Company reviews like the ones on InHerSight are one way to tell if an organization is committed to supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion, but there are other under-the-radar signals that indicate an employer is championing change. Here, a technical recruiter at Ursa Major Technologies, a company in the male-dominated defense and space industry, shares the ways companies like hers use their online presence to attract women talent.
What’s your elevator pitch?
My name is Samantha Rondon, and I’m the technical recruiter at Ursa Major Technologies. I’ve been with the company since August 2020 when the company needed to jumpstart their hiring after a freeze due to COVID-19. My background, however, was in sales and marketing prior to joining Ursa, and I knew that these skills would be directly applicable to the work I’d be doing at Ursa. It’s a very similar process to sell the company to a potential customer as it is to a potential employee. By understanding the needs of my applicants, I’m able to better position Ursa’s efforts on job boards, career fairs, conferences, etc. and, ultimately, that allows me to give candidates better insight into our mission during the interview process.
InHerSight regularly encourages women to look at a company’s data to know if they’re supportive of women and diversity, equity, and inclusion, but there are definitely factors beyond numbers that indicate an employer is ready to support women. From a marketing standpoint, what do you consider to be signals women job seekers should look for of a company’s willingness to work toward gender equality?
Do they walk the talk?
A great measure of a company’s willingness to be more inclusive is how they position themselves online. If an organization cares about promoting diversity and making the change within, they will consciously show candidates that they care by promoting their efforts online. However, be cautious of companies stretching the truth. Do a company’s marketing materials imply significantly different demographics than what a simple LinkedIn search would suggest? In other words, does LinkedIn suggest only 10 percent of the company is female while all of their pictures seem manicured to achieve better looking demographics?
Another great check is to give women-specific job boards a search and see if the company you’re interested in appears. Companies that dedicate the resources to finding more women candidates truly care about the need to be more diversified. Does the company actively celebrate things like International Women’s Day and post about it on their social media? Are they participating in outreach events to inspire school-aged girls to consider their field when they grow up? Organizations that aspire to be more diverse along other measures such as race, veterans, LGBTQ+, etc. are also more likely to care about gender parity.
Talk specifically about branding. How do companies use imagery, language, and their overall brand decisions to show job seekers they’re striving for a more inclusive workplace?
Your future employer should be deliberate about their online presence when striving to be more inclusive. This can span from the type of language they use in their job requisitions to what they prioritize in their social media posts.
I have a wonderful, yet biased, example. Ursa asked me to join the organization when I was seven months pregnant! They knew full well that after two months of work, I was going to take eight weeks of maternity leave once my baby was born. Ursa placed full confidence in me and took a leap of faith in their decision to hire me—and it paid off! I returned from maternity leave to the biggest hiring surge we’ve ever experienced. The company is a mix of parents who understood exactly what I was going through and made all the necessary accommodations (e.g., work from home, flexibility with scheduling meetings, giving me time to breastfeed or pump, etc.) to ensure that I was happy and would stay.
As a new mum who has been treated exceptionally well by her organization, and as the sole recruiter with some branding authority, I make a point to include pictures online that showcase employees with their kids (or fur babies!) for candidates to see how inviting and accommodating Ursa is for their female employees. To have been given the opportunity to continue working and be an engaging mum has been a wonderful gift that was only possible because my company cares about my needs. Every woman deserves no less when hunting for the right career move!
How do you know when a company’s marketing decisions around recruitment are representative of the culture women experience at the organization? Are there specific questions women can ask during interviews—or things they can watch for—to ensure they’re getting the culture they were “sold”?
Having honest conversations with potential employers about your passion for diversity and unwillingness to join an organization that doesn’t take this seriously can be a great litmus test for whether this is the right career move. Ask to speak to other women in the organization and see if they’re willing to share their honest experience about their time at the company. It’s a great way to confirm what you’ve been ‘sold’ by the recruiter. We have done this multiple times and it has led to successful hires each time!
Candidates can ask prospective employers what specific efforts they’re making internally to improve their diversity efforts. Be wary of companies touting that they’ve got things figured out. No organization is perfect, and we should all strive to improve. Women can inquire about DEI initiatives—are there programs in place to address improvements? What accommodations does the organization make for breastfeeding mothers who need to pump? Inquire about the number of women in leadership positions and what the path toward leadership looks like.
Lastly, you’re a recruiter in a male-dominated industry—and many companies in those industries are actively working to achieve cultures that are inclusive but still have a long way to go. Beyond data, what messaging and indicators of support (benefits, programming, etc.) should a woman entering a still-male-dominated role expect to see from an organization that’s ready for change?
Women should inquire about the benefits offered for maternity and/or adoptive leave, breastfeeding/pumping options, gender neutral bathrooms for those transitioning or who have already transitioned, accommodation for flexible work hours or remote work when necessary, does the organization help cover daycare costs, is there a women’s group at the organization to encourage interaction between women coworkers, what are the women leaders in the organization specifically doing to address improvements internally, etc. There is a plethora of questions like these that will help candidates get a much better sense for how seriously the organization prioritizes helping women get on the same playing field as their men counterparts. Once leadership understands the benefits of a diverse workforce then change will start to happen.