It was an opportunity to be a part of the panel at Talent Hack Workshop at the London Technology Week on June 17, 2015. Code First: Girls & Monster organised the talent workshop to understand how to attract and retain diverse tech talent. Many perspectives have been explored and discussed during the panel discussion and workshops.
The first question was focused on how to attract diverse talent in the tech industry?
How to attract "excellent" diverse talent? How and where to advertise job vacancies? What are the words that motivate potential candidates to apply for a job and what are the words that put them off.
The summary of all the points that came out of the discussion are:
1. Wording of the job specification and advertisements: Take out all geeky or sporty words of the job specification. Mention the working culture of the organisation, which not only convey brand value but also attract people from different cultures. Pay attention to structure job structure in such a way that makes people valued and welcomed into the organisation.
2. Think about interdisciplinary environments, how you can bring people from different culture and environments?
3. Arrange meeting the potential recruit in
informal meetings. Take initiatives to know what they do and how they do things in their life? How do they cope up with a stressful situation? How do they approach a stressful situation? You can get out best of them when they are in informal meeting and you can catch better angle on their strengths and areas of improvement.
4. Diversify your talent hunt methods. You could find them from hackdays, roadshows, university collaboration programmes, conferences and public events.
The second question was how to retain diverse talent?
These were the number of points that everyone agreed those keeps them motivated in the work environment. These are: appreciation for their work, flexibility, perks, increments, personal development, team spirit and transparent and positive feedback.
Most of the points explained above would help in bringing and retaining the talent. However, over the years I personally learnt from mentoring so many female students that we need to find the solution of "imposter syndrome". The Imposter syndrome makes women think they are less valuable. They think whatever they have achieved in their career is by chance or luck. They give credit of their success to others. They hesitate to put forward for challenging jobs. This is one of the reasons why women stick to a job role for longer as compared to men. Therefore, the first challenge of getting female talent in the tech sector can be solved by providing them help in overcoming the problem.
This can be achieved by adding an extra line to the job specification. "If you think you can do the job but lacking some technical skills, then don't worry! You will be given required training for the job role."
Dr Poonam Yadav is the Publicity Officer (2014-2016) of Women in Science and Technology (WSET), Imperial College London, and Post-Doc representative (2015-2016) of ACM-W UK chapter.