When tasked with securing the best talent, you need to write an inclusive description to make sure you have opened up a wide pool to gather candidates from – easy! Right?
Often this isn’t always the case. When writing a job description, you need to think carefully about who you want to attract and what you want from them. Below are some tips about how to be more inclusive.
Job descriptions may seem like the first step, however it's important to look at the workplace culture before you hire people into it. Culture refers to the priorities, values, and behaviours which support your employees work amongst themselves and with clients.
Do your values align with the people you want to hire? Would they be comfortable working in a company that they are a minority in? If your answer is no to these, then you may struggle to hire a diverse team. A good company culture should be committed to promoting the right professional values, supporting all employees of all genders, ethnicity, sexuality, and backgrounds, allowing them to work in confidence and comfortability among a team or independently.
Highlighting a brief description of the company culture/ benefits in your job description can help enforce your values and draw in applicants - all by giving applicants a feel about the place they may work for.
By using inclusive language means you have to actively choose to use words that don’t marginalise groups of people. By not doing this, you can unintentionally deter people from applying to your advert, overall giving a negative reflection on the company culture.
LinkedIn’s number one tip for writing job descriptions highlights the importance of avoiding jargon like “Ninja” and “Wizard” in your job descriptions. Although they seem more exciting, ultimately by using these terms you don’t give the applicant enough information to go off, they don’t know what role they’re applying for and are then less likely to want to apply.
By sticking with a traditional term, such as data analyst over data ninja, makes the role instantly more recognisable and searchable to the prospective applicant.
By using this jargon, you also run the risk of making your adverts unappealing to some groups of people, especially if its gender coded. In the early days of social media, planner Buffer used to call their developers “Hackers”. By offering such job positions as front-end hackers, back-end hackers, android hackers, and so on, they found that less than 2% of all applicants were women. When talking to applicants for the roles, it revealed that the word ‘Hacker’ had more masculine connotations, leading women to feel they couldn’t relate with the term and therefore the job felt like it wasn’t for them.
Every job has a list of requirements for a candidate to meet to be appropriate and considered, however in terms of inclusivity, it's worth revising this list into ‘requirements’ and ‘things you would like in a candidate but are not detrimental to their application’.
Reducing your “must haves” opens up the job to more applicants, who perhaps originally wouldn’t have applied if they were lacking in one or two ‘necessary’ skills you mentioned. When asked about why they didn’t apply to a job advert, 41% of women and 46% of men answered with, “I didn’t think they would hire me since I didn’t meet the qualifications, and I didn’t want to waste my time and energy.” It’s also noted that applicants spend an average of 49.7 seconds before dismissing a position as a poor fit, so if you’re wanting to expand your applicant pool, it helps to separate your requirements from your desirables.
It's also important to consider where you post your job advert. As a recruiter in the 21st century you have multiple platforms such to search around for the right candidate, however the key is to be accessible. Providing your job posting in multiple formats, on multiple sites and mediums ensures that you reach as many candidates as possible and an untapped pool of skilled workers.
You also need to make sure you are clearly contactable. By providing just an email address you may be creating a barrier where people who are not as confident on email are unable to contact you, or if your application process is purely on LinkedIn, you may be preventing older generations who lack the social media needed for applying – despite them maybe having the desired skill set.
Equality across race and gender has never been more essential in the job market, failing to be inclusive in your job descriptions could cost you an untapped pool of skilled workers and present a negative company culture. Everyone has conscious and unconscious biases that affect their judgement, so its important to regularly review and get a second opinion on the job postings you write.