Rethinking the Network Effect


Here at the Second Shift we often hear that headhunters cannot find women for senior-level roles and board positions. We don’t believe that achieving gender diversity is a “supply-side problem”. We have a network of thousands of women looking for these types of positions, so we know there is no shortage of qualified female talent. We believe the key to achieving balance lies in improving hiring practices to eliminate bias. And this means that hiring managers need to tap into new resources during the recruiting process.

The Second Shift offers a vetted network of exceptional, professional women available on-demand. All of our members have deep professional experience including at least 15 years of expertise in their fields. The women we work with bring maturity, pride of work, and unbridled enthusiasm for new opportunities to utilize their skills. If you are challenged to find strong female candidates, we invite you to tap into our network, which we are currently focused on growing to be even more diverse.

As promoters of female talent, we believe that we have a responsibility to ensure our own talent pool is diverse as possible. We recently took a good look at our own recruiting methods and realized that our own word-of-mouth recruiting approach was limiting the type of diversity we want to see in our candidate pool. It’s our goal going forward to reflect not only gender diversity but also all layers of diversity within our gender framework including racial and sexual diversity. We truly believe in the benefit of intersectionality and we are making an effort to go beyond recruiting from our own networks to find women who are different, yet qualified, but don’t know of us yet. We’re joining new organizations, attending new events, and getting active with new groups via social media, and we are becoming more diverse than ever before.

If increasing gender representation within your organization is an objective, then you too must begin to move away from the “network approach” to recruiting. Facts are facts and the data shows that when employees tap into their own networks, which tend to be comprised of similar people, a lack of diversity is often the result. In one particular study cited in a recent SHRM article, 71.5 percent of those surveyed referred individuals of their own race/ethnicity and 63.5 percent referred applicants of their own gender.

As movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up continue to raise awareness of gender inequality, the need to create gender diversity at all levels of an organization is becoming more important than ever before. In a recent article, Anita Sands, a global technology and business leader who sits on the board of directors of three public companies, states that “dropping old thinking and approaches” is key to getting more women placed in senior roles. She suggests changing things up by rethinking the criteria used to judge candidates to open the field to new talent, interviewing women before men, and utilizing companies like The Second Shift to source from to a wider array of candidates.

Join us in the effort to shift the workforce in a new and more equal direction. Work with The Second Shift and you can tap into our diverse talent pool and expand your own network with ours! Get in touch today – Refer candidates for membership to our growing network at