When you want to recruit diverse candidates, it’s important to follow some best practices for creating job postings and job descriptions. We have to remove barriers of entry that are preventing a large pool of candidates from clicking on the “apply now” button on our postings, from gendered language to jargon to unrealistic job requirements.
Making Your Job Postings More Inclusive
While some recruiting software platforms have AI-based tools that make recommendations to remove bias from job descriptions, many do not and it’s up to HR teams to work with hiring managers to improve diversity and inclusion in job postings. These tips can help you and your team create an application process and job postings that are inclusive and do not have common obstacles that might make a diverse candidate look elsewhere.
Your application process.This depends heavily on the application system or ATS that your company is using. Your application process should be user-friendly from start to finish, meaning that you should test the system you’re using and evaluate it from your candidate’s perspective. It should be intuitive, easy to understand, and follow accessibility standards like color contrast and submission timeout length. A complicated job application procedure may discourage candidates from applying to your company.
Keep it clear and simple. Are you using industry terms or acronyms in your job post? Unless you’re seeking a very specific position with narrow requirements, you’ll want to ensure that a layperson can understand what you’re looking for. Consider that many skills translate from industry to industry - like customer service roles - and these inside baseball terms imply that you only want candidates from your specific industry to apply. Even the most qualified candidates can be discouraged from applying to your company if they cannot understand your job posting. Clearly outline the essential skills and responsibilities for the job and ensure that someone outside of your industry will be able to understand your job posting.
Job requirements.Your job description is usually the only connection you have with a candidate before they apply for the job. If the requirements for your job are far reaching, from years of experience to required degrees, the candidates that apply for your job are going to be the ones who ignore the fact that they don’t meet every single qualification. This is a good time to take a step back and evaluate the job requirements, consider the “must-haves” and the “nice to haves” and connect them to reality.
Consider your company culture and how it has evolved since the job description was created. If your company has a culture of continuous learning and career growth for its employees, do your job descriptions reflect that you’re willing to bring on a smart candidate who has baseline skills that can be trained to do the job? Are you hiring for degrees or for culture? Identify the qualities of the best employees at your company, and write job descriptions that match them.
Related article: Where to start with diversity and inclusion recruiting efforts.
Remove gender coded language and pronouns.A gender neutral or gender inclusive pronoun is a pronoun which does not associate a gender like he or she with the individual who is being discussed. You will also want to look at descriptors in your job posting that tend to be associated with masculine or feminine identities in a stereotypical manner. There is a free online Gender Decoder tool that will scan your post for subtle linguistic gender coding. Simply paste your job ad into the open text field, click “check this ad” and you’ll get a report on masculine and feminine coded words in your job description.
Your EEO statement.You likely have a statement on your job postings that your company is an equal opportunity employer. Based on Federal regulations, an equal opportunity employer is "an employer who pledges not to discriminate against employees based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age, disability or genetic information.” What if you took your EEO statement and created an opportunity for your company to really showcase your D&I efforts?
Inclusive Job Postings Set the Tone for the Candidate and Employee Experience
Creating inclusive messaging signals to all candidates about the larger organizational culture and employee experience allowing them to make a decision if these align with their own beliefs and interests. It tells all prospective employees regardless of their protected status that they are welcome which I’m finding from diverse candidates is extremely important for them in selecting a company to work for.
Take a look at some examples from companies that have been successful with D&I recruiting, like Google, Microsoft, Visa and Geico, as you’re creating your own EEO statement. Ensure that its tone, and wording reflects your company culture and covers the most important things your company offers to promote equal opportunities.