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There Are EPIC Female Candidates Out There- Here's How to Find Them!

How to source for epic female candidates

First things first things first…

We understand the negative impacts of positive discrimination. The reason why we still advocate diversity sourcing is because recruiters must not view diversity sourcing as zero-sum, where a diverse candidate is put on the shortlist just to tick a box. That’s not what we’re about.

These exercises will help you broaden your initial sourcing efforts to ensure you are looking at a deep, diverse and rich pool of candidates.
From a sourcing perspective, we’re simply drawing out particular candidates who still meet other criteria (skills, keywords of their experience, job titles etc), it’s not that we’re not going to look at all other candidates, but in areas where we need to ensure diversity, sometimes it’s better to split your list to ensure you have a diverse shortlist. Believe it or not, as our data on the Gender Counter of our SocialTalent Platform shows, the average male to female profile views on LinkedIn is currently 2:1, across all industries.

To put it simply, if you segment your list you’re more likely to view diverse profiles.

Once you’ve let that sink in, let’s begin…

Women’s Interest Groups

By leveraging the amazing interest groups out there you can start building a really strong pool. There are plenty of examples of women-specific groups in the technology industry such as:

These give us a great starting point and of course, you can turn to Google to find more groups within specific industries. When searching Google, why not build a Boolean search string to help you make the most of your precious time.

(group OR club OR society OR a member OR membership)

as well as the things like:

(“women who” OR “women in” OR “women for” OR “for women”)

to find a list of organisations that will help you make your sourcing efforts more diverse.

This will give you great content so you can build a Boolean search for LinkedIn and run searches. The aim is to make the results of your sourcing efforts more diverse.

Gender Phrases

You can also source for women using gendered phrases- these are fairly obvious: she, her, female woman, girls etc.

By adding these to a search string you can now find even more talented female candidates on LinkedIn. Think about how people will phrase some of their recommendations for example, which are searchable, on a LinkedIn profile.

“I worked with her on…”
“she was my manager”
“she was my direct report and I recommend her”

These words and phrases exist on people’s profiles, not necessarily in their bios but on their recommendations or the recommendations they have written for other people- this text is searchable on LinkedIn.

Women’s Colleges

college can be a goldmine of skilled candidates

Searching women’s colleges is another sure fire way to find epic female candidates during your sourcing process. By searching for a list of traditional women’s colleges you can then incorporate these colleges and universities into your boolean search.

Here’s an example of what this Boolean string might look like:

(“Alabama A&M University” OR “Alabama State University” OR “Albany State University” OR “Alcorn State University” OR “Allen University” OR “University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff” OR “Arkansas Baptist College” OR “Barber-Scotia College” OR “Benedict College” OR “Bennett College” OR “Bethune-Cookman University” OR “Bishop State Community College” OR “Bluefield State College” OR “Bowie State University” OR “Central State University” OR “Cheyney University of Pennsylvania” OR “Claflin University” OR “Clark Atlanta University” OR “Clinton Junior College” OR “Coahoma Community College” OR “Concordia College, Selma” OR “Coppin State University” OR “Delaware State University” OR “Denmark Technical College” OR “Dillard University”)

and so on…

By copying and pasting this search into the school’s field on LinkedIn you can begin to see some really exciting female candidates cropping up in your search.

*SocialTalent Gift Alert*a go

To make this task a little simpler for you we have included this link to download a particular Excel file and this is going to be a BOOLEAN generator for you, sort of like our Sourcehub tool. This will help you create super quick boolean strings by copying and pasting terms, at scale into the fields provided… You’re welcome!

Sorority Search

Sorority culture is perhaps not as common outside the United States- although some European countries do have a similar structure. It is estimated that there are 9 million students and alumni from sororities (and fraternities combined)- that’s a hell of a talent pool!

Combine a list of sororities with your skill search on LinkedIn and voilà, you have a list of female candidates who match your skill set.

Trusty Wikipedia will provide you with your list of sororities that you can copy and paste into your boolean builder gift above (again, you’re welcome).


So now you have some great starting places for finding epic female candidates AND a useful Excel sheet to help you create super quick Boolean search strings. Finally here’s one more FREE gift to celebrate International Women’s Day!

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