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Advice From A Recruiter

Want To Get Into Engineering?

What Recruiters Are Looking For

What kind of skills are employers looking for when hiring and what’s their advice specifically to women looking to get into traditionally male-dominated roles?

We talked to Molly Dods from one of New Zealand’s top tech firms, Seequent, about how she recruits and supports women into engineering roles and her advice to those thinking about joining the sector.


Tell me about your role

I’m a Talent Acquisition Specialist at Seequent which involves finding and attracting top talent, both in New Zealand and internationally. I work across the whole recruitment life cycle from identifying the skills required, advertising the role, screening, hiring, offering, and onboarding. We work hard to make it a smooth process to set our colleagues up for success from day one.

What’s the one role that is always in demand?

Software engineer – for sure!

But we recruit for loads of different engineer roles across all levels and skill types – such as cloud and development platform, lead engineers and managers, and product owners and managers. We also recruit many roles outside of engineering including, marketing executives, sales representatives, technical support, the list goes on!

What sort of skills do you look for when hiring talent?

As an employer we look at a wide range of skills. From technical expertise and previous work experience through to teamwork, collaboration, communication and cultural understanding. We’re always on the lookout for people with a growth mindset - our business is constantly changing as technology and customer needs change so we need people who can quickly learn and adapt to new technologies and changing circumstances.

PowerUp is all about supporting more women into engineering roles across Christchurch’s growth sectors, what’s your advice to those thinking about applying for a role or starting a qualification in the area?

We often see woman as an underrepresented group amongst our talent pools. However my advice is to just go for it! We actively look to hire a well-rounded and diverse workforce and rely on this diversity to succeed.

It’s important to collaborate with a wide network of people, ask the advice of experts like a careers advisor, find and read useful resources, and consider taking part in a work experience programme.

Most importantly embrace what makes you different, show up as yourself every time and be confident in the skills you have developed.

What strategies have Seequent implemented to create a more inclusive and diverse recruitment process?

We do a number of targeted activites to ensure we’re supportive and inclusive.

Having role models within the organisation is really important. Three of our six executives are female – so they set a really good example.

We aim to hire local talent where the local office is, and we ensure all our job ads include reference to flexible working and parental leave availability and are written in gender neutral language.

When we recruite we include different members of the team at different stages – so you’re not always being intereviewed by HR and people managers – it will be all different levels and team members, so that you get a really good sense of the team and the culture.

What opportunities are there for people to ‘give it a go’ before pursuing a role or qualification in tech?

There’s a lot of initiatives which we take part in to provide inspiration and experience in tech. There’s initiatives like ShadowTech where younger people can shadow a tech expert for a day, Student360 also provides an opportunity to give tech a go, Fibre Fale supports Pacifica people into the tech sector, Vaka Experience offering a one day student program and organisations like Canterbury Tech are a great place to network and get to know people in the sector – especially for those looking at a career change or studying as an adult.

Once you pursue a qualification in tech, internship programs are a great way to specialise and connect you with industry professionals. We offer various internship programs including Callaghan Innovation Summer Internship and the Ara Capstone Project where we host various students throughout the year.

Can you share success stories of women who have thrived in highly skilled roles in your organisation?

Rachel Carpenter joined us in 2021 and has progressed from being a ‘Lead’ to a Software Engineering Manager, working across various products, leading five teams and 25 Engineers.  She was attracted to the role because she was fascinated with ways to empower the team and make their jobs easier to do the things they excel at. 

Another colleague is Rachel Murtagh who has been at Seequent for eight years. Rachel started as an Application Specialist and worked closely on our flagship product Leapfrog. Previously she wondered where her studies in geology could take her and Seequent allowed her to combine her background in geology with software.  With Seequent’s high growth, there are always a lot of new opportunities and Rachel progressed from Product Owner, through to Lead, to her current role – Product Ownership Manager, leading a global team of product owners.