The most successful organizations are those that strive for diversity, equity, and inclusion. These companies endeavor to represent society at all levels, eliminate systematic barriers, and want everyone to feel valued, invited, recognized and heard.
When building a diverse and inclusive company, leadership must recognize what needs to change within its processes and policies. And many of the gaps are often found in recruitment and the practices that don’t promote a diverse candidate pool. Job descriptions have the biggest impact on attracting high-quality talent and guiding interviews and hiring decisions. Therefore, companies should write job descriptions with diversity, inclusivity, and equity. Here’s how:
Use gender-neutral language
Gendered pronouns such as “he” or “she” may drive away pools of candidates that are otherwise qualified for the role. Using “he” or “his” gives the impression that the position is reserved for male applicants even when it’s not. Avoid job titles that are slanted towards specific genders, such as waitress, salesman, headmistress, and stuntman. Using “the candidate” or gender-fluid pronouns like “they/them” would be better.
Speak directly to the candidate
A good way to avoid using gender-specific pronouns is to use language that speaks directly to the candidate. For example, instead of “She will be responsible for -,” use “You will be responsible for -.” Speaking directly to the candidate is also more engaging.
Avoid using industry and corporate jargon
Insider language can be alienating. Watch for acronyms that can make otherwise talented candidates feel unqualified for the position. The only acronyms you should use are ones that are necessary because they may refer to specific skills, such as technical certifications.
Call out inclusive benefits
If your company offers benefits that support diversity and inclusion, take pride and boast about them in your job descriptions. Mention that successful candidates will enjoy benefits such as paid parental leave, on-site childcare facilities, counseling services, or flexible work schedules. This sends the message to underrepresented job seekers, such as working parents, that they are also encouraged to apply. It also helps to state at the end of your job ads that you are an “equal opportunity employer.”
Drop the “must”
“Must speak Spanish” and “must have 3 to 5 years experience” sound harmless and straightforward. However, “must” can have a negative connotation. It’s fine if these skills and minimum requirements are non-negotiable; however, there are ways to soften the message, such as saying, “Bilingual in English/Spanish required” and “a minimum of 3 years experience preferred.”
Eliminate implicit bias
Unconscious biases that may end up in job postings include age, racial, LGBTQ, disability, elitism, and affinity. And you may be using language that unintentionally turns ideal candidates away. Never mention race, national origin, or religion. A phrase such as “native English speaker” may discourage candidates that speak English perfectly but don’t speak English as their first language. A better way to say “legal citizens only” would be “must be authorized to work in the US.” Saying “recent college grad” may suggest you’re only looking for people who graduated from the most recent term when what you really mean is the position is “entry-level.”
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