Hiring Women Post-Pandemic

Read our latest article published in Amcham Trinidad and Tobago Linkage magazine, June 2020. View full magazine here https://amchamtt.com/Linkage

As companies evolve during this challenging time, professionals, particularly women will rise to the occasion, demonstrating their skillset in managing a fluid work environment. We may see productivity levels skyrocket as they balance work and home. The current pandemic will force companies to re-evaluate their recruitment and talent retention practices, particularly in hiring women in leadership roles.

Having women in your leadership team isn’t just the right thing to do these days – it’s good for the bottom line. Studies on Fortune 500 companies have shown companies with a diverse leadership team and diverse Boards outperform their competitors.

Even though larger firms globally are changing their approach, business owners are hesitant to change their perceptions of the requirements for the job to be done successfully. This takes time and it’s important we have these conversations in the business community.

In addition to our limiting belief in what the role requires, some business owners may also be unaware of their personal biases regarding the role in their company. There is a need for business owners, directors and Boards to change their mindset on how they recruit, retain and empower employees to build and grow a sustainable business, not just for the Trinidad and Tobago market, but for the Caribbean and LATAM region. It is important to adopt a strategic perspective, thinking regionally, since Trinidad and Tobago as a market offers you sales for an average 1.2 million people only.

Eve Anderson Recruitment works with several local and regional companies and shared some top tips to help businesses improve their hiring process during this difficult time.

Top hiring tips for businesses:

  1. Apply anonymity to resumes – you can evaluate the resume in the same way using a scoring system that takes the hard facts into account. There is no need to view the name of the person, the gender and definitely do not request a photo.
  • Review phrasing of job descriptions – some phrases in your job descriptions tend to imply a gender bias. For example, ‘analyze’ are typically associated with male traits whilst ‘collaborate’ are considered female.
  • Understand candidate psychology – women are less likely than men to brag about their accomplishments. Understanding this, try to separate in the job description, ‘nice to have’ requirements and ‘must have’ requirements.
  • Avoid likeability – culturally, Caribbean companies tend to gravitate towards likeability. As a result, it’s valuable to stick to a script in interviews. Prepare criteria for scoring answers so you can evaluate based on facts. It is important to remove inherent bias from your interviews.
  • Implement a panel-based interview model – inviting an indirect manager to join you in the video interview allows you to reduce any inherent bias, offering a more balanced decision-making process. Your manager may also be able to keep you in check if the candidate is the right culture fit.
  • Adopt psychometric assessments – depending on the role you are recruiting, psychometric assessments help you focus on fit for job and may minimize any inclination to hire based on likeability and personality only.
  • Use recruitment agencies – of course, we would recommend using a recruitment agency as they will ensure you are sent a diverse set of blind resume submissions to shortlist and guide you throughout the process online.

Whether you are recruiting externally or hiring within your organization, there are some additional strategic areas you should consider.

As virtual spaces become the norm in the Caribbean, there may be a shift in the leadership table. When leaders fully appreciate that work from home is manageable and they become increasingly confident of the deliverables from their teams, company policies will be created to encompass parental leave, flexible work and childcare provisions as both men and women work from home.

These policies create the platform and right environment for hiring managers to encourage open conversations for women to identify their strengths and what they can bring to the company and the Board. Activating such policies in a remote work setting can enable communities and working groups to be formed within an organization regardless of size. This network is important as it connects employees, with some colleagues serving as mentors thus forming networking groups.

Companies today need to demonstrate they are the employer brand of choice in their industry. These policies and support groups encourage hiring managers and leaders to be open to discussing their value to the business, deliver change and be hungry to take the next career step without worrying about being perceived as unable to do the job because of managing the household and family obligations.

It is important to understand why women do not stay in your organization and also, to check if you have a gender balanced leadership team. Let’s be real. It’s human nature to lean towards people who are similar to us but we must be honest with how this negatively impacts the company overall and whether the combined leadership team will deliver the growth in your company for the sustainable future.

CEO, Eve Anderson Recruitment, Maria Chong Ton shares, ‘When you make a concerted effort to have a 50-50 share of male to female leaders, you have to review their development plans and discuss their ambitions. You have to be open and clear to have those discussions in the hiring process and during the performance reviews. Do not assume that men are available to travel only as it’s not an assumption anymore. Today, couples have shared responsibilities and you as a hiring manager or boss, need to have these discussions to set the tone and give employees or candidates the opportunity to discuss what they can deliver and they will tell you. Some will surprise you and rise to the occasion.’

About Eve Anderson Recruitment

Eve Anderson Recruitment is an employment agency offering recruitment and human resource solutions in Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago for executive, permanent, contract and temporary job positions to local and international businesses and their third party providers choosing to set up local operations or to deliver short-term projects.