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Can I target an advertisement to a specific group of people to diversify the workplace?

By Irelis Arias on 10/6/2014

While it’s great to seek a diverse pool of applicants, you have to be careful that you’re not being discriminatory against any other groups by stating preferences. For example, if your employees are mostly men and you’re interested in bringing more women on board, your job advertisement can’t say, “Female applicants preferred.” That statement discriminates against male applicants.

What you can do is clearly state your equal opportunity employment policies and include a message like, “Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.” There are no biases or preferences in that statement. You can also advertise jobs in places where women are more likely to find the listing, such as women’s networking groups or professional organizations for women.

The above only applies if being a woman is not an integral part of the job. If you absolutely need a woman to fill a position – for example, jobs in same-sex prisons or hospitals – then you can include that in your job listing. ​

Hiring and Performance
About the Author

Irelis Arias
Irelis Arias is a Human Resources Director who specializes in employee relations, leadership and employee development, recruitment, training, compensation, and benefits. Irelis draws from 20 years of HR compliance and employment law experience, including 12 years working for a top national labor and employment law firm.
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