Q&A: Growth of Women in Recruitment, and Why “Words” Often Ring Hollow

“Words, in the end, are only as strong as the actions we take to support them.” This reflective statement comes from Libby Herrmann, WilsonHCG Client Relationship Manager – who was recently engaged by Undercover Recruiter to take part in a “Women in Recruiting” panel. Although Libby's statement is in direct response to a question featured below, it rings all too true on many topics specific to empowering women in recruitment, gender equality across all industries, and the dire need for actions to backup promises.

The panel launched in late 2017, and you can find Libby’s collated insights from the first two months here: Q&A: Empowering Women in Recruitment, Diversity & Gender Equality. The first several weeks focused on closing the gender pay gap, unconscious bias, and gender equality in the tech industry. The panel shifted gears in 2018 – most recently focusing on “how” to expand the number of women on your recruitment teams, advice panelists would give women entering the talent acquisition field, and “the worst” thing responders have been told about being a women in recruitment.

The following features Libby's direct responses to the questions posed in 2018. You can access full insight from all nine panelists by clicking on each question! 

1. What’s the Worst Thing You’ve Heard About Being a Woman in Recruitment?
Through the years, I’ve heard that women recruiters are motivated by specific pay structures; this is an antiquated and gender-biased perspective. Women, like all employees, are motivated by a vast array of components that makeup the employee value proposition (EVP). What I have found, in speaking with colleagues and my peer network, is that many women thrive and have a unique passion for the fast-paced, competitive world of recruiting! It’s in our DNA.

2. How Can We Attract More Women to Become Recruiters?
To attract more women to the recruitment industry, we need to publicly share and celebrate the achievements of our female peers! It is a fundamental way to contribute to the success and core business support we provide every day. Further, it allows for tremendous career and earning potential to provide for our families.

Aside from the tangibles, there is the intrinsic satisfaction of helping others and nurturing their career advancement aspirations. Both traits are often practiced and desired by our female colleagues in the workplace, providing a sense of professional fulfillment.

3. What Advice Would You Give to a Younger You Entering a Career in Recruiting?
This is a high growth, fast-paced industry; you’ve chosen wisely! No matter what your professional experience or personal background, lean-in, be YOU and remain authentic. With this approach, you’ll find success comes naturally! In addition, your personal brand is everything. Provide positive candidate experiences in every interaction, and it will yield a network that continues to give back.

4. What's the Best Way to Empower Women Working in Recruiting?
We can continue to further empower women working in recruitment by creating an environment that is inclusive of everyone, at all levels; an environment where people feel inspired to collaborate and ideate. Encourage a fail-forward mentality, and genuinely support learning through failure. It all starts with executive leadership.

Our most senior leaders must strive to lead by example, and showcase the successes within each gender throughout the organization. Words, in the end, are only as strong as the actions we take to support them.

5. How Can Job Descriptions Be More Gender Neutral?
Word choice is key to making job descriptions more gender neutral. Science and psychology have shown that feminine language is more communal, social and emotional versus contrasting masculine language. For example, using words such as “committed” (feminine) compared to “determined” (its masculine counterpart).

If we are taking care to ensure a job advertisement appeals to applicants of all genders, we are likely to be more inclusive and less “stereotypically traditional” in whom we attract. There are helpful decoding tools available online to identify and remove gender bias in job advertisements – explore, search, discover!

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Wilson Human Capital Group, Inc., (WilsonHCG) is a global leader in innovative talent solutions that operates on the principle of providing true partnership to our clients. Through our highly configurable Talent Ecosystem™ model, we transform the talent function into a strategic advantage. At WilsonHCG, the relationships we develop lead to the results our clients realize. Better People, Better Business.®