At the 2013 TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, two men presented a fake app they called “Titstare.” According to one presenter, “Titstare is an app where you take photos of yourself staring at tits.” He went on to joke, “It’s the breast, most titillating fun you cans have.”
With comments and situations like this popping up frequently at events and in the media, I started to wonder whether tech companies create similarly uncomfortable situations in their campus recruiting sessions? It turns out, they do.
In research I conducted with Dr. Shelley Correll of the Stanford VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab last year, we observed dozens of technical recruiting sessions hosted by more than 60 different companies at an elite West Coast university. We saw firsthand that these sessions created what researchers call a “chilly climate for women” in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, i.e. behaviors that make an environment feel unwelcoming or uncomfortable to women.
So how can companies improve their recruiting to warm this chilly environment and attract a more diverse range of candidates?
- Assess the current state of your recruiting.
- Emphasize your company’s real-world impact.
- Feature diverse presenters at recruiting sessions.
- Explain jargon and emphasize multiple successful pathways into tech.
- Choose images carefully.
Assess the current state of your recruiting.
As a first step, ask to see your company’s recruiting sessions. I often find that company representatives are uninformed about what actually happens during their recruiting sessio...
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