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How to write more inclusive job descriptions

How to write more inclusive job descriptions

Whether you’re writing a job description, social job ad, email, text message or video job ad script, it’s important that each and every communication is unbiased and inclusive. Follow these writing tips to ensure every qualified candidate feels welcome to apply. You’ll not only deepen your candidate pool, you’ll reap the rewards of a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Remove Gender-Coded Words

If candidates assume the role is more suited for the opposite gender, you might be missing out on qualified candidates. The best way to avoid this common mistake is to avoid words that are typically understood to be coded for a male or female audience.

Female-coded words include variations of: agree, empath, sensitive, affectionate, feel, support, collaborate, honest, trust, commit, interpersonal, understand, compassion, nurture, and share.

Male-coded words include variations of: aggressive, confident  fearless, ambitious, decisive, head-strong, assertive, defend, independent, battle, dominant, outspoken, challenge, driven and superior.

Avoid gender bias

According to a Hewlett Packard Internal Report, women will typically only apply for a job if they meet 100% of the qualifications. To avoid unconscious gender bias deterring women from applying to your jobs, consider eliminating requirements that are not essential. If the position is one where training can easily be provided, don’t ask for experience on software. Generalize areas where transferable skills are okay, and clearly outline which qualifications are required and which are preferred.

Eliminate Racial Bias

Like gender bias, racial bias can be implicit, and oftentimes is unknowingly perpetuated by recruitment professionals. But some careful attention to words and phrases used can help eliminate implicit and explicit bias. Here are some suggestions:

When writing communications:

  • Never mention race or national origin.
  • Phrases like, “strong English-language skills” may deter qualified non-native English speakers from applying.
  • A “clean-shaven” requirement can exclude candidates whose faith requires them to maintain facial hair (it also indicates the position is for men only)

When reviewing candidates:

  • Avoid “Cultural Fit” and focus on “Value Alignment”
  • Limit referral hiring, and go  beyond your network
  • Don’t waiver from the qualifications for a select few
  • Ask everyone the same set of interview questions

Win over experienced workers

By 2022, workers ages 50 and older will comprise 35% of the workforce, according to a report from Human Resource Executive. Some best practices for avoiding age discrimination include making sure your employer branding reflects a wide range of the age of workers at your company. Also, don’t ask for GPA or SAT scores – it implies that only recent grads are being considered.

Additionally, avoid phrasing like:

“Young and energetic”

“Party atmosphere”

“work hard/play hard”

“Digital native”

“Calling all recent college grads!”

“Athletic” or “athletically inclined”

“No more than X years of experience”

“Junior” or ”Senior” except as part of a job title

“Supplement your retirement income!”

Be inclusive of disabled workers

Make sure your job postings are welcoming to workers of all abilities by advertising when there are accommodations like flexible hours or telework policies that would appeal to disabled workers.

Let applicants know your workplace welcomes and values all candidates with phrasing like: “Ability to

complete tasks with or without reasonable accommodations.” Instead of writing “Access to you own vehicle isn’t always necessary”, try  “Access to reliable transportation,” which is more inclusive to

people with disabilities. See our chart below for other inclusive language considerations:

If you’re looking for more help writing job descriptions and attracting the right fit candidates to your workforce, get expert hiring advice from Monster Hiring Solutions.