In recruitment, first impressions are crucial in attracting top talent. How you phrase and publicize your job postings can mean the difference between recruiting the best hires and / or repelling them.
As hiring managers, it’s important (especially across borders and cultures) to recognize that certain words can be associated with different connotations than what you intend. It’s also essential to acknowledge that even for the best and most experienced recruiters, cognitive biases occasionally find their way into the hiring process, and this can sometimes manifest in how you write your job descriptions.
So how should you wordsmith your position announcements and descriptions to avoid bias?
1. Use gender-neutral language
In a study, it’s been found that gendered wording in job ads could inadvertently lead to gender inequality, simply because people subconsciously associate certain words as masculine or feminine.
The study, in particular, found that using “masculine” words such as assertive, competitive, ambitious, and decisive could deter female applicants, especially for male-dominated jobs. In a separate report, “feminine” words such as responsible, committed, and yield tend to attract more female applicants.
As such, use gender-neutral language in your job description to attract both male and female candidates. For example:
Additionally, this also means using gender-neutral pronouns if the job description calls for their usage. Terms such as they/them are preferable over he/she. Other examples include sexual orientation over sexual preference and parenthood leave over maternity/paternity leave.
2. Use inclusive language
In relation to the first point, certain words are also considered discriminatory (for example, chairman vs. chairperson, mankind vs. humankind, etc.), and using non-inclusive language could prevent you from attracting a more diverse candidate pool.
Here are a few ways to incorporate inclusive language in your job description and ads:
3. Involve several people/teams before publishing
After carefully wordsmithing your job ads and descriptions, it is good practice to have these reviewed by several groups of people in your company before publishing them. In addition to spotting oversights or unintended language, it will also help you gain a better perspective of the role.
For technical and more specialized job ads, consulting with other people also helps in refining the language of your job posting better for the accuracy of terms used.
4. Use an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Statement in your job ads
Lastly, place your organization’s policy and position on diversity and inclusion in each job ad and/or description. Familiarize yourself with the specifics of your respective country’s equal employment opportunity policies so that you can create an effective and well-crafted EEO statement.
An important thing to note is that continuing education is essential if you aim to avoid making a faux pas in how you represent opportunity in your organization. A well written and organized job description can provide great benefit to your employer brand.
The world is constantly changing, and what may have been acceptable yesterday may be taken as offensive today. Sensitivity and compassion to underrepresented groups matter.
Additionally, making a conscious effort as a recruiter to work on your innate biases is crucial to better hiring results. Here at The QualiFind Group, we pride ourselves in taking a multicultural approach on the recruitment process. This means we take every step to make sure we understand the cultural nuances of each of our clients to include carefully wordsmithing job descriptions to make them more inclusive and effective in communicating what the client is looking for in a candidate.
If you need more guidance with your job descriptions or with any of your recruitment needs, The QualiFind Group is an excellent resource for you. We have more than 2 decades of experience within the professional recruitment and headhunting industry. Our consultants across the US, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Brazil are all accustomed to working with diverse sets of people all over the world.
Find out why more and more clients engage The QualiFind Group for their professional, technical and functional management talent needs. Contact us at https://www.qualifindgroup.com/en/contact/ to get started!
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Great hiring managers know that it takes more than just choosing the most experienced and skilled candidates for a successful hire. They know that the best hires are those who not only fit the job description but those who also fit well within the employer’s workplace culture.
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