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Avoiding Missteps in Push for Greater Diversity

Many companies have made diversity and inclusion a bigger focus of their recruitment efforts, but well-intentioned actions can backfire. So reports Fast Company.

A Glassdoor report from November finds that 35% of those charged with hiring have upped their investment to create workforces that reflect greater diversity this year.

But companies often require years of experience for certain roles or an academic degree when a diverse candidate without either of those could be a good fit, says Deborah Munster, executive director at Diversity Best Practices. Setting arbitrary experience limits could disproportionately hurt efforts around gender diversity, she says.

"You've probably heard that women will raise their hands when they feel that they're 90% qualified for a job, whereas men will raise their hands and submit for candidacy when they feel that they are a 50% to 60% job fit," Munster says. "So when you are asking for certain qualifications like that, if a woman is not seeing themselves fitting that mold by 90%, they may not even opt in."

Companies need to be certain their recruiters, whether outside or in-house, understand diversity is a priority and not just assume they get it, Munster adds. Even language used in job ads to woo candidates can have an unintended effect of attracting a narrow pool of candidates.

"Using phrases like 'rock star,' 'ninja,' 'work hard/play hard,' and 'hardcore' are all signs that your culture is a bit 'bro-y' or not welcoming to people with families or other responsibilities," says Lucia Smith, an HR consultant at Gray Scalable, a New York-based HR solutions firm.

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