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Talent Sourcing Trends

Does Hiding Gender in the Interview Process Work?

PowerToFly's cofounder and president, Katharine Zaleski, recently explored the lengths employers go to in order to hide the gender of candidates to diversify their workforce in her New York Times article "Job Interviews Without Gender".

While one head of talent at a top finance company divulged getting pitched for gender-masking software up to five times a week, does the data actually prove these efforts effective? Does gender-masking actually work?

No, not really.

Zaleski explains:

"This is a misguided distraction from the hard work of evaluating and fixing the ways in which their cultures drive out the women who are actually hired...masking is, at best, a partial solution. While it might allow more women to get through interview rounds, there is little evidence that it would get more women hired. In fact, the low-tech version of masking — removing names from résumés — has been tried, without much documented success."

Why does it fail? To begin with, the pool of female applicants within tech remain quite small. And even if a woman does apply, hiring managers may automatically discount candidates with gaps on their resume - for example, a woman taking time off to care for a young child or an infirm relative. Removing a candidate's name from a resume will only go so far at masking her identity, if she even applies at all.

Zaleski writes:

"A Stanford doctoral student, Sharon Jank, studied the gender-masking platform GapJumpers and came up with similar findings. Removing gender identifiers helped women through the first screening, but at traditional interviews, the positive effects were undone by hiring managers' biases."

The answer to the diversity problem, Zaleski clarifies, lies in a company's culture.

"The biggest problem with gender is that it allows companies to ignore the challenges of making their environments more inclusive. And it sends a confusing message to candidates — after all, if an employer needs to use masking because hiring managers can't be trusted to be open to diversity, why would women believe they'll belong and be treated fairly even if they are ultimately hired?

Gender-masking tools do nothing to address the culture of a company. One of the central reasons the number of women at tech companies remains so pitifully low is that these companies are not creating environments where women feel they can thrive...

...Yes, half the battle is getting more women in the room, but the other half is assuring women they won't have to hide who they are when they show up."

Want to find a role at a company that cares where you can thrive and not just survive? Be sure to check out our Jobs page.

Talent Sourcing Trends

How To Create A Truly Inclusive Tech Conference

We've all seen it. An established conference opens up its registration, allowing attendees to buy passes, en masse, to a three day extravaganza filled with speeches by the industry's emerging thought leaders, networking, and parties. All seems good and well until you notice a couple of things. Number one? The speaker lineup is pretty homogenous. Secondly, the price to attend - far too much for someone in your tax bracket. So what can conferences do to make sure they include the attendees who need and want to attend their events? Ultimately, it comes down to three things: access, diversity, and specificity.

Make Your Conference Accessible

The price to register at a conference can often be in the thousands. And that registration fee doesn't include travel, food, or accommodations. All together, the costs can take a huge chunk out of your savings. There are a few ways to remedy this, however. Conferences like Tech Inclusion live stream their keynote speakers for attendees all over the world and upload them to YouTube. And the Grace Hopper Celebration uses sponsorship money from companies to support women to attend the conference. Another great way to make your conference accessible is to tier registration fees. In the case of Grade Hopper, students pay a reduced fee to attend.

Make Your Conference Diverse

Tech conferences that don't highlight diversity in both their speaker lineup and subject matter will be hard pressed to find a diverse audience. There are a wealth of thought leaders in tech on diversity alone. Take Ellen K. Pao, Leanne Pittsford, Y-Vonne Hutchinson, or Megan Smith -- the list goes on. The thing is, diversity and inclusion go hand in hand. So to create inclusive environments, you need to have diverse spaces that reflect the people you want to attract.

Make Your Conference Specific

Another crucial component of inclusivity is specificity. It's not enough to build it and hope they will come. People need to know their interests and identities are important to conference creators. That's why conferences like Grace Hopper and Lesbians Who Tech are so important and successful. They recognize the need for specificity and meet it.

So I know you're probably thinking, "These are great tips, but what conferences are doing this already?" Don't worry. I've got you covered.

Here are a list of tech conference who are getting diversity and inclusion right:

Grace Hopper Celebration

Lesbians Who Tech

Tech Inclusion

Blavity AfroTech

Black Enterprise TechConneXt Summit

Culture Shift Labs

AlterConf

The Lead Dev Conference

Write Speak Code

Are there any conferences you love? I'd love to hear from you! Let us know at hi@powertofly.com or on Twitter : @powertofly

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