Do you feel there is prevalent gender bias in the market that you recruit for?
To be honest, there are so few females in the cybersecurity sector that women aren’t treated with bias as such because they are in high demand. There is probably 1% of women who work in information security in Germany, so when you do have a strong woman that meets the requirements of the role, she’ll be hired immediately even someone with slightly less strong skills. Particularly when a client is trying to diversify the team, it is so rare to find females in this sector, so actually being a woman is a huge positive.
But again, on the flip side, as much as I believe in the diversification in tech teams, I do get concerned when companies purposefully hire women or someone of a different nationality to simply to satisfy a “quota.” When this happens, hiring managers sacrifice skillset or personality-fit and inevitably it can hurt what diversification aims to achieve.
In terms of yours, or hiring managers and clients that you work with, what do you think could be done to de-bias recruitment processes?
One thing I believe would certainly help to eradicate preconceived bias ahead of interview stages is to remove photos and dates of birth on resumes or CV’s This is still frequent practice in Germany and ensures that unconscious bias is a part of the hiring process.
I find that in my own processes, I do everything in my power to subvert any bias that I am conscious of. I will qualify any candidate for role if they have the skillset required, regardless of age, race, gender.
For example, I am working with a professional who is going through one of my processes who is a mother of three and currently on maternity leave for her third child. Often you would find recruiters or hiring managers who may have chosen to overlook this applicant because of all the effort required, for example: establishing core working hours, negotiating the transfer of a maternity leave package, mapping out specific legal requirements for what the company has to do, etc. All this extra work really didn’t faze me – I knew that she was a strong candidate who fit the requirements and would be a strong cultural fit for the team.
I did find myself going the extra mile to qualify her and to ensure that I was fully informed about her situation before introducing her to the client. I knew there would be a lot questions surrounding her mother time (maternity leave in Germany).