By Rachel Hill
Indeed, I often quote this piece of evidence when talking about unconscious bias in our recruitment skills training session for leaders. When looking at self-bias affecting applications received from women. This could be affecting your recruitment pipeline and diversity mix which are crucial factors in your overall recruitment strategy.
It’s usually invoked as evidence that women need more confidence. As one Forbes article put it, “Men are confident about their ability at 60%, but women don’t feel confident until they’ve checked off each item on the list.” The general advice: women need to have more faith in themselves.
This all comes from an original piece of research based on a Hewitt Packard internal report and has been quoted in books such as Lean In, The Confidence Code and dozens of articles.
However, as Tara Sophia Mohr explains and has gone one step further to investigate this with some research results posted in her Harvard Business Review article.
Well, it turns out in her HBR piece based on research with over 1000 women and men in their application practices. The main reasons for not applying are actually a little different:
Both men and women list the above four reasons, although higher for Women on points 3 and 4 above. Interestingly a key driver for not applying is wasting people’s time.
The main two insights I gather here, especially in the current candidate-tight marketplace are that: a) both men and women need to “have a go” more and apply, for roles even if not 100% match to role requirements. And b) it could be Recruitment guidelines e.g., that applicants MUST meet all criteria wording and phrasing, that is actually putting more women off from applying than men. Women are taught to follow the rules.
In Tara’s synopsis “What held them back from applying was not a mistaken perception about themselves, but a mistaken perception about the hiring process”.
So, my questions are: Are unconscious bias and poor practices impacting your recruitment process and pipeline? And does anyone else have examples of where and why they think women don’t apply for particular positions? I’d love to know.