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3 ways to make a temporarily remote position sound good to job seekers

The CEO of InHerSight explains why getting your remote-now roles in front of job seekers is critical to preserving the diversity of your candidate pipelines, especially if you’re aiming to hire more women. 

3 ways to make a temporarily remote position sound good to job seekers
[Source photos: cottonbro/Pexels; Timothy Buck/Unsplash]

Hiring remote workers has never been so complicated. Potential return-to-office plans, time zone and state restrictions, eventual relocation requirements, and other pandemic-related factors are influencing the permanency of remote work for many organizations. Work-from-anywhere simply isn’t an all-inclusive forevrer reality.

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But is a remote-now job even a remote job? If you’re a hiring manager or recruiter, you might have wondered this recently while posting a new position on a job board or your company’s website.

I’m here to convince you that it is, and to explain why getting your remote-now roles in front of job seekers is critical to preserving the diversity of your candidate pipelines—especially if you’re aiming to hire more women. 

As the CEO of InHerSight, a company-reviews platform for women that helps employers hire and retain working women, my goal is to move the needle for gender equity in every way I can. And what may seem like a small decision—whether to check the remote box when you post your next opening—is actually a big deal.

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Since March 2020, 1.8 million women have dropped out of the workforce, and according to one of our surveys, more than a third of women who are employed full time say the delta variant is making them somewhat, or significantly more, likely to leave their current jobs. Women employees are in a state of unrest.

One powerful tool that can help: remote work, in any form it comes, not only because of current safety, burnout, and childcare concerns—which are having a more acute impact on women—but also because it’s what women want right now. 

In the past six months, the ability to telecommute and have a flexible work schedule has jumped to the top of women’s “must-have” lists when using our tools to search for jobs (replacing paid time off and having respectful, professional colleagues). And when we look at just the last three months, 87% of the thousands of women creating job profiles with us check the box that they are interested in remote work (versus around half of women job seekers over the same period in 2019). Companies interested in hiring women and keeping their diversity goals on track have to meet talent where they are, and that’s scrolling through listings of work-from-home jobs. 

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But how, you might ask, do we bill our roles as remote, then tack on all of these additional requirements, like relocations and eventual returns to the office, without scaring women away?

Good question, and you have a valid point. In a September survey, InHerSight asked 2,200 people, mostly women, whether remote-with-additional-context roles carry equal weight as permanent remote work, and the answer was no. Although 24% of respondents said they were open to any and all remote opportunities, the majority see caveated remote roles as deterrents from accepting a job offer, with eventual relocation being the most discouraging requirement at 35%. 

In second, third, and fourth place:

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  • 18% of respondents said they’d be deterred if they had to return to the office at some point.
  • 13% of respondents said they’d be deterred if they had to be in a specific state to hold a position.
  • 5% of respondents said they’d be deterred if they had to work specific hours or in a designated time zone.

Deterrents, but not hard nos like zero remote work is—and definitely not a reason to lose the attention of the vast majority of job-seeking women. 

The truth is, while many women (and employees of all genders) hope that the increased opportunities for remote work continue post-pandemic, as the safety and childcare pictures change, so too might their interest in having a change of work scenery. The key right now is, first and foremost, supporting that immediate need to still work remotely by ensuring every female job seeker sees that you can provide her with that opportunity. 

I’ve found these three tactics to be the most effective at getting that message across while also catching the attention of remote-seeking applicants: 

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  1. Be transparent about the future of the role. Put remote caveats front and center by adding them to job titles (example: “Software Engineer—Remote with relocation post-COVID or Remote with Residence in NY, FL, CA”). 
  2. Work with hiring partners to create special flags for remote-now positions. If they are truly hiring partners, these will be challenges they are excited to help you solve. For example, InHerSight has introduced a new feature for our employer partners to tell the women in our network that an opportunity is remote without having to fully mark a job as remote in an ATS. It’s a small, creative step that goes a long way to getting jobs in front of a diverse set of candidates.
  3. Beef up the job description with benefits that show you’re attuned to what employees, especially women, need and are concerned they might lose if they’re no longer remote. Sought-after benefits like childcare, flexible work hours, additional perks added during the pandemic, and mental health stipends show you acknowledge what’s going on in the world and recognize that they have lives outside of work that need to come first. That recognition alone just might be enough to get them to click, Apply.  

Ursula Mead is the cofounder and CEO of InHerSight.


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