4 Easy Tips to Write an Inclusive Job Description

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You know a good job description is essential to attracting the right candidates for your job. But did you realize your job description could be inadvertently sending the wrong message to qualified candidates?

It turns out that many people make assumptions about jobs and employers based on job descriptions—and often, these assumptions are subconscious, meaning people don’t even realize they’re doing it.

The solution to this problem?

Inclusive job descriptions.

An inclusive job description is one that is free of any unintentional bias towards a specific group of people. It is specific about job requirements and responsibilities without asking for too much or using unnecessary clichés.

When done thoughtfully, an inclusive job description can attract the best talent by creating access and opportunity in the hiring process. In this blog post, we’ll walk through some key steps for crafting an open-minded and professional job description that encourages applicants from all backgrounds to apply.

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The Benefits of Inclusive Job Descriptions

Taking the extra time to write an inclusive job description can improve the recruiting process for everyone involved.

Regular job descriptions often include unconscious bias which can unintentionally turn away qualified candidates. When you craft an inclusive job description, you expand your talent pool by attracting applicants who might otherwise hesitate to apply.

With an inclusive job description, you signal to potential applicants that your organization is open-minded and welcoming. In addition to creating a positive impression on qualified candidates, starting with diverse job listings can also set the stage for more equitable hiring practices throughout your business.

4 Tips to Write More Inclusive Job Descriptions

You understand the importance of writing an inclusive job description, but how do you get started? After all, it’s hard to recognize unconscious bias.

Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with easy tips to write better job descriptions.

1) Use Neutral Language

This kind of language welcomes all candidates to apply because it’s precise and unbiased. Here are some best practices for using neutral language.

Some traditional phrases in job descriptions can dissuade otherwise talented candidates. For example, multiple studies indicate that when job descriptions use language that’s coded as masculine, women are less likely to apply. Here are some words that some people interpret as masculine:

  • Aggressive
  • Ambitious
  • Assertive
  • Boast
  • Challenge
  • Competitive
  • Confident
  • Decisive
  • Independent
  • Objective
  • Self-reliant

Research is mixed on whether language that’s coded as feminine dissuades men from applying. Here are some words that some people interpret as feminine:

  • Compassionate
  • Connected
  • Cooperative
  • Dependable
  • Interpersonal
  • Loyal
  • Support
  • Understand

To avoid this issue, write job descriptions that focus on skills and job responsibilities, not personality traits. You can also check your job description with this free Gender Decoder tool.

Another way to use neutral language is to be specific instead of relying on clichés or jargon. Instead of asking for a “digital native,” list the required technical skills. Instead of hiring for a “tech wizard,” use a practical title like front-end developer. Plus, specific language is more search-engine friendly!

Finally, once you’ve done your best to write an inclusive job description, ask someone else to read through it to check for unconscious bias.

RELATED: Unconscious Bias in Recruiting and Hiring

2) Focus on Necessary Skills, Not Preferred Skills

There’s not actually any strong evidence that women only apply to jobs if they meet 100 percent of the qualifications while men apply to jobs if they meet 60 percent of the requirements. However, it is possible that a job listing with too many requirements could turn off qualified candidates.

For this reason, it’s important to focus on the necessities rather than the “nice to haves.” In doing so, you can create a more inclusive and diverse hiring process. Use language that emphasizes the skills and qualifications that are truly required to excel in the role, rather than those that are simply preferred.

Also, rethink which qualifications are necessary for the job. For example, does the role truly require an advanced degree, or would experience and a willingness to learn suffice?

3) Include a Statement on DEIB

You can further demonstrate an inclusive workplace by including a statement in your job ad about your organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB). Even if your organization doesn’t have a formal diversity policy yet, you can still make it clear that diverse applicants are welcome and encouraged to apply.

Your company might be legally required to include an Equal Employer Opportunity (EEO) statement in all job listings. This is something to check with a lawyer.

4) Highlight Company Perks and Benefits

An inclusive job description emphasizes any employee perks or benefits which may attract underrepresented groups. For example, working parents will be interested in paid parental leave or childcare assistance. Remote work options and flexible schedules appeal to many groups of workers, including people with disabilities and people with family obligations.

It’s also a good idea to include a salary range. This suggests a commitment to equitable pay practices.

Create an Inclusive Talent Journey

Inclusive job descriptions are just one part of the entire talent journey. Are you looking for practical ways to incorporate inclusion in all aspects of recruiting and hiring? If so, join Insight Global’s upcoming webinar, 3 Strategies For Building An Inclusive Talent Journey.

We’re leaders in the staffing industry, with inclusive practices in every part of the hiring process. Hear from Korryn Williamson, Director of DEIB, and Bethany Cabreja, DEIB Training Specialist, as they dive into DEIB solutions for recruiting and hiring.

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