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5 Ways to Attract More Female Job Candidates

Diversity in the workplace is incredibly important to everyone here at Charteris. We think that diverse life experiences, backgrounds, and educations are the core of a vibrant, innovative, and effective team. Diversity begins much earlier than many managers expect, however; everything from your job title to your requirements list to your targeted advertising plays a role.



If you’re looking to attract more women to apply for your open roles, there here are a handful of steps you can take.


1.Promote Real-World Impact

When building up your company brand, you want to position yourself as attractive to the audience you want to attract. It sounds simple, but a lot of psychology goes into it. You want to portray your company’s real-world impact in a positive light. This is because studies indicate that females have a more pro social outlook than men in general. Highlight the tangible benefits you’re bringing to the world. For example, a company making self-driving vehicles can discuss lowered emissions, safer driving, and the lives saved via a reduction in accidents.


2. Limit Requirements in Job Listings

Your job listing should have two sections for skills and experience; one for requirements and one for the “nice to have” benefits that make a candidate stand out over others. Make sure to restrict the “required” section to only skills and experience that are truly required to perform in the role. The reason for this is the confidence gap, Men tend to apply for jobs when they can meet around 60% of the requirements for the role, where women tend to only apply when they know they meet 100% of the requirements. By putting requirements higher than necessary, you suppress the number of women who apply.

It’s worth mentioning that this doesn’t make men any better at the role than women. Katty Kay and Claire Shipman write:

“The natural result of low confidence is inaction. When women don’t act, when we hesitate because we aren’t sure, we hold ourselves back. But when we do act, even if it’s because we’re forced to, we perform just as well as men do.”


3. Use Gender-Neutral Writing

When writing a job description, a pitch, or any other marketing materials, be sure to use gender-neutral writing as much as possible. When that’s not possible, if you’re targeting women, use the appropriate language. For example, if you’re writing a sample of job duties, saying “the applicant will be responsible for X” is better than “he will be responsible for X”.


Avoid old-style gender “inclusive” writing like using s/he and (s)he throughout your text. Instead, try avoiding pronouns, using gender-neutral “they” pronouns, or even writing in the second person. Ask us for our guide it is an excellent resource for writing in a more gender-neutral way.


4. Include Diversity in Job Imagery

Most job listings have photos that portray what it’s like to work in that role. These images should include people of diverse origins and backgrounds, including an equal display of men and women. Avoid using images of women solely in female-oriented roles and men in male-dominated careers. Additionally, avoid portraying heavily gendered backgrounds and situations for your imagery. For example, promoting a casual office environment by talking about having a beer on top and having photos of people playing foosball in the break room. Women can certainly enjoy these things as much as men, but it’s a traditionally male-focused set of benefits and can make women applicants feel like they won’t be a good fit in the office.


5. Establish a Clear Interview Process

Interviews are another area where subconscious bias can make it into the process. To eliminate this bias, establish a clear set of questions for the interview, and develop a complete rubic for grading the answers to those questions. Make sure to ask every interviewee the same set of questions and judge them on the same set of criteria.

Periodically, it may be worthwhile to review and correlate grading with minority status to make sure your hiring managers aren’t unconsciously biasing the grades they give candidates. If you discover a bias, work to make the rubric more impartial, and offer training to minimize the bias in the future.