5 Steps to Creating Inclusive Job Descriptions

Inclusive job descriptions employ common job titles, clear requirements, benefits and perks, non-biased language, and widespread publication.

Inclusive job descriptions ensure that all qualified job seekers feel comfortable applying. No matter the color of their skin, their gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, accent, or anything else.

But what makes inclusive job descriptions? And how do you know yours are welcoming to folks of all stripes? Start by following these five steps.

  1. Choose a searchable, industry-standard title that job seekers can recognize and find.

    A job title is the focal point where hiring teams, job seekers, and job boards all connect. Hiring teams use titles to define and categorize roles. Job seekers use titles as keywords to search for work on job boards. And job boards use titles as keywords to show listings to job seekers on their sites. It’s crucial to inclusive job descriptions that everyone is using the same industry-standard titles.

    Use concise, industry-standard titles as opposed to internal titles; so, Java Developer, not Java Ninja. Describe the area of expertise; so, Java Developer, not Software Developer. And don’t inflate the title unnecessarily; so, Java Developer, not Senior Java Developer if the job isn’t senior.

  2. Be absolutely clear about the role, the responsibilities, and the requirements.

    The closer a job description matches the actual job, the more qualified applicants it’s likely to attract. Conversely, the less a job description matches the job…well, the more time your hiring team will spend sifting through applications.

    Therefore, an inclusive job description should be crystal clear on what a person does in a role, who they report to, and what skills and abilities they need to succeed. And it should stick closely to that list.

    Make sure your requirements match the job. Otherwise, you could deter qualified candidates and attract unqualified candidates. Don’t inflate the job with unnecessary education or certifications, dump a laundry list of nice-to-haves in there, include conflicting skills, or list soft skills that don’t tell job seekers anything really. Don’t list your entire tech stack either. Keep it concise and clear.

  3. Prove you care about employees with diversity info, perks, and benefits.

    Savvy job seekers don’t assume your company will do right by them. They want to see─in writing─exactly what you offer employees. And while diversity statements, benefits, and perks may seem like standard fare (i.e., assumed), job seekers like to see them.

    Basically, a job description with no commitment in writing leaves job seekers with questions. They may not feel comfortable applying. But a job description that includes diversity guidelines, full benefits, and useful perks like tuition reimbursement is reassuring. Job seekers can feel comfortable applying.

  4. Use clear, non-biased language that welcomes job seekers of all backgrounds.

    Job seekers find jargon, wordiness, or awkwardness confusing, while they understand concise, clear language just fine. Similarly, some sentiments are welcoming to everyone, while others are welcoming only to certain folks.

    For clarity, speak to job seekers in active voice (e.g., ‘Billy threw the ball,’ not ‘The ball was thrown by Billy.’) Also avoid long job descriptions, corporate jargon, and sales pitches, as well as third-person addresses (e.g., ‘You will…,’ not ‘The right candidate will…’).

    For inclusivity, use non-biased sentiments and language. (Inclusive language is a little trickier to identify without research, but a language analytics platform can highlight it for you.)

  5. Publish your job ad everywhere job seekers are looking for it.

    Your hiring team works really hard to get a job description just right. You have a searchable title, clear responsibilities and requirements, benefits and perks info, and inclusive language. You publish it on your website and wait for someone to find it. And wait, and wait, and wait.

    It doesn’t matter how hard your hiring team works to get a job description right if no qualified candidates ever see it. Widespread dissemination is the name of the game on this one. Publish your job to all major job boards, niche job boards, and even social media.

5 steps to inclusive job descriptions

Include everyone and exclude no one: that’s the goal of inclusive job descriptions. It means using common job titles, clear requirements that match the job, and standard-but-reassuring content. It also means using non-biased language and publishing your job descriptions everywhere you can.

Charlie S.

Charlie S.

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