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Red Bull, Pizza, and a Fast Computer

How the enduring stereotyping of software engineers prevents companies from landing top talent

We may not realize it (or want to admit it), but all of us are susceptible to stereotypes. Whether ingrained in us from a young age or developed later on, we have preconceived notions about other people. And sometimes they aren’t necessarily a terrible thing. Have you ever thought somebody was smart only because they were wearing glasses? Many stereotypes are rather harmless and just plain silly.

However, stereotypes can also be dangerous or restrictive, especially in the workplace. Thanks to movies and other pop culture elements, we have been subjected to stereotypical work roles for many years. See if any of these sound familiar: the know-it-all but clueless boss, the timid secretary, the pompous salesperson. And, of course, there’s the geeky IT guy.

The computer folks and software engineers may have it the worst when it comes to stereotypes. Picture an IT professional. What do you see? Somebody (probably a man, right?) locked away in an office, furiously typing on a keyboard? Maybe he looks a little harried? Perhaps his work area is a mess and there are several empty Red Bull cans and pizza boxes scattered about?

Okay, so maybe this describes some programmers, but by no means all of them. And if you are in charge of hiring at your company and have this image in your mind, this could sway your decision-making in a number of ways.

First, because some employers picture a man, they may be unconsciously hesitant to hire – or even interview – a woman for any kind of tech role. But guess what? Plenty of women are getting into the software engineering field and they are just as capable as their stereotypical male counterparts.

And what about appearance? If you saw someone in the lobby waiting for an interview and he was wearing a nice suit, would you automatically think he wasn’t there for the engineer position? Would you look around for somebody who resembled a character from The IT Crowd?

This is why stereotypes can be detrimental in recruiting for both job seekers and businesses. Not only could some excellent candidates be denied jobs they would thrive at, companies miss out on people that could really help the organization. It’s a lose-lose situation.

What’s the solution to the stereotype conundrum?

You of course only want the best and brightest for your company. So how can you accomplish this? There are two options. First, you can do what you can do to consciously refute any stereotypes from entering your thinking when looking for talent. Second, you can leave the process up to a hiring professional who will make unbiased, thoroughly-researched, and well-vetted recommendations for you. This will guarantee that you only choose from top-tier candidates.

Want to ensure your company gets the right software engineer? Capital Markets Placement will make it happen. Our expert recruiters will save you time and hassle while helping you find the perfect fit. Contact us to get started today.

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