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Master the art of inclusive job descriptions with senior I.T recruiter Anna Raghavan

“With an inclusive approach to your job descriptions, you’ll foster a larger, more diverse candidate pool that prevents job seekers from self-exclusion.”

Anna Raghavan
Senior Technical Recruiter
Master the art of inclusive job descriptions with senior I.T recruiter Anna Raghavan

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As recruiters, we’ve seen it all–job postings on platforms like LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, and Google that seem perfect but have one catch: They ask for a “rockstar genius” with a master’s degree and 5+ years of experience. 

But what about the potential star with a bachelor’s and 3 years of experience? They might be the perfect fit, but such descriptions deter them. Ever wondered how many ideal candidates you might be missing out on due to non-inclusive job listings? 

It’s time to rethink and make our job descriptions more welcoming to tap into a broader talent pool.

Are inclusive job descriptions worth the hype?

When job applicants encounter a non-inclusive job description, it can feel extremely daunting and discouraging.

But with an inclusive approach to your job descriptions, you’ll foster a larger, more diverse candidate pool that prevents job seekers from self-exclusion. 

This approach also allows all candidates to feel that they have a fair chance and that their application won’t fall into a “black hole.”

Let me explain in depth why job description inclusiveness shouldn’t be overlooked–

1. Avoiding unintentional bias

It’s easy to inadvertently use language that might deter certain individuals. Whether it’s gender-specific pronouns or terms hinting at age, race, or culture, these unconscious biases can make potential applicants feel out of place. 

The result? They might just skip applying altogether.

2. Reflecting company values

A job description is often a candidate’s first interaction with your company. 

If it doesn’t scream “diversity and inclusion,” what will they think about your workplace culture? There’s a risk they’ll feel undervalued or unsupported, leading to disengagement before they even get started.

3. Breaking down barriers

Some job descriptions list requirements that, frankly, aren’t necessary. Asking for a decade of experience for an entry-level role? Or a specific degree for a job that doesn’t truly need it? 

These can unintentionally exclude candidates who’ve gained skills through non-traditional routes, reinforcing systemic barriers.

Also read: Writing the best job descriptions & 50+ ready-to-use templates [Download Free PDF]

How do recruiters check for inclusiveness in a job posting?

1. Avoid gender-coded language

Avoid unintentional gender bias in your descriptions. 

Words like “rockstar” or “ninja” can inadvertently paint a picture of the “ideal” candidate as a cis-gendered male. This can deter a vast pool of potential applicants, including women who are joining the workforce after a career break or even candidates with disabilities

Instead, opt for clear, role-specific language. 

2. Rethink your ‘must-haves’

Did you know women often refrain from applying if they don’t meet every single requirement? 

Non-inclusive job descriptions may contain unrealistic or unnecessary requirements that disproportionately disadvantage certain groups. 

For instance, asking for excessive years of experience or specific educational backgrounds that are not directly related to the job can discourage qualified candidates who may have obtained skills through alternative paths. 

This perpetuates systemic barriers and prevents diverse talent from accessing opportunities.

For example, if a company is seeking an accountant, a solid description would look something like this: “Seeking an accounting professional with 3-5 years of experience within tax and fixed assets, preferably from the professional services industry”.

Instead, a good way to phrase this is: “3-5 years of accounting experience is preferred. Education can be substituted in lieu of work experience”.

3. Leverage inclusivity tools

There are several diversity hiring tools designed to help craft more inclusive job descriptions. Take Textio, for example. 

This AI-powered platform identifies and rectifies biased language, ensuring your job postings don’t unintentionally favor or alienate specific groups based on factors like race, age, or culture.

As you draft your job description, Textio offers real-time feedback, allowing for immediate adjustments. 

Plus, it’s continually learning. As our understanding of inclusive language evolves, Textio’s suggestions do, too, meaning you’re always on the cutting edge of equitable hiring practices.

But remember, while Textio is a fantastic resource, it’s essential to pair it with human judgment. No tool can capture every nuance or context, so always approach your job descriptions with a critical eye.

You might also like: Benjamin Keppers’ 5 steps to elevating candidate experience through a human touch

Championing inclusivity beyond your job description

When it comes to promoting inclusive workplaces, there’s a difference between saying it and living it. Organizations need to highlight their commitment to diversity and inclusion on their website, marketing materials, and their involvement within the community and internally.

Here’s how you can do this:

  1. Start at the core: Your mission statement isn’t just a placeholder. It’s the heart of your company. Make sure it resonates with your commitment to diversity and inclusion. It sets the tone for everything else.
  2. Leadership diversity: It’s one thing to hire diverse talent, but what about leadership roles? Companies that prioritize diversity in leadership positions send a clear message. It’s about creating opportunities at every level, and that’s a game-changer.
  3. The power of ERGs: Employee resource groups are more than just support groups. They’re platforms for change, fostering conversations, and driving inclusivity. When companies actively engage with ERGs, it’s a testament to their dedication to hearing diverse voices.
  4. Rethinking recruitment: This is where the rubber meets the road. Crafting a diverse recruitment strategy is an art. It’s about partnering with the right folks, refining job descriptions to be inclusive, and ensuring a bias-free interview process. And trust me, candidates notice!

Championing real diversity is about actions, not just words. It’s about building a culture where everyone, irrespective of their background, feels valued and included. 

Author

Anna Raghavan

Anna Raghavan is an HR and talent acquisition subject matter expert with over a decade of experience in a variety of industries. She is a pro at matching top candidates with their dream roles and building relationships along the way.

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