Andy Crouch - Code, Technology & Obfuscation ...

Genders & IT Recruitment

Woman On Laptop In Cafe

Photo: Unsplash

I’d like to discuss something that happened recently relating to IT recruitment. It’s about the approach taken by recruiters when compiling candidate lists. It is something that I will admit I have never noticed until now and it is they never include women.

Never? Never! I thought back to the times I have resorted to hiring via traditional IT recruiters. I, never once, have had a woman’s CV forwarded for a developer role.

At Open Energy Market I have held a large number of interviews over the last 2 years. I prefer to target developers via job boards and favour Hacker News as a great resource. In fact, the best developers I have hired over the last couple of projects I have worked on have come from there. Last July I wanted to hire a Full-Stack .Net web developer but came up short. For once Hacker News came up short.

I am targeted by recruiters on a daily basis and have spoken to a selected few that came recommended. Due to an urgent need to hire I decided to see what candidates these recruiters would present. On purpose, I limited myself to only 3 recruiters.

The first round of CV’s sent over were not particularly impressive. In talking to the recruiter that provided them I asked why this might be. She told me that it was the best of the current applicants local to our office. I reminded her that I was not worried about location and was happy to hire a remote team member. She started to get very excited and ask what other variants would I accept. Would I like to talk to Full Stack developers skilled in other languages and frameworks? Was I concerned with age?

I answered her questions and I realised that being very flexible still ended in the same result. Male only candidates. So I asked, “Do you not deal with women developers?” The response I got was “Oh! You would want to review the CV’s of women developers?”

“Oh! You would want to review the CV’s of women developers?”

This recruiter was a woman I should add. “Yes, of course, I would,” I said gobsmacked that she would respond in this way. The result was around 10 more CV’s added to my review list.

This made me sit and think when I came off of the phone with her. Is that a normal approach? Do I have to prompt a recruiter to include women’s CV’s for technical roles? I started to try and think back to the conversations I have had with recruiters. Had I said or suggested something in my requirements that would cause this approach. I called up the other two recruiters I was dealing with at the time and repeated the conversation. “CV lists are weak …” “Remote is fine … “ “Other language experience is OK …” Then I asked each of them “Do you not deal with women developers?” Once again they responded in line with the first recruiter. Once again I said that I was keen to interview great developers regardless of their gender.

As it turned out I hired a developer that resulted from these conversations. She is remote based and was by far the best and most suitable candidate I interviewed for the role.

This experience made me think, is this a common issue with recruiters? I have always had a mix of candidates regardless of gender when using job boards. I have never once had women’s developer’s CV forwarded by a recruiter. Should it be my responsibility to actually give my permission to allow women to apply? I 100% do not think that should be the case at all. I do not think any hiring manager should have to even consider this in 2017. Is it caused by the target-driven nature of the recruitment business? Is it a hangover from less equal times? Whatever the reason it is wrong.

I hope when I hire next I do not find this still to be the case. It likely will be and I will be mindful to ask earlier in the process.

I encourage you to as well.

New Year, New Blog.

2017 In Sparklers

Photo: Unsplash

Welcome to my new blog.

This is not the first blog I have written. In the past, I maintained a blog for some years over on Blogspot. Due to family and volunteering commitments, I failed to find time to maintain it.

I have made some promises to myself for 2017 to make time to devote to personal coding and writing. This blog relates to one of those promises. I intend to (or attempt to) publish at least one post a week on a varied range of topics.

For those that do not know me, I am a 20 year veteran of the web and software development industry. I have worked across various industries and used a varied mix of technology. Some of my previous clients include BP, easyJet and HSBC. You can read about the interesting stuff here and here.

I am currently Chief Technology Officer for Open Energy Market. We are building a game-changing commercial energy procurement and management platform. My journey in this role and the technology we build will form the basis for some of the posts here. I have learnt a tremendous amount relating to the running of a start-up so it will not be all code and technology.

If you’d like to follow any of my social media or project’s then click the left hand menu for my various account links.

So to anyone that has come across this post, here’s to a Happy and blog post filled 2017 and beyond!