Female Recruiters

Are women better recruiters than men?

An article published in the summer of 2014 by Hunt Scanlon Media relayed the results of its 25-year-long assessment of female recruiters in the talent management profession, noting “significant advancements” and “unprecedented” growth.

The group’s statistics indicated that the number of female consultants in “Big Five” global search firms rose from 17% in 1991 to 37% in 2014; further, because the total number of consultants in these firms doubled during that time, the number of females within them actually increased by five times. (Indeed, within Quick Leonard Kieffer’s own ranks, seven of eleven current partners are women.)

Thirty percent of the 1,870 U.S.-based executive search firms that were surveyed by Hunt Scanlon were managed by women, which was a slightly higher percentage than the national average for all businesses led by women. Among these female-led search firms, 14% were staffed by women only, and 40% were formed in the last decade.

Greg Savage, voted “the most influential person in the Australian recruitment industry in the past 60 years” in 2015, wrote a somewhat controversial blog averring that, based on his 35 years of experience in the recruiting industry, women do a better job at recruiting, overall, than men. He suggested that women are better listeners than men and are more empathetic, better connecting with both candidates’ motivations and clients’ needs, which results in a better match and more satisfied customers. He also believes women to be more resilient, sticking with what can be a challenging field longer than their male counterparts. Another point he makes is that search is one profession in which the compensation playing field is level for women and men, as pay is transparent and based on billing for work done, which draws women to it.

Craig Watson and Luke Collard, recruiters from the U.K. who produce one of the leading recruitment industry blogs on the internet, recently undertook a census of recruitment consultants, believing that they were going to discredit the conclusion Savage had come to that women were better recruiters than men. What they found, however, was that, compared to men, women excelled in longevity, tenure, billings, and salary.

Women have dominated the HR field for decades, in both the private and public sectors, at all ranks. This has been attributed to some inherent strengths women possess that are well suited to the field, including creativity, whole-picture thinking, emotional intelligence (intuition and feelings), the ability to read nonverbal cues, the ability to multitask and change gears quickly, and nurturing/conflict resolution skills. Those males that are part of the field of HR tend to gravitate more toward technical matters than relational matters.

In essence, the job of a recruiter is to manage relationships with candidates and clients. With their inherent strengths, women excel at building and maintaining relationships, according to Hunt Scanlon, bringing more of a “personal touch.” Having listening skills that theoretically outperform men’s allows them to really hear what candidates and clients are saying, which engenders trust.

Regardless of their opinion of the superiority of one gender over another in the field of recruitment, all those who weighed in on the subject agreed that the trend toward more representation by women was one that would continue into the future.

Contributed by Holly Valovick, Quick Leonard Kieffer