Recently, I commented on my LinkedIn page that thirty plus recruitment agents had looked at my profile within a couple of days. This surprised me since it seemed to be a flurry of activity all at once, and I couldn’t understand why there was such a sudden interest in my profile. Then it became clear. A recruitment agency in the UK has started a dialogue with me about an emphasis on recruiting women into IT roles. I am purely guessing that I’ve come up on their radar for that reason. I haven’t named them, but here are my thoughts on the issue.
I disagree with the idea of tailoring IT recruitment services towards women. Recruitment should be about skills. If you read some of my previous posts, I’ve been in the situation where companies are keen to hire women into IT roles and I’ve been contacted initially on that basis. This strategy has switched me off since I don’t want to be hired over someone else simply because it might be ‘trendy’ or ‘marketable’ to have a technical woman on board.
I don’t want someone to hire me because I’m a technical woman. I want to be taken on board for my experience, attitude and skill set and what I can contribute to their business. The ‘Women in IT’ thing doesn’t help because it sets me apart from the (usually male) people I work beside. I want to blend in, and contribute as part of a team. Either I can do the job, or I can’t. If someone else is better suited, then they should get the role. I guess that’s very simplistic but I focus on skills when I’m hiring someone, so I’m coming from that perspective.
In terms of recruitment strategies which emphasis hiring women for IT roles, the truth is that the numbers are simply not there. The proportion of technical women is small, so it is tailored towards a tiny proportion of the whole potential audience. I get concerned that it sends out a message that WIT need special help in some way. For me personally, I don’t. I will be interested to see what others think, and how the recruitment agencies shape their women-focused strategies.
For me it isn’t relevant because I am more interested in hiring than being hired these days! I jointly run a consultancy business with another SQL Server MVP. As a team, we both bring a mix of technical and business expertise to running Copper Blue, and delivering enterprise business intelligence solutions to our clients. By employing myself, the WIT issue is a non-issue and means I can focus on my customers and projects as part of a team whilst expanding my skills – which is where my focus should be.