For Hiring Teams:
How to Write Job Descriptions For a Diverse Candidate Pool
Sabrina Deltoro, Founder & Recruiting Director
Delson Talent Consulting
January 31, 2023
A job description doesn’t just explain what the day to day work will look like within a role, it’s also an advertisement to entice the right candidate with the needed qualifications to be intrigued enough to send over their personal background and information. Studies have shown that women won’t apply unless they have 100% of the required qualifications, but men don’t hesitate to apply even if they only have 60%*!
Having a diverse workplace leads to innovation and better business outcomes (this is a topic we’ll touch on next week). If your job descriptions are riddled with gendered language, you’re likely missing out on some prime candidates.
So, let’s see if you can find all of the red flags in the following example job description sentences - drop a note in the comment for what stands out to you!
Looking for a compassionate, nurturing, empathetic candidate to be the face of the company at our HQ front desk.
We’re looking for a mature, experienced, quota busting champion to join our ambitious, fast paced, fearless sales team.
If this concept is new to you, or the task of combing through all of your job descriptions is daunting, there are a range of tools available that can help evaluate bias in job descriptions and identify areas for improvement. By using these tools, you can ensure that your job descriptions are inclusive and do not exclude or disadvantage certain groups of candidates.
Here are four examples of tools that can be used to evaluate bias in job descriptions:
Textio: Textio is a natural language processing tool that analyzes the language in job descriptions to identify any potential biases. The tool can highlight words and phrases that may be perceived as biased, as well as suggest alternative language that is more inclusive. One benefit of Textio is that it can be integrated with a company's applicant tracking system (ATS), making it easy to use and track changes. One potential detractor is that it may not catch all forms of bias, such as those that are more subtle or implicit.
Gender Decoder: The Gender Decoder is a tool that analyzes job descriptions to identify any gendered language, such as using "he" or "she," or using words that research shows is unappealing to a particular gender. The tool provides a list of gendered words and phrases, as well as suggestions for more inclusive language. One benefit of the Gender Decoder is that it is simple to use and provides specific examples of gendered language to watch out for. However, it may not catch all forms of gendered language, and it is important to note that gendered language is just one aspect of bias in job descriptions.
AI-powered tools: There are a number of AI-powered tools that can analyze job descriptions for bias, such as HireVue and Pymetrics. These tools use machine learning algorithms to identify patterns in language and requirements that may be biased, and provide suggestions for more inclusive language and requirements. One benefit of AI-powered tools is that they can analyze large volumes of data quickly and accurately, making it easier to identify and address biases. However, there is a potential for these tools to perpetuate existing biases if they are trained on biased data.
Diversity and inclusion consultants: Companies can also work with diversity and inclusion consultants to evaluate their job descriptions and identify any biases. These consultants can provide expert guidance and recommendations on how to make job descriptions more inclusive, as well as provide training on unconscious bias and other related topics. One benefit of working with consultants is that they can provide personalized and in-depth analysis and support. However, this option may be more time-consuming and costly compared to other tools.
Each tool has its own benefits and drawbacks, and it is important for companies to carefully consider which tool is most appropriate for their needs and goals. If you’re having trouble justifying the spend, bring it back to the business need - investing in a tool to reduce gendered language in job descriptions will help you hire more diverse candidates more quickly, leading to more innovation and better business outcomes for years to come. If there is truly no budget available, at a minimum, carefully review job descriptions to ensure that they do not include language or requirements that could exclude or disadvantage certain groups of candidates, such as using "he" or "she," or requiring unnecessary or unrelated qualifications, such as a specific degree or a certain number of years of experience.
Once you have a tool in place, I challenge you to go further than just your company’s job descriptions and drop in your outreach templates and monthly newsletters too!
*Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead - Sheryl Sandberg
Words Matter: Gender-Coded Language in Job Ads - Employers council