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Job Applications - Men versus Women...

Females are less likely to apply for jobs, promotions or challenging projects if they don’t feel they are fully qualified, but what can be done to solve this?

Hewlett Packard discovered that women would only apply for a promotion if they were 100% qualified for the job – while men would apply if they only had 60% of the job requirements. Following on from this, the Harvard Business Review recently explored the reasons why applicants don’t apply for jobs. The most common reason by men and women being “I didn’t think they would hire me since I didn’t meet the qualifications, and I didn’t want to waste my time and energy.”

This potentially presents a problem with hiring processes. Simon Drake, Director of Executive Search & Interim, Penna, said “Consideration should be applied when determining the level of experience required for senior leadership positions; extra thought should be given to actual and realistic need of certain types of experience, how certain types of experience may be mutually exclusive, and how certain experience may disadvantage demographic groups needlessly.”

He continues: “This would perhaps decrease opportunities for women where specifications change and develop during the recruitment process (allowing for a more flexible approach) whereas in a robust recruitment process, this shouldn’t happen.”

Drake explains that a candidate doesn’t have to meet 100% of the job requirements in order to be a successful applicant. However, he points out that in a “candidate rich market” job requirements can be used to filter the best candidates. 

Nevertheless, he advises both male and female candidates to “consider whether the role needs the qualifications and whether these are critical.

“If not, and you have experience that may potentially compensate for this, then consider applying on the basis that you accept you may be discounted because of this. Make it clear in your application that this is the case and that this is the rationale for your application.”