and whittled it down to 22 women for the company to meet. Our goal is to save everyone time — especially women in tech who get pulled in every direction. With those 22 interviews, the interviews began in Seattle and New York. The interview process needed some improvements which we highlighted immediately to the media company. One woman felt that the panel interviewing her was too male. Another woman felt like a hiring manager barely asked her any technical questions and made his assumptions about her “fit” based on her appearance. It was our job at PowerToFly to let them know. When we told the hiring manager at the media company he took the feedback and made changes immediately. That was one of the more rewarding parts of the blitz. Real time change for women during the interview process.
9. They Hired 7 Women
And that’s the story.
So, have you created a profile on PowerToFly yet? If not, you should. It’s time to elevate your value — get noticed and interviewed by some of the best hiring managers on the planet.
Check out the following job openings below at companies we have accepted on the PowerToFly platform because they value gender diversity and inclusion.
UX Design Technologist — Volkswagen (Belmont, CA)
Senior UX Design Technologist — Volkswagen (Belmont, CA)
Backend Engineer, Video Player — Time, Inc. (NYC)
Senior Software Engineer, Ad Distribution — Time, Inc. (NYC)
Solutions Engineer — AdRoll (NYC)
QA Analyst — Hearst Corporation (NYC)
Automation QA Engineer — Hearst Corporation (NYC)
Software Engineer — Hearst Corporation (NYC)
DevOps Engineer — Hearst Corporation (NYC)
Senior Engineer — American Express (Palo Alto, CA)
Senior Engineer, Big Data — American Express (Phoenix, AZ)
Java Engineer — American Express (Phoenix, AZ)
Senior Data Science Engineer — AdRoll (Remote)
Lead User Experience Researcher — AdRoll (San Francisco)
Account Executive — BetterUp (San Francisco)
Senior Django Software Engineer — Rover.com (Seattle, WA)
Senior Product Manager — Rover.com (Seattle, WA)
Senior Full Life Cycle Recruiter — Rover.com (Seattle, WA)