How to Write Inclusive Job Posts

Did you know that a diverse workforce leads to greater business results? In 2019, diversity and inclusion are driving change in the business world. When it comes to hiring, research has shown that 67% of job seekers say a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. And today’s executives say that inclusion in the workplace is a top priority. As a hiring manager, it’s your job to attract a wide range of talent. Diversifying your candidate pool and attracting talent from many different backgrounds starts with refining your job descriptions.

Consider the language and tone of your job posts.

When candidates are on the hunt for a new role, a job listing may be the first place they learn about your organization. Often times, the tone of voice you take while writing your job descriptions can convey a lot about your company to prospective candidates. As a hiring manager, make sure you’re paying attention to not only what the job listing says, but also how it’s being said. Be friendly, welcoming, and inviting. Avoid language that sounds too demanding, strong, or abrasive. For example, is the position remote? Instead of saying “the base of operations will be the home office” consider revising to “we are flexible, so you can work from wherever you’re comfortable.” Does the position involve a lot of communication across departments? Instead of saying “you are expected to communicate daily with departments regarding pertinent issues,” consider reframing the statement to say, “this role works shoulder to shoulder with our awesome department leads.”

Stick to gender-neutral terminology.

Being purposeful about your word choice, beyond the tone of the job description, is key to speaking to a wide audience of job seekers. Studies have shown that women are less likely to apply for a role if the job description is populated with overly masculine lingo. Before jazzing up your job post with buzzy words like “ninja”, “wizard”, or “rock star”, do your research on what terminology resonates with both men and women. (Did you know that statistically, men gravitate toward words like “competitive”, while women prefer language like “supportive” or “collaborative”?) Consider trying out a platform like Textio to review the language in your job descriptions and lock down meaningful, non-gender specific terminology before you hit publish.

Limit specific industry jargon.

Iaas, SNS, ARN, ROI… whatever the jargon or acronym is, try to avoid using too much “insider terminology”. While this ask can be a tough one for hiring teams on the hunt for very niche skillsets, it’s important to review your job listing and revise the language so that it’s understandable and digestible by a wide audience. Though some industry keywords may be unavoidable if you want to attract talent with certain skills or backgrounds, try asking someone outside of your industry to review the job description and provide feedback based on their perspective. Did they understand most of the job post? Was their takeaway positive or negative? Don’t be afraid to reach out to a recruiter for an extra set of eyes—recruiters work with job seekers daily, so they can be an invaluable resource to learn more about what content and keywords should and shouldn’t be included.

Take a closer look at the job requirements.

The Hewlett Packard team has seen a trend in hiring recently: when it comes to applying for roles, men often submit an application even if they only meet 60% of the qualifications, but women typically apply only when they meet 100% of them. It’s time for hiring teams to address this head-on. As a company, review and update your job descriptions and requirements. Define what skills or experiences are essential to landing an interview or making it to the next step of the hiring process. Give candidates clarity on how your hiring process works. Reframe how you list the job qualifications: which of the requirements are mandatory to be successful in the role and which are just preferred for the job? If possible, encourage your team to take an additional step and rethink the standard requirements—could a certain amount of industry experience replace the need for a college degree? Could a certain type of experience replace the need for a specific number of years in the field? Adding clarity to the requirements and being open to other work experiences can help you cast a wider recruiting net and attract new talent.

Show off your company culture.

Use your company’s website and LinkedIn page to talk about your organizational values. No matter their background, job title, or number of years with the company, encourage your employees to share their experiences as a testimonial on your careers page or write a review on your company Glassdoor, to give job seekers an insider’s view on what it’s like to work there. Ask your colleagues to share their unique perspectives about office team building activities, the professional development programs, and the company culture at your organization. Your employees are a great resource for your recruiting efforts—give them the tools to be brand ambassadors for your company!

Go even further by refreshing more than just the job description.

What can an organization as a whole do to attract more candidates of different backgrounds, beyond just the job description? Fostering an inclusive company culture starts with your internal systems. Reflect on how your team and your company as a whole address diversity and inclusion. Think about revitalizing your benefits program to be inclusive of the different lifestyles of your employees, such as offering maternity/paternity leave. Establish teams or appoint leaders within your organization to focus on driving inclusivity. Take inspiration from industry leaders like IKEA’s LGBTQ ambassador program or Microsoft’s GLEAM. Keep inclusion top-of-mind with your employees and managers by setting goals, tracking progress, and consistently sharing how you’re stacking up.

Looking to reach a wider net of candidates? Get advice and unique insights from our experienced recruiters at VanderHouwen today.