How to use some creative strategies for recruiting diverse tech job candidates

As a tech veteran and president of a women-in-technology group, I have received hundreds of calls over the years from people seeking technology-based talent. Most of these callers had an acute interest in both technical and female talent.

In some instances, I could provide a short list of potential candidates from my group, Tech Savvy Women and my network. Other times, I would provide some of the following suggestions to nurture their search since I too was interested in these companies hiring more women into technology-based roles.

Engage your current female employees in the process — This is not just the recruiter or hiring manager’s responsibility; engage employees and especially the females in your organization into the process of recruiting diverse talent. High-impact female employees generally know other high-impact women.

Mine existing networks — Recruiters or hiring managers often jump into existing recruiting channels, social media sites and resume boards. Diverse talent companies often have to take a varied approach:

  • Invite a few female employees to post open positions in which diversity candidates are desired. In exchange for their time and postings, create ways to compensate them if this lands you the right candidate (some ideas could be a gift cards, stipend, leave a hour early for the day, etc.).
  • Leverage your existing technical associations. Many times these technical associations have job boards and even subgroups. For example, the Society for Information Management has a subgroup called SIM Women. There are also many technical groups for women such as Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology© and Women in Technology International©.
  • Host a technical group on-site. By opening your doors to diverse technology groups, you have a great opportunity to highlight your company’s culture and environment while creating new relationships for future opportunities, which is how women like to be approached anyways. Many companies have invited and sponsored Tech Savvy Women’s quarterly events in exchange for an opportunity to showcase their technologies and related unfilled technical positions.

Take another look — With so many new technical programs, degrees and certification, it pays to revisit the local community colleges, the ITT Technical Institutes and some new initiatives such as Software Craftsmanship Guild, which is graduating women programmers aligned to the top two in-demand programming languages — Java and Microsoft.net.

Many of these programs are attracting existing professionals who are obtaining their second degree or are retraining for the new marketplace, which often makes them great experienced candidates for recruiters and hiring managers.

Although attracting diverse talent is not always easy, there are many great pockets of such talent locally and nationally, requiring a little bit of time and networking to explore and attract new talent.