Featured Insights

Michelle Palasek has 20 years in the staffing industry working in sales and marketing operations. She currently serves as a Sr. Marketing Communications Specialist at SGA.

How to Build an Inclusive Job Description and Increase Your Candidate Options

How to Build an Inclusive Job Description and Increase Your Candidate Options

As a leader at a forward-thinking company, you value a workplace containing many unique voices, backgrounds, and experiences.

Establishing such an environment starts with writing inclusive job descriptions. You want language and tone that reflect the positions you have available without reflecting any bias toward a particular demographic.

With that in mind, below are some valuable tips for creating a job description that reflects your commitment to a diverse workforce.

Why Is an Inclusive Job Description Important?

No matter how much you may strive for empathy, unconscious biases can creep into your workplace communications, including your recruiting materials.

For example, if you indicate that you’d prefer to hire a “recent college graduate,” you may be showing bias against older workers. Additionally, according to the Gender Action Portal from Harvard University, words like “competitive,” “dominant,” or “leader” can suggest a bias toward male candidates.

Pursuing an inclusive job description accomplishes two things in turn: First, it prompts you to consider how your language might be understood by others, especially those with different backgrounds.

Second, incorporating inclusive language in job descriptions will help you connect to a larger pool of potential candidates. As a result, you’ll be able to tap into a greater range of backgrounds and abilities, some of which you may not have had access to without an inclusive job description.

How to Write Inclusive Job Descriptions

While the core requirements of your job aren’t likely to change, there are still ways to present the job in a way that attracts diverse candidates. These are some of the best practices for writing an inclusive job description:

Avoid Non-Inclusive Language

Watch out for words that may suggest a bias against certain types of candidates, such as:

  • “Recent graduate” or “digital native,” as these may suggest a bias against older applicants
  • “Competitive” or “dominant,” as these may suggest a bias toward male candidates
  • “Able-bodied,” as that may suggest a bias against disabled individuals

You can also strive for a gender-neutral job description by eliminating gender-based descriptors. Instead of “salesman” or “saleswoman,” simply use “salesperson.” You might also choose to avoid he/she pronouns altogether by simply referring to “the candidate” or “applicant.”

Advertise Inclusive Benefits

Think of how your compensation package, especially the benefits you offer, might reflect your commitment to diversity and inclusivity. If you offer any of the following, make sure to include them in your job description:

  • Paid family leave
  • Family planning
  • Childcare assistance
  • Flexible hours
  • Floating holidays
  • Student loan repayment
  • Tuition assistance
  • Healthcare plans
  • Employee wellness programs
  • Community service opportunities

Collectively, your benefits package should reflect your company’s inclusive culture as well as your commitment to employee well-being.

Communicate a Commitment to Diversity

You shouldn’t be afraid to simply state your company’s commitment to diversity. You just need to ensure you can back up that claim with clear examples of inclusion in your workplace. For example, if you are a black- or woman-owned business, you might mention that in your recruiting marketing materials to illustrate your unique perspective on amplifying underrepresented voices.

There’s also nothing wrong with stating the obvious. Conclude your job advertisement with a quick note that “all races, genders, and backgrounds should apply.” Doing so will indicate an openness to diversity and inclusion.

Rethink Necessary Qualifications

Does every position really need a college degree? High educational qualifications can exclude impoverished individuals who may not have had the resources for higher education growing up. A degree requirement can also exclude older applicants who may not have had access to the same degree program as today’s college generation.

Wherever possible, consider shifting your expectations from “must-have” to “nice-to-have.” Doing so will allow you to keep your job description focused on the most essential qualities and open your search to a larger cross-section of candidates.

Specify Remote Options

Some companies advertise remote work options when they really mean hybrid. If your job offers flexible hours, clearly state your expectations in the advertisement and include the following:

  • The number of hours employees must report in person (if any)
  • The number of remote hours employees can work
  • The location of your physical office

Clarity on the nature of the remote work you offer can help candidates decide whether to apply as well as whether they will align with your workplace culture.

Reaching for the Future

Using the above tips, you can further your commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace, thereby expanding your search to a wider candidate pool and connecting with talent that can contribute to your company’s future.