Changing the Message Tripled Applicants to the Police Force

Recruitment and selection are processes rife with potential for bias, both from the side of the recruiter and from the side of the applicant.

The city of Chattanooga (Tennessee) worked with the Police Department and behavioral insight experts to attract more diverse applicants to the police force.

By sending postcards to households across the city, they were able
to test the effect of different messages on application rates. Changing the message to emphasize different career benefits tripled the number of diverse (women and people of color) applicants to the police force.

The results showed that postcards that focused on the challenge of the job and the career opportunities showed an increase in applications. The results were statistically valid at the 5% or less risk level (chance of not being statistically valid).

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