Gender diversity continues to dominate the recruitment headlines of 2020, and for good reason. Research has shown that there are multiple benefits of a gender-diverse workplace, including better productivity and performance, but there’s no one solution for increasing the number of women you employ.

If you’re serious about improving gender equality in your workplace, implementing changes at different stages of the hiring process can help to eliminate biases and encourage women to apply for your jobs. Here are five practical tips to shake up your recruitment process for the better.

Use gender-neutral language in job ads and job descriptions

Gender biases are more pervasive than you might think. While you may not be outwardly using the words ‘he’ or ‘she’, that doesn’t necessarily mean your job advert is gender-neutral. Studies show there are certain words that appeal to either men or women in subtle ways. For example, using words like ‘superstar’ or ‘guru’ may put off female candidates. Instead, stick to using the job title itself to keep the tone gender-neutral. If you’re looking to attract more women to a job, it may also be a good idea to replace words like ‘build’ with ‘create’, as it is more likely to resonate with females.

When it comes to structuring job ads, don’t write a long list of skills and requirements without making it clear which are actually required and which are desired. Research shows that women won’t apply for a role if they don’t meet every single requirement, whereas men tend to apply even if they meet 60% of the criteria. By listing ‘required’ and ‘desired’ characteristics separately, you’ll encourage more women to apply.

Utilise blind CV software

In the first stage of the hiring process, it’s important to completely eliminate biases. This can be done by removing all personal information on CVs like names, ages and gender, which means that you can analyse the application based on the candidate’s experience and skills alone. Software like Pinpoint, Talvista and Blendoor can do this for you.

Use standardised tests where applicable

Whether it is a skills-based test for an assistant role (like a touch-typing exercise) or an AI-based assessment that grades on behavioural or situational questions, standardised tests are important in truly displaying a candidate’s skill level. The results allow HR managers to assess potential candidates before meeting them in person and can be effective in curbing any gender biases in the early stages of the process.

Choose your interview questions carefully

While it’s impossible to completely control what a candidate reveals in an interview, interviewers need to steer clear of asking questions about someone’s family, children or other responsibilities outside of work. For example, if it’s revealed that a woman has young children, this could be a reason a manager doesn’t move forward with her application. Stick to questions about work experience, skills and fit with your workplace.

Use a gender-diverse group of interviewers

Within the interview process, it’s less likely a candidate will be discriminated against if they’re interviewed by a diverse range of people. For example, if a woman is interviewed by three men, it’s possible their unconscious bias may work against her to find she’s not a good fit for the team. However, if she’s interviewed by both women and men, these biases are less likely to occur. It may also encourage a female candidate to continue with further interviews, as she can see that the workplace fosters gender equality.

By Rebecca Siciliano, managing director of Tiger Recruitment