Improve Your Recruitment Strategy to Attract Diverse Talent

Posted by Ashley Jones
Diversity Recruiting

While many organizations include equal employment opportunity statements in their job postings and communications, there may still be factors that deter individuals from applying. How you present your company is a strong factor in the quality and diversity of applicants you attract—copying and pasting one line at the bottom of a job description doesn’t cut it.

Diversity brings depth to the workplace, and stimulates growth and innovation. You know diversity and inclusion are important, but do you know how to support diversity in your recruitment strategy?

The first step in recruiting more diverse employees is identifying the areas that are off-putting before the process begins. Consider these insights to identify and address the areas that hinder you from recruiting diverse talent.

Job Postings

In the recruiting world, employer brand has become a major asset in attracting top cleared talent. And one of the first ways a company communicates their brand to a candidate is through their job postings. The use of gendered language or listing unnecessary job requirements can undermine your attempt to attract diverse talent, and ultimately affect the way your company brand is perceived.

When it comes to writing job postings in the cleared community, many are pulled straight from the government contract award. While you can’t change the requirements of the job, you do have some flexibility in how you choose to advertise it. Let’s start by rethinking commonly used language and focusing on more gender-neutral wording to attract a more diverse group of candidates.


Unconscious bias may be evident in the language used in your job postings. In fact, male-oriented words are frequently found in job postings, especially in male-dominated industries. When masculine wording is used, potential applicants assume that the company skews male. This perception makes the posting less attractive to women, sometimes causing them to pass on applying for the position. Removing words that are gender biased can typically increase the number of applicants by over 40 percent.

These words tend to deter female candidates:

  • Aggressive
  • Confident
  • Competitive
  • Decisive
  • Determined
  • Dominant
  • Independent

These words tend to appeal to both male and female candidates:

  • Dedicated
  • Honest
  • Interpersonal
  • Loyal
  • Responsive
  • Sociable
  • Supportive

Examine the language used in your job posting and take steps to improve how it will be received, to attract candidates more effectively. For example, saying “we are committed to understanding the industry” is more effective than, “we are determined to stand apart from the competition.”

Or similarly, you might say you’re looking for “go-getters” rather than “assertive” candidates. Paying closer attention to wording in your job postings will create a level playing field and attract more qualified female candidates.


Hiring managers may lean towards using a comprehensive list of preferred qualifications, but it’s important to reduce the requirements in your job posting when possible. Is there any flexibility on the required skills listed for the position? Which skills are most crucial for the candidate to possess?

As you answer these questions, you’ll be poised not only to deliver a better job posting, but also to identify the right fit for the position and open things up to new and qualified candidates. So be sure to review your job postings and make any applicable changes, instead of reposting the same description that may have been used previously.

This is crucial because, while men will apply for positions where they meet slightly over 50% of the requirements, women tend to apply only for jobs where they meet 100% of the preferred experience. So focus on the “must haves” and eliminate the “nice-to-haves”. Consider softening your job requirements with terms like “familiar with” or “big plus” or even “combination of these skills” to appeal to candidates from different backgrounds.

Social Media

Another method you can use to attract diverse talent is through social media. How do you portray your brand on your personal social media profiles? When you share images of your organizations’ current workforce, are you choosing images that reflect diversity? Are minorities, women, or differently-abled employees featured? Make a conscious effort to highlight the diversity of your employees.

Because of social media’s wide reach, you have great opportunity to share information about your employer brand and your commitment to diversity and inclusion with a large audience. Beyond posting job openings, consider also sharing your organization’s statements about commitment to diversity, or demographic statistics.

Do you have testimonials or video interviews from minority employees that you can re-share or post on your social profiles? Just as a good marketer should share a variety of content, a recruiter thinking of diversity should share content that reflects a variety of people. At the end of the day, people hire people. And the people who consider applying for your positions want to see that they are included, welcome, and wanted.

Bonus tip: While the methods above can improve the diversity of the talent you attract, bias might interfere in the next steps. Consider sending resumes to hiring managers without sharing names or addresses. By deleting these two elements, you remove initial gender, cultural, and socioeconomic judgments that could potentially interfere in the assessment process.

We all have biases – many unintentional and unconscious. But if we’re not careful, bias can thwart diversity throughout the recruitment process. It takes added time to identify biases in job postings or to realize that our recruitment marketing content lacks equal representation, but if you put in the effort to make your communications as inclusive as possible, you will pull in a more diverse pool of top-tier talent.


  • Ashley Jones

    Ashley Jones is ClearedJobs.Net's blog Editor and a cleared job search expert, dedicated to helping security-cleared job seekers and employers navigate job search and recruitment challenges. With in-depth experience assisting cleared job seekers and transitioning military personnel at in-person and virtual Cleared Job Fairs and military base hiring events, Ashley has a deep understanding of the unique needs of the cleared community. She is also the Editor of ClearedJobs.Net's job search podcast, Security Cleared Jobs: Who's Hiring & How.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 7:01 pm

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