A Guide to Writing Inclusive Job Descriptions
A Guide to Writing Inclusive Job Descriptions
September 21, 2023

Finding the perfect candidate for a job starts with an inclusive job description. Think about it: the words and tone you use can either invite a diverse range of candidates or unintentionally exclude some. At ReStart Employment Services, we believe that an inclusive job market begins with inclusive language. Today, we’ll walk you through creating job descriptions that truly welcome all.

Why Inclusive Language Matters

Before we dive into the specifics, let’s address the ‘why’. Inclusion goes beyond being politically correct; it’s about ensuring everyone, irrespective of their background, feels valued and considered. An inclusive job description attracts a diverse talent pool, enriching your organization with varied perspectives and experiences. And remember, a diverse workforce has been proven to foster innovation and drive business growth!

Avoid Gendered Language

It’s easy to unintentionally use gendered language. Phrases like “salesman”, “chairman”, or terms like “he/she” can alienate potential candidates. Instead, opt for gender-neutral terms such as “salesperson”, “chairperson”, or simply use “they”. Tools like Textio can help scan your job description for any unintentionally biased language.

Highlight Flexibility

The modern-day worker values flexibility. By emphasizing flexible hours, remote working options, or part-time opportunities, you’re not only catering to parents or caregivers but also to individuals who might need these accommodations due to disabilities or other personal commitments.

Be Clear on Essential Qualifications

Ensure that the qualifications you list are truly essential to the role. Sometimes, job descriptions list qualifications that are ‘nice-to-haves’ rather than essential. This can deter candidates who might not have that specific qualification but are still perfectly capable of excelling in the role. Be clear and honest about what is mandatory and what can be learned on the job.

Include a Diversity Statement

Add a statement that explicitly mentions your company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. This can be a game-changer for many potential applicants. A sentence like, “We at [Your Company Name] value and embrace diversity. We’re committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees” can go a long way.

Ditch the Corporate Jargon

Remember our goal: keep it at a 9th-grade reading level. Jargons and complex terms can be intimidating and might seem exclusionary. Instead of saying “synergy” or “value-add”, simply say “working together” or “benefit”. It’s all about making your job description accessible to all.

Use Positive, Encouraging Language

Encourage applicants by using phrases like “You’ll have the opportunity to…” or “You’ll get to be part of…”. It paints a picture of growth and collaboration.

Consider Various Educational Backgrounds

While certain positions require specific degrees or credentials, many roles have room for candidates with varied educational experiences. For instance, if you’re hiring for a marketing role, a degree in communications, business, or even fine arts might bring unique perspectives to the table. Emphasize the skills and competencies you need, rather than focusing solely on specific degrees. This broadens the applicant pool and can bring forward candidates with diverse, yet applicable, backgrounds.

Address Different Experience Levels

Instead of stating a fixed number of years as experience, consider what you’re truly looking for in terms of proficiency. Phrases like “proven experience in…” or “familiarity with…” can be more inclusive than rigidly stating “5 years of experience.” This encourages candidates who have relevant skills but might have gained them through non-traditional paths to apply.

Include Salary Ranges

While this might seem like a minor point, salary transparency can be a significant factor for many applicants. By being upfront about pay, you show respect for the candidate’s worth and their time. It also ensures applicants from all backgrounds, especially those who might be hesitant due to wage gaps in previous roles, feel confident in the compensation they’d receive.

Promote Professional Development

Candidates, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, look for companies that invest in their growth. Mention any training, workshops, or mentorship programs your company offers. A commitment to professional development can signal an inclusive, forward-thinking workplace culture.

Aim for Representation in Images

If your job description includes pictures or is posted on a website with visuals, ensure those images are representative. Potential candidates should be able to see themselves in your organization, so it’s essential that photographs encompass various genders, ethnicities, ages, and abilities.

Inclusive Benefits

Mention benefits that cater to different needs, such as parental leave, mental health resources, and health care options that cover various treatments. This not only provides necessary support but showcases an understanding and commitment to the diverse lives of potential employees.

End with an Open Invitation

Wrap up your job description with an inviting tone. A statement like, “Even if you don’t tick every box, but see yourself contributing, we’d love to hear from you!” can make potential candidates feel welcome to apply, even if they don’t meet every single criterion.

Ask for Feedback

Before finalizing your job description, have a diverse group of colleagues review it. They might spot biases or exclusionary terms that you might have missed. You can also work with ReStart to not only improve your job description, but get free help finding candidates for the job!

In Conclusion

Creating an inclusive job description isn’t just about checking boxes or following trends. It’s about acknowledging the diverse skills, experiences, and backgrounds that candidates bring to the table. It’s a commitment to broadening your horizons and being open to talent from all walks of life. The results? A richer, more varied, and ultimately more productive work environment.

At ReStart Employment Services, we understand the nuances of the hiring process and the importance of crafting inclusive job descriptions. With years of experience in the industry, we’re well-equipped to guide you through the process, ensuring you reach out to and connect with the best candidates out there. We can even help you take your hiring game up another level with job fairs, applicant screenings, and more!

Ready to redefine your hiring process? Let’s make the job market more inclusive together. Book your free appointment with ReStart and start your journey towards a more inclusive and successful future.