Diversity focused hiring for intelligent matches between candidates and employers
At Meytier, we use the power of AI and Analytics to eliminate unintended, unconscious bias in enterprise hiring. We help women represent themselves effectively and find opportunities at organizations that are committed to diversity.
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How to Make the Most of Your LinkedIn Profile: An Interview with Pamela Shand
LinkedIn can be a tricky social media to navigate. Self promotion in such a public setting is difficult for everyone, but especially for women. However, if you’re looking for a job in 2020, your LinkedIn profile is invaluable and might just be the most important part of your job search. So, what kinds of things should you include in your profile? What kind of content should you be interacting with? We spoke with Pamela Shand, Talent Acquisition consultant and career coach, on how job seekers can make the most of their LinkedIn profiles. Pamela helps connect job seekers with the right kinds of roles and works with organizations to help them hire the right kind of talent. She has valuable insight on both sides of the job search, and we’re sure you’ll find it just as helpful and insightful as we did. What value do you think a strong Linkedin profile can bring to job seekers? LinkedIn is an awesome tool for personal branding. It’s a tool you can use to get your values out there and find other people and organizations who align with those values. LinkedIn can help you find opportunities that aren't just a match for the basic things. It’s also probably the greatest way to get found. Which takes the hard work out of job seeking. It puts you in a position where you’re not just constantly pursuing employers- you get to position yourself to receive outreach. What are your top LinkedIn musts for job seekers? First, a good picture. And not just a selfie. Make sure it’s straight on, well lit, with a plain background, something that looks clean and crisp. Use a picture that speaks to your career and your brand. It doesn’t necessarily have to be really formal. My second must is an attractive headline. Make sure your headline includes searchable words. Remember that there's two sides to LinkedIn, the job seeker side and the LinkedIn recruiter side. Recruiters and hiring managers are looking at your profile. It’s a boolean search* driven platform and they want to find you. So if they’re putting in keywords and you don’t have them in your profile- they won't find you. Include your industry, career choice, what job you want, to be found. *This means it’s a kind of search platform that allows users, recruiters in this case, to combine keywords with Boolean operators (and, not, or). This way, they can narrow down their search by finding candidates who meet an array of criteria. This could include skills, location, interests, etc. While we’re talking about headlines, what do you think makes a good headline and what are your thoughts about explicitly stating that you’re looking for a job or including “open to opportunities” in your headline? I don’t think you need to include it. It’s implied that you’re open to opportunities. We’re in an employment at will job market, recruiters will reach out even if you don’t have it written in your headline. Also, LinkedIn has features to tell recruiters that you’re looking for opportunities. It won’t appear on your page to the public, only to recruiters. Again, it’s a boolean search, so don't waste keyword space in your Headline. Instead, use that space to write about what you can bring to the table and what kinds of opportunities you’re looking for. I know many people feel like LinkedIn is such a hard social media to spend time on. How important do you think it is to the job search? I think LinkedIn is really important in terms of building relationships and trying to grow your career. So many employers look at LinkedIn before they even look at a resume. Job seekers need to circumvent the process and go beyond the applicant tracking systems and the online applications and go right to hiring managers. Reach out and help them get to know you. A relationship will help you not get lost in the shuffle. With LinkedIn it’s really like a one stop shop job search, you can look at company pages, find jobs, even reach out to the person who posted the job and interview before you even apply. LinkedIn also allows you to research salaries, positions, and company information in different ways. It’s a much more in depth job search. What are the tools that help job seekers most? Especially in light of searching for a job during COVID-19. Use your LinkedIn to position yourself as a passive candidate. Even if you aren’t looking for a job and you just want to be open to outreach. One of the biggest things you can do on LinkedIn is have a complete profile. It’s not just about listing the companies you’ve worked at. List your details. Key accomplishments, measurable impacts you’ve had, project’s you’ve taken charge of, etc. Your headline and summary are good places to tell your story. Inject searchable keywords. You can also use LinkedIn to find other people. Once you've connected to someone, send them an inmail. Take it off of LinkedIn, set up a zoom call. Do a virtual coffee. Just do it. Really, do what you can to make your profile findable. Remember, it’s not just for LinkedIn. Recruiters use Google as a search tool for talent and your LinkedIn profile will appear in searches. So make sure your profile has all the right information. Go through every section and don’t miss projects, awards, accomplishments, etc. What kind of engagement /activity should job seekers be looking to cultivate? Should they be interacting with others in their field, companies, news? All of it- you should aim to have a diverse network of not just hiring managers. Start by connecting with people who are in line with where you’re headed, your trajectory, connect with peers, thought leaders, headhunters, agency recruiters, as they’ll have access to different opportunities. When they have a job to fill the first thing they'll do is look to their network. Remember that LinkedIn is all about getting found. In addition to your network, post content that speaks to who you are and what your values are. I personally love to see creative posts- things other people will share. If you're passionate about something in your field- post about it. There will be others who share those interests. Share things that matter to you, that reflect your technical expertise as well as the things you care about. Remember your passion is more than just a job, you want to be happy at work and that companies reflect your values. You want your LinkedIn to reflect your technical expertise and skills but also your passions. So cultivate a network where you are surrounded by individuals who are in line with your values. This way you’ll have a greater platform to speak to absolutely what's important to you. What should people be including on their LinkedIn profile? I think the more the merrier, but it has to be done the right way. On LinkedIn, you can add more detail and more personality than you can on a regular resume. Every time you share something, or upload a link to something, your profile becomes more inviting and attractive. Find a balance between highlighting professional achievements as well as personal content. We often work with women who are the only female applicant in the process. What do you think female job seekers could be doing better to stand out in the job application process? Women struggle to properly sell themselves and market their strengths. As if they don't see the value of what they do and don't feel worthy of marketing the heck out of it. That mindset helps create these gaps. There is so much talent that women bring to the table they aren't putting it on their resumes. I always tell people, you’ve done so much and you've created so much, you need to put it on your resume. Women just aren’t always seeing that their value is important. Remember self promotion isn’t an ego thing- just understanding your value. There is nothing wrong with marketing your value. It's what puts you in position to be in demand. Highlight your strengths, own your power, and state your worth. It’s one of the biggest challenges that women face. Just seeing their own worth and value and not being afraid to put it out there. Once you get those two things out of the way- creating a stronger profile will flow naturally. A big thank you to Pamela Shand for sharing her expertise on this subject with us. Stay tuned for more content and interviews with other experts on how jobseekers can make the most of their LinkedIn!
Job Search
A Computer is Reading Your Resume; Get it to Notice You
Meytier's mission is to leverage AI and Analytics to expand opportunities for women across industries. Our company was born from a realisation that current models of hiring disproportionately filter out female candidates and perpetuate the notion that there simply isn’t a large enough pipeline of female candidates. As we’ve built and scaled Meytier, we’ve researched current hiring models extensively and found that hiring in 2020 is complicated and more technical than ever before. Nearly every company uses some kind of technology to filter candidates and help them sift through resumes. This new wave of hiring technology has been proclaimed as a possible solution to end human bias in the hiring process and allow firms to hire fairly without expending substantial resources on Human Resource Departments. However, research has consistently shown that these hiring software solutions can not only replicate human bias, but often amplify it. This bias has disproportionately affected women for two main reasons: they are not represented well in the data used to make these software, and they are not represented in the teams and companies producing the software. What does it mean for AI to amplify bias? In 2017, researchers at the University of Virginia used images to train an image recognition software after noticing some potential bias. They used photos that showed individuals in kitchens and represented more women than men. In the data, women were 33% more likely to be pictured in kitchens. When asking the AI system to identify photos of women- it would consistently mislabel men in kitchens as women and more than doubled the bias. The photos were 68% more likely to be labelled as women, even if they were images of men cooking. While a different space than hiring: this shows just what is on the line while using unbalanced or unrepresentative data to an AI system. There isn’t just a risk of recreating the same human bias, but actually making it much worse. Most companies use some kind of keyword matching software to analyse candidates and determine a match. These are not necessarily the most sophisticated systems- they simply match the words of the job application to the words of a resume. Our research (and others’) has shown us that women tend to leave key skills and information out of their resumes, and often have more qualitative resumes rather than quantitative ones that might be harder for the software to analyse. For example, oftentimes keyword matching software wouldn’t match “product manager” with “managed product development”. These screenings also often can’t read resumes if they are not in some standard format (usually word or pdfs), leading many resumes unread or read incorrectly. A slightly more sophisticated version of the keyword matching is also very common- usually an integration of machine learning into the resume analysis in which resumes are “graded” on certain parameters. Often, these systems are trained to analyse language strength, key experience, and more. In 2018, Amazon built themselves one of these programs- hoping that if they trained it with a database of Amazon’s strongest employees’ resumes, they could create a perfect hiring machine- in which they would submit resumes, the AI would suggest the top 5, and they would hire them. However, by training the AI model off of hundreds of mostly men’s resumes, the system taught itself to discriminate against women. Remember the photos of women in kitchens. Resumes that included traditionally women’s colleges were downgraded, “captain of basketball team” would positively affect one resume’s score, but “captain of women’s basketball team” would negatively impact another’s, because the system had largely been trained on and exposed to men’s resumes. While one doesn’t necessarily write their gender on a resume, there are proxies for it, like education, names, and language. These systems also bring to light some of the key differences in the ways men and women represent themselves professionally. Women face huge bias when they come off as too confident, ambitious, or overstated. Thus, their resumes tend to be much more subtle. Women often use more collective language, highlighting the teams that surrounded them in a role, speaking about projects they “helped” with, times they “learned”. Male applicants say “executed”, “led”, and “innovated” where women applicants say “helped”, “was part of a team”, “learned.”. If you train an AI system to find common strengths amongst applicants in a field that has been traditionally overwhelmingly male dominated, it will inevitably identify traditionally male traits. Most other systems are not much better. Video interviewing systems (that analyse candidates facial movements, language patterns, and more) are often trained off of homogenous data sets. Research has shown that facial recognition software struggles to properly identify the gender of non-white subjects. In addition to that, research as recently as this year has shown that there is still a significant data gap in voice recognition software, leading it to misunderstand women at a higher rate than men. Which begs the question- if a software can’t accurately understand a candidate’s language, how can it properly judge their strength? The good news is- when it comes to mitigating some of the effects of technology bias in the hiring process, there is plenty you can do. There are a few basics. Make your resume a simple format (pdf or word doc) and keep the layout fairly simple. Overstuffed resumes can be difficult for computers to read. Keep the section titles of your resume clear and traditional. For example, make your education experience just “Education” and not a more creative but less obvious title. If you’re ever in a situation where you know your resume is going to be read first by a human, feel free to switch it back. Use the terminology that the job description uses. If the job description says it’s looking for a “Python Expert” don’t write that you have “extensive python experience”, write that you’re a “python expert”. And if you’ve only taken a few coding classes but the job description says “coding experience a big plus”, just write in “coding experience”. At an interview, or later on in the job search process you can explain that you’ve taken a few classes and you’re learning, you don’t need to explain it immediately in your resume. We consistently find that women will leave out key parts of their experience on their resume. They are often uncomfortable claiming skills unless they are masters at it, they leave out extra education experience (courses and seminars), and tend to highlight their team’s work above their own. It can be difficult to claim a skill before you’ve mastered it- but remember that you can learn skills, and that male applicants who took those same two coding classes you took after work are putting it on their resumes. Look through your resume and think about how you’re framing your role and experience. Are you saying that you “worked with your team” on a project? Could you instead say that you led it? Are you saying that you were “part of a team that analysed security systems in financial transactions”? Could you instead say “Analyst for Security Systems in Financial transactions?” It’s implied that you worked with others on a project, a hiring manager reading your resume isn’t assuming you did each thing in your career alone. Remember that your resume is to highlight your experience and expertise, don’t get too caught up perfectly representing the reality of your role. The reality is that most people still find jobs through some kind of personal connection. Last year we interviewed over 400 professionals and most of them found their last job through some kind of personal connection, 25.8% via referral from family, friend, or coworker, 15% through networking, 13% from a recruitment or search firm. Ultimately, the best use of your time while looking for a job is reaching out to who you know. Having a personal connection of some sort will always benefit you in the job search process as it’ll increase the chances that a human reads your resume first. Hiring technology is imperfect yet unfortunately widely used. The reality is- these days, your resume probably goes through several rounds of elimination before it reaches a person (if it ever even does). Keep your resume detailed, simple, and focused and remember who’s looking at it first. If you’re a leader in a company in charge of hiring, look into the processes you use. You may be missing out on good candidates. Are you looking for a job right now? Feeling stuck? Make a Meytier account and reach out to us. We'd love to help you find your next job.
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