Are Your Job Postings Creating Barriers for Diversity Hiring?

Organizations understand the importance of sourcing diverse candidates to build an inclusive and innovative team. The numbers support this mentality — diverse organizations are generally more profitable and equipped to accomplish their goals than companies that don’t emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusivity. Nowadays, 98% of organizations have teams that work to ensure their organization supports an inclusive and diverse workforce, but these DEI initiatives aren’t always as successful as intended.

For an organization to truly embrace diversity and inclusivity, they have to consider the experience potential candidates have when interacting with job postings and recruiters. Many businesses still struggle with crafting compelling job postings that invite diverse candidates. Below we discuss some of the application barriers that candidates face when searching for a job and what you can do to write more inclusive job descriptions.

Eliminate Gender In Your Job Postings

The language and pronouns you use in your job postings directly influence the candidates who apply for your role. When organizations use gender-coded terms, they can discourage candidates from applying. Even if a female applicant has all the necessary experience, they are unlikely to apply to a position ridden with masculine terms over perceptions of belongingness.

“Masculine” Terms:“Feminine” Terms:

  • Aggressive
  • Supportive
  • Ambitious
  • Empathetic
  • Strong
  • Considerate
  • Driven
  • Help

Your job posting won’t be completely free of gendered wording, but the key lies in balancing your use of masculine and feminine terms. This will help you attract a wider range of applicants without discouraging any given population from applying. Additionally, recruiters should avoid using gendered pronouns in their postings. Rather than creating a posting using he/him pronouns, instead, use they/them to remain objective. In the end, the goal is to create a job posting that gives a holistic view of the role but is dictated in a neutral tone.

Tip: Language is constantly changing and adapting to our current environment. Make sure you check back frequently to ensure you are using the right keywords and terms to recruit from a DEI vantage point.

Mind Your Buzzwords

Corporate lingo might sound fancy, but it leads to a job posting that is not as inclusive. When you use industry-specific jargon or acronyms in your job postings, you risk alienating a large group of potentially high-quality candidates who don’t understand the colloquialisms. Best practices in modern recruiting say to stay concise and straightforward with the language you choose. Basic, plain speech will get you farther and attract a broader range of applicants, enabling you to hire more diversely.

Outside of corporate jargon, you should be mindful of the terms and buzzwords you use, so you don’t discourage candidates with disabilities. When organizations use words such as “fast-paced” or “dynamic,” older candidates and candidates with disabilities might feel excluded. Your job postings need to create an environment that feels inclusive and respectful.

Bonus Material: We’ve got all the tools you need to create a diverse and inclusive environment in your workplace.

Rethink Those Qualifications

Of course, your organization wants to source and recruit the best talent available. But, that lengthy and unnecessarily strict list of qualifications you ask of candidates may hurt that effort. Often, businesses will ask an applicant to have far more years of experience than necessary or request training and knowledge of tools that aren’t needed to perform the job well. This discourages potential A Players from applying for your role because they believe themselves to be unqualified.

Additionally, your listed qualifications might be actively discouraging female applicants from applying. In our modern job market, male candidates will likely apply for any given position as long as he meets 60% of the requirements. Women, on the other hand, generally apply only when they meet 100% of the requirements. Those extra qualifications you added to help weed out less desirable candidates are actually keeping you from attracting female workers.

Tip: Recruiters need to reframe their hiring tactics from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. Too often, women and minorities get lost in the shuffle due to not meeting specific requirements. With a growth mindset, you can expand your talent pool and explore a more diverse group of candidates that will learn within their role.

To source and hire a truly diverse team, you need to remove bias and exclusive language in your job postings. It might seem counterintuitive to create a posting that encourages more candidates rather than a smaller and more refined pool. In reality, when you create these barriers for applying, you’re missing out on connecting with exceptional candidates.

Bonus Material: Download our guide to sourcing and recruiting a diverse pool of candidates.

Today, job seekers want diversity and inclusivity from their employers. It’s no longer just a preference but a requirement to stay competitive within the hiring space. As companies advance their DEI initiatives and work to source and hire a diverse workplace, they need to ensure the information listed in their job posting aligns with their inclusivity goals. Your job postings need to appeal to an extensive range and scope of candidates; otherwise, you open the door to unconscious bias that can impact your DEI efforts. Because bias in job ads is largely subconscious, it takes active effort to spot problems and create more inclusive ones. But doing so helps you recruit from a more diverse pool of candidates.

For 16 years, ClearCompany has worked to help organizations recruit, hire, and engage A Players. Our Applicant Tracking System enables recruiters to create a recruiting pipeline that encourages diverse applicants. With the ability to screen and communicate with candidates, a robust ATS helps give time back in your recruiters’ days, allowing them to spend more time connecting with and interviewing candidates. For more tips and tricks on creating a company culture built around inclusivity, check out our extensive library of DEI resources.

As a Digital Marketing and Events Manager for ClearCompany, Meredith coordinates best-practice content and brand-awareness events with HR practitioners.