Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are rising topics in the recruitment and HR industries.
Fifty seven percent of employees want to see their companies improve the diversity of their employees in terms of race, gender, background, experience, etc. And it’s not just for appearances, either. Seventy eight percent of employees and employers alike believe that diversity & inclusion give them a competitive advantage in their industry.
Having employees feel included and accepted in the workplace is shown to help people feel happier and more comfortable, leading to improved job satisfaction, employer branding, and overall reputation. In fact, diverse teams perform 35 percent better compared to teams lacking diversity.
So how then can you attract diverse employees if you’re not focusing on diversity & inclusion from the very beginning of the hiring process?
How you formulate your job postings & descriptions has a significant impact on the types of applicants you’ll get as well as reflect on you as a company. Let’s look at how inclusion starts with the job posting along with specific tips to make your job ads as inclusive as possible.
diverse teams perform 35 percent better compared to teams lacking diversity
Avoid Gendered & Stereotypical Descriptors
In the not-so-distant past, “he” and “him” were considered neutral pronouns. A typical job posting could read, “Salesman wanted. He should have 5 years of experience in an office setting. He should hold his undergraduate degree in Business, Marketing, Finance, or another relevant field.”
Do you see the issue here? The masculine pronouns make it immediately difficult for people of any other gender to visualize themselves in the position.
Not only that, but it also makes the company posting the job ad appear non-inclusive, which is a huge issue for recruitment purposes considering that over 86 percent of job seekers say diversity & inclusion in the workplace is important for them during their job search.
Try utilizing “they/them” pronouns to keep the language neutral and applicable to all genders. You can also use phrases such as “the candidate,” “the applicant,” “salesperson,” etc. to keep things as neutral as possible.
Other language to watch for is descriptions with stereotypical associations with any one population.
For example, “Aggressive,” “dominant,” and “competitive” are all examples of words commonly associated with masculinity that could deter other applicants from applying. Simply changing the wording to “motivated” or “driven” can change the entire feel of the job posting.
Job openings that used inclusive language are filled 17 percent faster and attract 23 percent more non-male candidates. It’s effective & easy, boosting your employer brand & making the hiring process more efficient & diverse. Win-win-win.
Between Google ranking signals, Google schema optimization, and inclusive language, it’s tough to keep it all straight.
Jobiak will optimize your job postings with keywords, SEO techniques, and more for you. Learn how here.
Focus on Growth
Along a similar vein as using more neutral language, if you’re looking to improve inclusion in the workplace, we’d recommend using language that promotes growth over inherent skill or intelligence.
Wording a job description as wanting someone who is “naturally intelligent” or “inherently able to analyze data” or “natural-born leader” could potentially discourage qualified candidates from even applying.
People have such varied backgrounds, learning styles, and motivations that wording things in that way could lead to candidates who could grow into those abilities within the position avoiding applying in the first place.
Try to focus the job description on growth as opposed to those specific skills or qualities. Things like “someone willing to lead and learn” or “someone with skills in analytical thinking” would be more inclusive and open to those with a wide range of experience & knowledge.
Define your jobs with the specific qualifications the job requires in order to make the position as clear and open as possible.
Saying you want an “intelligent” employee doesn’t mean all that much when you think about it.
What kind of intelligence are you referring to?
Assuming job seekers understand what you mean by vague qualifications will discourage people, especially non-male candidates, from applying. Studies show that non-men usually only apply to jobs when they meet 100 percent of the qualifications (men, on the other hand, apply to jobs when they have at minimum 60 percent of the qualifications).
Also, take this time to consider the requirements you list. Education and financial inequality make higher-level education out of reach for many people. In order to foster diversity in your applicants, consider the following:
Do applicants need a college degree, or would applicable work experience suffice? Would you accept a community college degree instead of a four-year college degree? Are you willing to provide training or support for those who are unable to afford specific certifications or licenses themselves?
And remember: whatever requirements you are seeking, make sure you optimize your job post so it is most easily scannable for Google for Jobs.
See some examples of great job descriptions on our blog here.
Watch for Subconscious Biases
All humans have certain biases that we’re unaware of. In order to foster diverse and inclusive workplace environments, it’s important to reflect upon what biases we could be perpetuating in job ads and the hiring process.
For example, one study found that resumés that containing “African-American sounding names” receive significantly fewer interviews & callbacks compared to “white-sounding names.” What’s more, caucasian candidates are 50 percent more likely to receive a callback on any job they apply for compared to non-whites.
Screening programs often eliminate resumés based work experience, resumé gaps, lack of specific keywords within the resumé, formatting, etc.
This can bias your applicant pool to represent only a certain population that doesn’t take into account educational inequalities, financial impacts on work experience, etc.
Work to identify any biases in this process.
A great way to see past your own subconscious biases is to have the job description and hiring process be a team effort. Fresh eyes can help identify biases or non-inclusive language that we might not have noticed ourselves.
Inclusion in the Workplace Is Important for Employers and Job Seekers Alike
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace mean much more than just a way to have your brand appear diverse & modern. It’s about creating teams with a variety of viewpoints and ideas where people feel comfortable sharing, collaborating, and working for a company that supports their unique background.
We understand that keeping all of this in mind while optimizing for SEO, getting your listings on job boards, and targeting specific applicants is difficult and, for some, near impossible.
Let Jobiak make it easy for you. Our AI-powered recruitment technology will automatically optimize and structure your job descriptions and listings to get in front of the perfect pool of candidates. Contact us here to learn more.