15 feb 6x must do’s for writing inclusive job descriptions
Writing inclusive job descriptions is crucial to attract a diverse pool of qualified candidates. Job offers can be unintentionally exclusive or biased, and this can negatively impact the diversity of your candidate pool
How to start writing inclusive job descriptions
Here are some must do’s on how to write an inclusive job description that will help you to attract more female executive candidates:
1. Avoid gendered language
The language you use in your job description can either attract or discourage female candidates. Avoid gendered language and use gender-neutral terms such as ‘they’ or ‘you’ instead of ‘he or she’. Also use job titles that are gender-neutral or that do not imply gender-specific roles, like ‘chairperson’ instead of ‘chairmen’.
2. Use neutral coded words
Research from The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that women were less likely to feel a sense of belonging when reading job descriptions with masculine language. For instance, masculine-coded words are ‘competitive’, ‘dominant’ and ‘aggressive’. Examples of feminine coded words are ‘supportive’, ‘compassionate’ and ‘interpersonal’. Your job description will be more universally appealing if you use neutral language. You can find gendered coded words and check your job ad here.
3. Mention feminine orientated ‘soft skill’ requirements
Reduce the ‘hard skills’ in your job ad and focus instead on ‘soft skill’ requirements to expand your pool. Research from Hewlett Packard shows that men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them. For every ‘hard skill’ you list, you possibly eliminate one more reason qualified, underrepresented talent would self-select out of applying. Soft skills are easier to match, and they can intentionally be used with a feminine approach.
4. Add inclusive benefits
Provide and communicate benefits offerings that include programs that support a diverse candidate pool. Consider family leave, professional development programs, flexible and hybrid working options. Adding these benefits is another way to make your job ad appealing to different groups of candidates.
Click here to read our blog post about a more gender diverse workplace by providing flexible working.
5. Emphasize the importance of DEI in your offer
Highlight the importance of diversity and inclusion in your organization by a statement in your job offer. It can be a simple invitation included in your job description, for example: ‘We strongly encourage people from underrepresented groups to apply’. Data shows that inclusive job descriptions fill on average 10% faster across all demographic groups than descriptions that don’t include such language.
6. Seek input from an extra set of eyes
Finally, consider getting feedback from female executives in your organization or from other women in leadership positions. This can help ensure that your job description is inclusive and doesn’t contain any unintended biases.
Conclusion: The best way to write an inclusive job offer? Practice what you preach
By following these must do’s, you can write an inclusive job description that attracts qualified female candidates. Remember that promoting inclusivity and diversity is an ongoing process that requires continuous efforts and commitment. In the end, the best way to add DEI to your job ad is to practice what you preach. If you are offering a diverse workplace with an inclusive environment, you will see that diverse candidates will follow.
Do you need help with the recruitment of female (executive) candidates within your organization? Feel free to contact us.