What To Know About Recruiters
In this episode, herdacious host Lorelei chats with Liz Bronson about the job recruiting process, more specifically, those all-too-mystifying recruiters. As job applicants, we’ve all experienced the dank, dark hole that is the recruiting process … but what’s on the other end of that interaction? Enter Liz, whose insight as a recruiter reveals the methods to the madness. Though the world of recruiting might not be as dank and dark as we perceive, that doesn’t mean we should go forth unprepared. From applicant tracking system, to knowing which type of recruiters we’re interacting with, Liz gives us guidance to help optimize our success throughout the process. After all, it’s not just a matter of getting the job - it’s finding the right fit for us!
Host: Lorelei Gonzalez
Co-host: Liz Bronson
Liz Bronson is the owner of Liz Bronson Consulting- an HR and recruiting company helping mostly tech start-up teams build their people practices, programs, and values to help them hire and retain their people. Liz is passionate about designing authentic, candidate-centric recruiting processes that match a company's culture, and does individual career and general management coaching and training. Before being independent, Liz worked for 9 years at VMware building their Product Management and Marketing teams and was also a part of the HR team at Barclays Global Investors.
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Lorelei: Welcome to HERdacious, a podcast for audacious women. Welcome, welcome to HERdacious, the podcast for audacious women looking to make some bold career moves and HERdacious is here to support you. My name is Lorelei, your happy host, and today we're gonna be talking about what to know about those recruiters. To help us in this conversation, we have the owner and lead consultant of Liz Bronson consulting, an HR and recruiting consultancy that helps early stage startups hire and build sustainable processes, a career coach and host of the Real Job Talk podcast, Liz Bronson.
Liz: Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here.
Lorelei: I am excited to have you here because talking about recruiters is a really interesting little wicket, and I'm really glad to have an expert.
Liz: Awesome, we're gonna pull back the curtain and teach people what they need to know about who's on the other end of the phone.
Lorelei: Yay! Okay, give us the quick run down on why recruiters exist, and how they could be supportive of us in that very epic job search that so many of us are undergoing right now during these very challenging times.
Liz: Absolutely. So recruiters, why do they exist? They exist to help companies hire, if you will, the project manager. And a lot of times the doer behind filling the role. So the job is to work with the hiring manager to figure out what they're looking for in the person they hire and then to find and screen and produce this magical being to the hiring manager for them to be able to hire them, so that is the purpose of a recruiter. So how can recruiters support you? They're your best friend, like you want to be good with the recruiters so that they can help fight for you or talk to the hiring manager about you, and we're gonna talk about different kinds of recruiters and how much influence that each of them can have because some have more than others. But you want them to want you to get the job, you want them to be on team Lorelei. You gotta hire Lorelei. She's so awesome. So that is how they can really help you, because if you're kind of jerky to them, it doesn't go so well. I've had candidates not be very nice to me or not be very nice to people who work for me, and you think I put that person forward or fight for them to get the job? No, in fact, I fight against them. So you want your recruiter to understand why you're a really good fit.
Lorelei: Why did team Liz start going down the recruiting pathway in the first place?
Liz: It's a fun question. So back in my younger days, I was an HR person and I lived through the dot com bust, and I lived in San Francisco at the time. And so I wrote a lot of severance agreements and I hated that feeling of seeing someone in the kitchen and being like, "Don't put a lot out this weekend, 'cause Monday's gonna suck for you." So once things stabilized a little bit, I asked to go to the happy side. I wanted to get people jobs, not take them away, and so I went on to the recruiting team at that company, that no longer exists, but I went on the recruiting team and then kind of move forward to that direction. And recruiting was so great for me because it could be part-time. It didn't have to be in the office. And so as I became a mom, recruiting was just an awesome fit, so I stayed.
Lorelei: Nice. Well, we're so glad that you did, and I love that you set me up for a gender-specific questions. Right, 'cause moms, we gotta stay flexible, and just because of the many facets of womanhood, a lot of challenges exist in the workplace. Are there any gender-specific challenges that exist in the world of recruiting or when working with recruiters?
Liz: So recruiting is a very woman-friendly career, I would say. It's got the caregiver aspect that we like, it also has that tough business aspect. I think I've done well in my career because from the business perspective, I help the managers figure out what they need to hire and why they need to build different skills on their team and things like that. So recruiting lends itself to women well. There are definitely men recruiters, there are men who do a great job in recruiting, but like I said, for me, I was able to be part-time and work from home and have flexibility. I can block my calendar to work in the evening or whatever, 'cause actually candidates don't love to talk during the work day, 'cause they're at work. So just the flexibility of it worked for me versus if I'd stayed on my HR path, I would have had to be in the office eight to five. I was able to get the sweet set up and it really worked for me. In terms of recruiters and women and hiring, that's like a can of worms... We all have heard of statistics like women are 22% less likely to be in management or in the Fortune 500. Leadership is 80% male and 94% of the CEOS are male. Half of the women in STEM report some kind of gender discrimination in tech, which is where I tend to get my clients. According to a very recent Harvard Business Review article, which I'll share with you, 10% of executive roles were held by women in 2020. So going into the recruiting process, women see these kinds of disparities and there can be issues and things that people encounter through the recruiting process. Hopefully not if they're working with my clients, but they see bias. They see bias around parental roles, bias around assertiveness, and leadership roles, and the way women are perceived when applying for different jobs. So those are the kinds of obstacles that many women report seeing when they are in the recruiting process.
Lorelei: Copy that. What are the types of recruiters that exist out in the world?
Liz: This is like a nugget that everybody should know and nobody does.
Lorelei: How many big categories are there?
Liz: Four. So the first type is the internal recruiter. This is the recruiter that is employed by the employer that you wanna be employed by. So they work for the company, they represent the company, they hold the number of openings, they usually work with the same hiring managers. They know what's up, they know the culture 'cause they live it, they know the benefits 'cause they're on them, so they really should be able to answer your questions really well, and authentically represent the company because they really want good company fits. 'Cause they're gonna see you in the hallway. A second one is retained search. Now, a retained search is an outside company. They usually have a real sleek website, they're mostly for more executive positions, and they're called retain search because they're retained to do the search. So they get paid a percentage of your total comp or base salary on what their model is. So, "Hey, Lorelei. We're gonna give you 10% of your fee up front so you can start the search. We're gonna give you 25% after 60 days and the rest when the person gets hired." So they are the only outside recruiter working on the search, and they usually know the industry really well, they're well connected. There's a level of professionals in there, but at the end of the day, they wanna get someone hired because that's at least 50% of their pay. The third kind did is called contingent search, and these are the folks that are paid a percentage of your base salary, only when they fill the job.
Lorelei: I'm getting a weird vibe here.
Liz: Oh, are you?
Lorelei: Yeah, just like the facial cues going on right now, "Oh watch out. Contingent search... "
Liz: So I will tell you, I have done exclusive contingent search and I've done a great job. I will say there are some amazing contingent search people out there. I don't believe in contingent search and I don't do it anymore because there is a huge ethical dilemma in being in this kind of search 'cause it's commission only, and it's not exclusive. So if I'm an internal recruiter who's bogged down and my manager gives me five or six contingent search firms, and the first one to get somebody into the system, gets hired, they win the horse race. Anyone else working on it? Nada. If the internal person find someone or there's an employee referral, nada. So you only get paid if your person gets hired, so the attention to quality goes down generally. There's some great ones out there, but it's rare because it's not set up for high quality, it's set up for speed. And so the fourth kind, I'll say it really quickly, and I can consider my firm, something like this, are these consultancies called recruiting process organizations. They are outside consultants that work on behalf of the company. So for example, the recruiters on my team all have internal email addresses, we look like internal recruiters, we're paid by the hour, that's the difference. RPO types or outside recruiters working inside, they're paid by the hour. So if I screen someone and they're a jerk, my mortgage doesn't rely on them. I can kick them out because I'm paid by the hour to talk to them anyway. The quality goes up because you can really care, whereas the contingent search, if you deeply care and are doing long interviews and stuff, time is money. And so it's just a different model. You can ask a recruiter, what kind of recruiter they are.
Lorelei: I'm so glad you told us that.
Liz: And I love it when people ask me like, "So, who do you work for?" And I'll be like, "Thanks for asking." And I'll tell them my model and I'll say, "I work for the hour, so whether you take it or not, I still get paid." And I say something like that on purpose to build trust. But if someone says, I'm contingent. Then can you really trust them to be looking at what's in your best interest when they work for these companies? "It's great. The manager is awesome. I love it. I would take a job here in a minute." Can you fully trust that or does their mortgage rely on you taking that job?
Lorelei: Rough stuff.
Liz: I know, right?
Lorelei: How far can you trust your recruiter? 'Cause you gave me four types and you kinda asterisked the contingent one.
Liz: Recruiters are supposed to hire this many people a month, and they have all these metrics to fill in things. Honestly, Lorelei, you're in charge of your career. And so this recruiter doesn't know you more than the 45-minute phone interview that they did with you, they may have the best intentions on earth, but they don't know you. They know interview you, not you, you. And they are paying to fill these jobs. So while some, yours truly, will tell you give honest answers. As much as they know, and of course, different models know more or less, at the end of the day, their job is to fill positions. And so I wouldn't put all my faith in the world. If you're spidey sense is like, "I don't wanna work here," I wouldn't listen to the recruiter.
Lorelei: What I hear is the personal responsibility element is really what you're kicking in here.
Liz: Here's the deal. Your life changes if you take a new job, their's doesn't. They get to check the box on their sheet of open rec list. That's great. It's a great feeling when you get someone a job, especially if they're excited. It's a great feeling, don't get me wrong, but my life doesn't change when you take the job, yours does. Your commute might change, your pay may change, your hours may change. It's your life, your career, and you've get to drive it, and so you've gotta talk to whomever you need. On real job talk, we talk about having a board of advisors, people who care about you and are looking out for your best interest. Talk to outside people, try to find other people at the company that you're interviewing at and see what their experience is. 10 extra points if you can find someone who's left there because they'll give you the real dirt. Why did you leave? What was it like? Now, you have to also be aware that they may be angry party of one and all that, but that's really good data, right? So you've gotta do your outside research. If your only research is the recruiter and the fancy career website, you're missing out and you're not being thorough enough.
Lorelei: Excellent, well, since I'm driving this podcast, I'm gonna take a quick detour for a sponsor break.
Sponsor: Hi, Barbie here from Moonray, husband and wife indie-pop duo. If you enjoy the intro-music, we invite you to listen to our debut EP Honeymoon. Streaming now on all platforms. Visit www.moonray-music.com for more.
Lorelei: And we're back talking with Liz Bronson about recruiters. Alright, Liz. How are recruiters measured? 'Cause obviously you mentioned check the box, they got the job, move on.
Liz: I'll give you the Liz Bronson school of how I think recruiters should be rated. I think you should be rated by how happy your hiring manager is. If your hiring managers don't wanna work with you, that's a major data point. If they're happy with you, that's another major data point. Whether you've filled a job or not, like what if someone can't start till the next quarter, did you then miss your quarterly goals? Recruiting is somewhat sales, except the thing you're selling is a two-way marketplace and everyone has choice. So if the person interviews and then turns down the job because they got another offer for 40,000 more, is that the recruiters fault? It's not. So it's a really hard thing to say. How can you measure them? And the only thing that I believe is consistent is your customer, which is your hiring team, how happy are they? Now, there are companies that will say, you have to reach out to this many candidates or you have to make this many cold calls, there's a lot of different metrics that people can be measured on, and there are these systems called the applicant tracking system. I say it, because pretty much any time you apply online, your info is going into one of these applicant tracking systems.
Lorelei: The top of the funnel.
Liz: A a myth about that, but yes, you're a marketing person, top of the funnel. If you look at the sales, pipelining recruiting is the same thing. You reach out to a ton of people, you get a response rate from a percentage, you want your percentages to be good, that's a way to measure recruiting. What's their percentage of interaction? But also some recruiters at some companies, they get a lot of applicants, so they don't need to be doing a lot of reach out. So it's really individualized with your role, how you should be measured.
Lorelei: So recruiters don't act inside of a bubble, they're not on an island? Well, alright, maybe some are. Who else do they work with?
Liz: So that's another big piece. Different companies are set up differently. So for example, my company. I've got my star stellar sourcing team led by my right-hand named David. They reach out, they look for profiles, they have all these secret ninja moves and strings and different technologies that we use to find people that are a fit for our job. Then they engage with them by sending those wonderful demand gen emails. The ones that you get on either LinkedIn or in your email that says, "Hey, we think you'd be great for this job because of this, this and this." So David's team is doing all of that and engaging with you, and when he gets someone on the hook he passes them off to one of my lead recruiters. So if he passes it off to Pam, then Pam will lead the person through the recruiting process. She screens the candidate, gauges their interest, tells them about the role, and then introduces them to the hiring manager. And then works with them through the interview process, answering their questions, checking their pulse, things like that. Kind of steward gatekeeper combo. So once you say I'm interested, David never talks to you again after he introduces you to Pam. He's out of it. So there are the sourcing teams and their whole job is to engage with candidates. But some companies, a lot of companies, I should say, they have recruiters who are what's called full life cycle. Meaning they're sourcing, and they're doing both the David and the Pam at the same time. And they're also looking at applicants and engaging with applicants, and managing the applicant tracking system and making offers. The whole kit and caboodle. There's also whole teams dedicated to employment branding, and all the information you see out there. Like our company is so awesome because we have pinball machines, they are branding people that are making those videos and writing those stories and doing those things in order to get you excited about the company. So there are a lot of people on the recruiting team. Oh, the most important person I almost left out. There are recruiting coordinators.
Liz: Oh yeah, these people do all the interview scheduling, and their job is to really make sure that the candidates are having a good experience.
Lorelei: How do you determine what it's really like to work at a company or in an organization when your primary point of contact is a recruiter?
Liz: Sure. You ask the recruiter, obviously. And you ask a hiring manager, and you ask the people that you interview with. I said it once, I'll say it again: Your job is to see if this is the right job for you, their job is to see if you're the right person for them. Again, your life changes, them not so much. So before going into an interview situation, you're looking at Glassdoor, you're looking things up online. You're Googling that company. What's it like to work at X? See what comes up. Write a list of questions that are important to you. Maybe you're a mom and you have kids to pick up. You've gotta get to your pick up by 5:30 or you're getting charged 5 every 30 seconds or whatever. Will I be able to leave at five every day to pick up my kids? That's a must-have for you. That's not negotiable. Hear what people say and try to ask that question of your manager. If there's another mom on the team, try to ask her because she'll probably understand. And how do you know if someone's a mom? Well, you maybe look people up and Google them before you meet with them. But if you're in someone's office, they may have pictures on their desk or something, or you can just ask "How mom-friendly is this place?" And if someone says, "Oh, I don't have kids, I don't know," be like, "Okay, just asking everybody." So you wanna have a list of questions of things that are really important to you and that align with your list of things that you're looking for a job. And then ask them throughout the interview process of different people. I go back to my ask people that used to work there and see who of your connections either work there or know someone who worked there and ask for introductions. So do your due diligence before you sign an offer.
Lorelei: Personal responsibility.
Liz: You know it.
Lorelei: Alright, you mentioned coming up with your questions, you've been doing this for awhile, what are some of the best questions that you think will really help refine people's knowledge of a given company?
Liz: So what I love, 'cause everyone's got their values. So Lorelei values integrity, how does that play out in the workplace here? How do you see integrity in your processes or in what you guys do? Oh, you saying one of your core values is giving back, so tell me how the company gives back. And if it's like, "Oh, well, people like to volunteer." That's a BS answer. So you ask questions like that. Like, how is this. And I think it's okay to ask, let's say you see on Glassdoor that a company is kind of cut throat, you say, "You know, I read in a couple of glassdoor comments that this can be a cut throat culture. Have you found that here? Why or why not? What do you see?" Or "Are there ways the company has changed since you got here? How have you seen it change?" So you can ask questions, you don't wanna be like the hard-hitting journalist kind of person, but it's a curiosity. Tell me about this, tell me about that. How do you see this working? Or what of your busy seasons or I see you have an open vacation policy. And what that means is you can take vacation when you want it. How much vaction did you take last year, Lorelei, are you encouraged to take vacation here?
Lorelei: Oh, those are great. Thanks. Tell us about your paternal leave policies.
Liz: Yeah. Follow-up on the paternal policy. Do they take it? Do people generally take it.
Lorelei: Do you retain employees who utilize the full extent.
Liz: Then what happens when they get back? But I would say, do people take it? And you probably get an, I don't know answer.
Lorelei: I was gonna ask you that. What if you get like, "Oh well, we would need to ask HR," or, "That's not a me question."
Liz: Which is fair, and I think it's fair when people don't know the answer to a question now, but they're not bullshitting you if nobody knows the answer to the question. That's an interesting data point. If it's something like, what percentage of people take the paternal leave, the manager may not know that. Right, I manage five people and four of them are women, like I don't know, and no one's had a baby, I have no idea. Go back to your recruiter. At some point there's going to be an internal HR type contact, even if you're working with an outside recruiter, that person can get you that data, so you have to know where to go for what kind of data. But if it's a policy HR kind of question, your internal contact should be able to get you that information, and if they can't, it's a data point.
Lorelei: Excellent. Alright, so we have greater awareness of the types of recruiters that exist. We know a little bit more about the things we're supposed to be responsible for and the things that they're responsible for, we are feeling a little more confident about how they get paid and how they get us through the process. And who is involved in the process. I still want the job.
Lorelei: What's appropriate follow-up when working with a recruiter?
Liz I love this question, recruiters have such a bad rap out there, and I'll get back to that, I promise. But part of it is there's no barrier to entry, so tomorrow you could wake up and be like, I think I'm a recruiter today. And you are. So there's no barrier to entry. And because there are a lot of very well-paid recruiters, there are used car salesmen out there, right. So if I'm an inside or an internal recruiter, I might have 12, 15, 20 jobs at my desk that I need to fill, that's a ton. I don't recommend any more than 10, but that's a whole different discussion of how to build your recruiting team. Let's say this recruiter has 10 recs on their plate. Let's say they have five candidates per rec, that's 50 candidates, and that's not a lot. 'Cause probably the phone screened at least 10, 20 people to whittle it down to the five. So recruiters have hundreds of people that are flowing through their process at any given time, and so people fall through the cracks. And generally where they fall through the cracks is the hiring manager. I really like Lorelei, take a look and let me know what you think. And then the hiring manager who's at a conference or it goes quiet and I'm like, "Hey, tell me what you think." Right, which is fine. I'm a professional, but candidates are like, I never hear back from the recruiter, that means the worst, I'm like, "That recruiter probably has 60-70 people that they are in active talks with at any given time." Like things fall through the cracks. So it's so important to follow up.
Lorelei: How quickly?
Liz: I love a good thank you note. Hey, Lorelei, thanks for talking to me today. I'm super excited about the position and can't wait to hear from you. Love, Liz. Send.
Liz: Send after our phone screen. And if the recruiter is good, usually I'll say, you'll hear back from me by next Tuesday. I wanna follow up, but I screw up sometimes. So you're holding me accountable. But sometimes a week goes by, "Hey, I haven't heard about the role, any updates?" Give them that little reminder, a week later, they may have forgotten you or they may be waiting on the hiring manager and they may just write back, "Oh my goodness, thank you for checking in. I'm still waiting on the hiring manager, please be patient. Thank you so much."
Lorelei: And it can just be that quick little two liner. Like you don't gotta be writing like how's the weather and the kids, and the blah, blah, blah.
Liz: No, you can do that at any point. Write, "Hey, I spoke to the manager last week, I thought it went well. Did you hear anything?" Now, 'cause you may have the phone screen with the manager and the manager then forgets to tell me, the recruiter, and maybe I forgot to follow up 'cause, Oh my God, I forgot that Lorelei is talking to the manager on Thursday, and I didn't follow up with the manager to get that feedback or whatever. And they didn't put it into the system, that little tickler of like, "Hey, I talked to the manager, have you heard anything?" That's gonna get me calling my manager like, "Hey, how was your conversation with Lorelei?" Like, "Oh, it was awesome, I wanna bring her in." "Great, let's do it." It's reminding them to do their job. And not because they stink, because they've got a bunch of other people they're doing the same thing for, so giving them grace is very important.
Lorelei: Give grace, follow-up appropriately.
Liz: Say you follow up twice and they don't write back, well, that's a data point for you and working with them again, but I would say two follow-ups is okay.
Lorelei: Within how long of an amount of time? Like once a week?
Liz: Once a week.
Lorelei: Once a week.
Liz: Unless they told you differently. Like I read out to you on Friday and they say, Oh my gosh, I will let you know by Tuesday and close the business Tuesday. I'd follow up. Because you said you follow up with me on Tuesday, so it's Tuesday.
Lorelei: And let's say the best form of communication, if you're primarily using email? Just because you see their phone number, it doesn't mean you should call them?
Liz: It depends how they're communicating with you. If they've communicated updates with you use that mechanism back.
Lorelei: You kind of touched on this a little bit, but I feel like it's important to ask about expectations. What can we expect that this recruiter, given the four types of recruiters exist, what can we expect for them to know about the process and how it's proceeding. How we're moving through the pipeline.
Liz: So a retain recruiter is going to know because they're the only one working on it and they are heavily engaged, but again, those are more senior positions generally. But they should know what's going on and they have direct access and internal. Internal same thing. All the things. I would say things can get lost in the recruiter or hiring manager communication lines, but the retained, and I would say the RPO model too, especially if it's someone like me who's basically an internal recruiter, they know what's going on as much as anybody. The contingent, they probably don't.
Lorelei: So asking what type of recruiter you're working with is incredibly important to inform you on really so many facets of the process.
Liz: Which doesn't mean that you can't get an awesome job from a contingent recruiter. They get it, and then they send you a job that you really want. Great, you can get in the door, don't expect them to know all the nitty-gritty details, don't trust that it's awesome because they say it is, but that's what get paid to do, is their job. So they may not know what the hiring manager's thinking, but there's nothing wrong with being introduced by a contingent recruiter, you just have to know that they are not incentivized to look out for either you or the company's best interest, they're in and out pretty fast.
Lorelei: Lastly, any last tips for us?
Liz: I'm gonna give one more tip because I mentioned the applicant tracking system. The applicant tracking system is generally just a dank dark place where resumes die. Recruiters do look at applicants. There's a lot of myths out there about, "Oh, it just is read by the bots and you'll never be seen." Never in my experience is that the case. I've always looked at every single applicant, but I will tell you, I look at them in one to three seconds each, because of the amount that come in. Especially if you've got it all open on Indeed or LinkedIn. I mean people apply with the same reckless abandon. I had a customer success engineer, like super specific engineering skills, right. And I had a butcher apply, I'm like, "I'm sorry, you have no technical training, you must be an awesome butcher, but you're not getting this job." Anyway, or, I also had a hotel front desk person because all they saw was the word customer. No, honey. So you do need to read the job description. But applying is not your best way in. But recruiters do look at every resume, and so often they get overwhelmed because they've got 500, 1,000 per role, and they just can't get to it all because of how many things are on their plate. So the applicant tracking system isn't usually your best friend. The best way to get into a company is generally through an employee referral.
Lorelei: Lastly, give us some resources. For those of us who are in the job hunting process, maybe we wanna go be a recruiter ourselves, maybe we're working with recruiters right now, of all the things, all the things.
Liz: Well, I have a lot of resources on both the real job talk website, we have resources for job seekers and different books and things like that. We also have a lot of episodes that are dedicated to the recruiting process, so of course, if you wanna hear more of this go there. There are great resources on The Muse and Built In Austin for people here at Austin. They're built in for other cities as well. There's fairygodboss, which I love, that has all kinds of advice for women in the workplace, and they have a lot of resources for job seekers in particular. But if you're stuck in your career or you're stuck, don't know how to approach a job search, hiring a career coach, to get you over that hump and get you unstuck. It's usually not many sessions, a couple max, but it helps you think about things and has an outside person kind of looking in, so all your emotion and all the different things that come into thinking about a job search, get taken out and the person is really able to help you get to the core of the issue and get you past it. So if you're feeling really stuck, I recommend hiring a coach to get you unstuck or push you out of the mud and on your way, 'cause you've got it in you just sometimes it's helpful to have some outside guidance.
Lorelei: I really appreciate that Liz. Thank you for the advice. All the information, and of course, the resources. They have been amazing.
Liz: Thank you for having me. So fun.
Lorelei: It has been fun, and just like that, it's the month of May. We are in full Spring, pun intended, and as the seasons change, so do our months of awareness.
So let's put our learning caps on and talk about mental health in May. Trigger warning on this femme fact, folks. We're gonna be talking about mental health-related content and stats, if it is uncomfortable for you, I suggest you tap out now.
May is in fact Mental Health Awareness Month, and all of us connected to HERdacious want to see you living your best lives, doing all the do's accomplishing all of those career aspirations you've set for yourself. And sometimes we could use a friendly reminder that all those things are more rewarding when in the company of balanced mental health. So today, we're gonna share some factoids, not only about mental health, but about how mental health specifically affects women. Maybe you'll learn something new, maybe locate a new resource, hopefully contribute to national efforts to de-stigmatize conversations around mental health in our society. So let's begin with an overview of general mental health trends and gender differences. Although mental health affects both men and women alike, mental health disorders affect each gender differently. For instance, some disorders such as depression and anxiety are more prevalent within women than their male counterparts. Additionally, there are several disorders that affect women exclusively, such as perinatal depression, premenstrual dysphoria disorder and perimenopausal-related depression, all of which are affected by the biological hormone changes women experience. Within the scope of disorders that affect both men and women equally, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, the presentation of symptoms translates differently between the two genders experiencing the same disorder. Regarding bipolar disorder, research has shown that women experience more rapid cycling and mixed episodes. Additionally, research points to initial depressive episodes in men tending to occur five years earlier than those of women.
According to the APA or the American Psychiatric Association, one in five women in the United States has a mental health disorder or issue, including but not limited to, depression, PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder, or an eating disorder. Approximately one in nine adult women have had at least one major depressive episode each year. Contrary to common belief, and what is often portrayed in the media as a male-dominated disorder, women are twice as likely to experience PTSD than our male counterparts. It's worth addressing that this misconception could be attributed to the presentation of PTSD symptoms, given that women's external PTSD symptoms tend to err on the subtle side in that they appear depressed and have trouble feeling emotions. And then on the contrary, men are more likely to express anger and have co-occurring substance use. Approximately 85% to 95% of people with anorexia nervosa or bulimia and 65% of people with binge eating disorders are women. And lastly, women are less likely than men to disclose challenges with alcohol use disorder to their healthcare providers or to seek treatment due to, of course, the stigma. And also the false stereotype that substance use disorders are viewed primarily as men's issues. To that tune, here are a few facts regarding gender differences in seeking mental health services: Women are more likely to be prescribed psychotropic medications than men, even if they have non-psychotic mental health disorders. And women are more likely to seek help for mental health issues from their primary care physicians, while our male counterparts are more likely to seek help from a mental health specialist. A few barriers to access for women include economic barriers, such as lack of insurance, lack of awareness about mental health issues, treatment options and available services, lack of time, lack of support. Specifically women are not often given time to take off for a mental health day. We have child care responsibilities and childcare barriers and the list goes on. And of course, and always the ever-present stigma associated with mental health disorders. Admittedly, these facts and stats are rough, but the first step to addressing these problems is knowing that these issues exist in the first place. Oftentimes the hardest part to seeking help is taking that first step, asking someone for support. One such support service is NAMI, the National Alliance of Mental Illness, and they offer a helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI. 1-800-950-6264.
If you find yourself struggling with the mental health disorder or you suspect that you might be experiencing a challenge, we want to encourage you to take those first few steps in order for you to live your best life. Advocating for your own mental health is just as important as advocating for your professional well-being. So on behalf of HERdacious and everyone, at HERdacity, we ask that you offer yourself compassionate care, not only in the month of May, but always. We wish the best for all of you, and if that warrants taking time for yourself through self care, through speaking to a professional, or taking a career pause or whatever you need to do for your own wellness. Know that that is the right choice. And we thank you for it. Liz, I thank you for your time and your expertise today. It has been a gift to us.
Liz: Thank you for having me.
Lorelei: If you all enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and share with someone who might benefit from getting some bold and audacious career advice. We got that in spades here. My name is Lorelei, I was happy to host you today, and I hope that you join us again next time. Until next time, be brave. Ask questions.