Recruiting more women in male-dominated fields doesn't have to be challenging. Here are four tips to garner more female applicants.

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I often hear employers bemoan the difficulty of hiring women candidates. It’s particularly challenging to recruit women in STEM fields, where only one in four employees is female in Washington state. But it doesn’t have to be.

There are four common mistakes I’ve seen hiring managers make that inadvertently turn women off from applying or accepting jobs. A few simple tweaks could help you reach your diversity goals.

Words matter. Women are less likely to respond to job listings with words like “aggressive,” “analytical,” “assertive” and “determined.” Seattle-based analytics company Textio has found that women don’t apply to jobs looking for “rock stars” or companies that list “Nerf wars” as a perk. Instead, ensure your job listings contain words like “dedicated,” “responsible” and “sociable” to garner a higher rate of female applicants.

(Courtesy of Textio)
(Courtesy of Textio)

State equal opportunities. Just 34 percent of job listings in America include even the most minimal equal opportunity statement. Not having one discourages not just underrepresented groups from applying, but also people in the majority are less likely to throw their hat in the ring without it. Including an equal opportunity statement doesn’t take long, but could make all the difference in the caliber of candidates who apply.

Women interviewers. I’ve walked into multiple job interviews where I had one man after another interviewing me. It was hard to imagine how I would fit into the culture, and I usually ended up turning down those jobs, at least in part because of that reason. Ensure current female employees are part of the candidate selection process and interview loops. And I don’t just mean in HR to manage the paperwork.

The Seattle Times Jobs columnist Ruchika Tulshyan. (Courtesy of Jama Abdirahman)
The Seattle Times Jobs columnist Ruchika Tulshyan. (Courtesy of Jama Abdirahman)

Are you hiring a robot? Examine what current employees say about your company culture. Does everyone highlight long working hours, lack of flexibility and having to be available 24/7?

More millennials of both genders — soon to be the largest demographic in the workforce — value work/life balance.

Ensure that your company narrative reflects how inclusive your company is to employees with children and lives outside of work. Of course, if it isn’t, that’s a longer conversation.

To harness the incredible rewards that a diverse workforce brings to your organization, these fixes could help you hire your next rock star. Just don’t call her that.

Ruchika Tulshyan is a journalist, speaker and author. Connect with her on Twitter at @rtulshyan or her website