The language of recruitment

March 5, 2019

All-female talent consultancy SEAO offers an insight as to why there aren’t more women in senior roles

International Women’s Day will take place on Friday March 8 and a Newcastle-based talent consultancy is taking the opportunity to ask why there are still a lack of women in leadership roles – both in the city and internationally.

Led by recruitment director Sam Wall, SEAO Talent Partners comprises a team of five forward-thinking talent acquisition experts with international expertise and over 30 years of in- house recruitment experience.

Having previously worked as head of talent acquisition for a £1.35 billion business, Sam recruited for roles nationwide and has experience of large-scale mergers, acquisitions and financial buy- outs. As such she has an in-depth knowledge of the challenges facing women when it comes to applying for roles – especially those looking for employment in senior positions.

“I strongly believe that one of the main reasons we don’t have more women in leadership roles is that they are put off before they even reach the interview stages due to the job adverts themselves, which are frequently much more geared towards men,” she says.

“The first thing to consider is the advert’s appearance and the perceptions of strong visuals versus those of softer images. It’s also important
to think about the tone and feel of the advert. In general, more direct language will attract males while females are more likely to respond to a more
inclusive approach.

“Research shows that woman will only consider applying for a role if they believe they tick ‘all of the boxes’ so it’s important to think about which skills are essential and which are just desirable. Keeping the list succinct will result in more candidates making it to the interview stage, where it’s always easier to form opinions.

“If you’re concerned about using language which could discourage candidates from applying, the best course of action could be to stick to the facts – avoiding emotive or visually perceived wording.

“Of course, we’re not looking to exclude men from the recruitment process, and so there are ways to appeal to both men and women. Talking to the candidates as ‘you’ rather than ‘he or she’ will make them feel the role is for them, and focusing on benefits you might not find elsewhere – such as flexible working – is also likely to entice.”

Having only been in operation for a few months, SEAO has quickly established itself as a consultancy with a difference and already has international reach thanks to its partnership with experiential travel organisation Day 8, which prides itself on recruiting candidates from across the globe.

Specialising in strategy, end-to-end integrated recruitment, assessment centres and outplacement, the team is extremely passionate about the services they deliver. But while the services are undoubtedly important, it’s the people behind the business which really make SEAO stand apart from the crowded recruitment and talent acquisition market.

Sam continued: “I had no qualms in hiring an all-female team. I knew it was important to build a consultancy with a wealth of in-house experience but I also needed to find people who would live our company values of leading the way, partnering with passion, inspiring brilliance and being unique.

“We have 11 children between us so our family-led culture very much underpins everything we stand for, and it’s important to me that our team members really appreciate this. We’ve found that stating our family-friendly benefits have attracted really strong candidates to our roles – and in the modern world we now live in its something that’s appreciated by both men and women.”

For expert advice on how to write a effective job advert, or to find out more about how SEAO can work in partnership with your business, visit:

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