Take the Interview: When Hiring Working Mothers, Flexibility Is Key

Ahead of Mother’s Day, Take the Interview spoke to two leaders in the talent acquisition space who chose to create their own paths after having children. Now successful entrepreneurs, these industry leaders reflect on what they’ve learned from motherhood, hiring, and the candidate experience.

Janine Truitt, founder and CIO of Talent Think Innovations, has a very busy life. The 10-year talent acquisition veteran and entrepreneur splits her time between taking care of her three children, growing her own business (which she says is like having another child in itself) and developing her presence as a thought leader in the industry.

“I have basically kind of tailored myself around my business and my responsibilities — I do as much as is reasonable without overfilling my plate,” Truitt said.

Truitt’s story is more common than you think, as working mothers remain a vital and growing entity in the talent pool. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 69.9 percent of women with children under the age of 18 were working in 2015 — representing around 34.2 percent of working women as a whole. That increase marks a paradigm shift since the mid-1970s, when less than 50 percent of mothers were reported in the workforce.

As the population of working mothers rises, the numbers suggest companies are moving at a slower pace when it comes to providing benefits for growing families. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while 88 percent of workers had access to unpaid family leave in 2015, only 13 percent of workers reported access to paid family leave, with six percent reporting access to flexible workplace benefits.

“To say we’re not making some strides, we are — but we can do better,” Truitt said.

Allison O’Kelly, a successful CPA and Harvard Business M.B.A, founded Mom Corps (now Corps Team), a boutique staffing firm that helps working mothers find the right opportunities, after having kids prompted her to look for more flexibility at work.

“To me, it’s a lot less about a formal policy and more about a culture of acceptance and making people feel comfortable with them,” the CEO and mother of three said. “I started this now 12 years ago, and I think it’s honestly changed so much. Most employers these days do understand that you need to have flexibility and that in order to get good talent, there are things they need to offer.”

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