4 Success Strategies for Women in Recruitment

Hazel Lancashire

Hazel Lancashire is the Operations Director for our business across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

Here, Hazel reflects on a decade in a historically male-dominated industry, and shares four successful strategies she’s developed to fulfil her potential.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how far the financial services industry has come in the past decade. Made up almost entirely of men when I first started my career in a recruitment agency, it’s great to see how we’ve made diversity and inclusion part of our workplace’s DNA, and how we’ve committed to creating a better work-life balance for our next generation of entrants.

We’ve still got more work to do, especially when it comes to representation in the senior and c-suite ranks, which continue to be predominantly made up of men. The number of women entering our industry is at an all-time high, but those numbers have yet to be reflected at the top.

I’ve had the great fortune of working for some incredibly talented, knowledgeable, experienced, no-nonsense women who’ve helped build me up to where I am today. They had my back, trusted my instincts, and were just an email or phone-call away when I needed to talk through a problem. They were a huge inspiration, and I now strive to be the kind of mentor that they were to me.

If we’re to continue to present our sector as one that listens, evolves and attracts the kind of talent that reflects the world we work and live in today, then we need to build and share success strategies for other women to make it to the top. I have a number of observations and suggestions for how women can achieve that:

  1. Be bolder
    Culturally, and talking very generally, women tend to say the glass is half empty, rather than half full. We’re more likely to look at a job application and think: ‘I’ve only done four of the ten qualifications they’re asking for’, while men often think ‘I’ve done four but can likely do the other six.’

    As women, we need to adjust that thinking, raise our hands more and discover just how valuable you are to yourself and the organisation you work for. So, I would say to women: be bolder – see the possibilities, and then go after them.

  2. Good managers make all the difference
    In addition to the women leaders I’ve worked with, I recall a time when I first met David Vincent (Managing Director at Resource Solutions) in an earlier role. I was running a major banking client account at the time, and from the outset David was supportive and keen to develop me within the role. 

    This support and affirmation reiterated my worth, and made me feel really proud. It was nice getting that recognition. Real leaders will inspire you, mentor you, and push you. So, make sure you seek them out and work with them. 

  3. Be tenacious – but make time for laughter
    It might sound strange or trite, but laughter can be the antidote to a stressful day, the remedy to high tensions in a room, and an easy way to build strong relationships.

    In my current role, I work closely with Simon Bradberry and Dave Barr, who run Resource Solutions’ operations in APAC. One of the reasons why we work so well together is through a strong sense of camaraderie – and it’s all based on working hard and sharing a laugh wherever you can.

  4. Demonstrate your knowledge
    Thankfully, there have only been a handful of times in my career when I’ve had to deal with a client’s less favourable perception of me as a woman. Most of the time it’s an individual bias, but sometimes it’s a cultural one. Both are challenging, but ultimately, you counter it by demonstrating your knowledge and ability to deliver results.

    One other observation is that in the APAC region there’s a heightened perception regarding personal presentation – regardless of gender – so that is something my team and I always try to bear in mind.

It’s important to remember that while we need to manage the wellbeing of our existing workforce, we also want to propel new graduates and candidates into this market. There are certain expectations among the next generation of people we’re engaging with. Those expectations include flexible working through policies like ‘smart working’; an acknowledgement of and emphasis on diversity and inclusion; and ensuring more women - and especially women of colour – are encouraged and empowered to assume leadership positions.

Are you a recruitment professional looking for your next challenge? Find out more about careers at Resource Solutions