4 Tips for Writing an Inclusive Job Posting

Sep 14, 2021

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In the world of job hunting, a job posting may be someone’s first interaction with your company. Job hunting is a very vulnerable time for some jobseekers, so you want to make sure your job posting isn’t making candidates feel discouraged or excluded. Creating an inclusive job posting is a fantastic (and easy) way to begin eliminating biases from the job search process and give all candidates a fair chance at the opportunity of their dream.

Here are 4 tips for writing an inclusive job posting:

1. Eliminate any gender-specific pronouns or gender-coded terms.

A productive place to start when writing an inclusive job posting is to eliminate any gendered language. This starts with replacing gendered pronouns such as “he” or “she” with “you” or “they.” Using pronouns like “she” or “he” assumes that the candidate identifies with male/female gender binary terms when this may not be the case at all. This could feel very discouraging in seeing your company isn’t cognizant of those who may be non-binary. Take this as an opportunity to show that your organization has normalized the use of gender-neutral terms to make everyone feel as included as possible.

Similarly, make sure to eliminate gender-coded terms. Some terms you have seen being used in job postings that feel quirky or unique may actually be inherently biased without you even realizing it! Gender-coded terms are those that have more masculine or feminine meanings generally associated with them and, when used, they tend to perpetuate gender stereotypes. Some examples of gender-coded terms are ninja, rock star, competitive, patient, guru, or nurturing. In another sense, using these trendier buzzwords can sometimes be difficult for the candidate to interpret since they don’t usually have a universal meaning. To clear up any misunderstandings and to eliminate any gender nuances it’s best to steer clear of any of the trendy buzzwords. You want to make the job posting as accessible and inclusive language-wise as possible!

 

2. Avoid lengthy job postings that stray from the core details pertaining to the role.

When it comes to writing a job posting, you’re going to want to stick to the fundamental, basic parts of the job. Attention spans nowadays are fairly short, so you’re going to want to get the point across effectively without too much noise or unnecessary fluff. The ideal job posting is around 250 words, equivalent to the length of a social media post and most people’s attention span. Save the extensive details for later, and focus on the core responsibilities, desired candidate characteristics, and key benefits associated with the job.

 

3. Be intentional with the job requirements you’re including.

Before beginning the writing of your job posting, make sure to sit down with the hiring manager and get to the core of what exactly makes a “qualified candidate.” Instead of writing up a laundry list of requirements for candidates to sort through, narrow it down to those that are 100% necessary to completing the day-to-day job functions. For example, many job postings list a minimum number of years of experience as a requirement, turning away candidates if their experience doesn’t add up to that. It’s important to remember that quantifying experience doesn’t work when trying to qualify people.

Another thing to consider is to only ask for a college degree if it’s specifically required for the job function. If it is needed, be sure to explain exactly why you’re asking for this to give the candidates context. An example of where it would be acceptable to require a degree of some type would be if a medical position required certification or license from a medical program to be able to treat patients. Don’t let a lack of a degree discourage you from pursuing a candidate. This can most often be supplemented by any quality experience they may have, and you have a great opportunity to train an eager mind in the process.

The key thing to remember here is to only write in a requirement if a candidate absolutely needs it.  Every requirement added in your job posting is another line of exclusion so don’t let that be the case! By focusing more on performance objectives and what someone needs to be able to do in the job to be successful, you’ll attract candidates who’ll bring more diverse backgrounds and skills to your team.

 

4. Emphasize your commitment to creating an equitable workplace.

The job posting can be a great place to quickly note what the company is doing to create a diverse and equitable working environment that fosters a sense of belonging. Make sure to communicate the company’s mission and core values to ensure that you’re attracting talent that will help further these essential things once hired. You should also (briefly) include how the company supports its employees through perks and how it’s been creating a more inclusive workplace. Good things to include are things such as parental leave, flexible working (WFH, flex hours, etc.), PTO offerings, and paid sick time. Remember to keep this brief!

Lastly, do not forget to include an Equal Employer Opportunity (EEO) statement where you state the company’s commitment to transparent, non-discriminatory employment practices. An EEO statement must include the following: “(Company X) is an Equal Opportunity Employer” followed by a statement that details non-discriminatory practices. The purpose of this statement is to ensure you’re attracting candidates of all backgrounds and not allowing biases to impact the hiring process.

These are just a few ways to begin to ensure that your job posting is inclusive and non-discriminatory. Of course, there are so many more ways to work to attract candidates from all backgrounds throughout the rest of the hiring process. One of these being to explore more variety and diversity in the job boards you’re posting on to get your job in front of many more candidates. Ultimately, the job search is a vulnerable process, and you want to do all that you can to make it a great, inclusive experience. And this all starts with your job posting.

 

We can always help support revisions or creations of your job postings, while also supporting your overall recruitment needs. Contact us for more information on how to get started!

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