Eliminate Unconscious Bias in Recruiting: Job Descriptions

Eliminate Unconscious Bias in Recruiting: Job Descriptions

As with many companies, unconscious bias may exist in your job descriptions. This might encourage one group of candidates to apply more than another group. Implicitly turning away groups of qualified candidates is not good for your organization. You lose out on skilled candidates who are a perfect fit for your team. As a result, you want to make your job descriptions as free from bias as possible. Here are three ways to do so 

Write Inclusive Job Descriptions 

Job descriptions often provide candidates the first impression of your company culture. For this reason, you need to use appropriate word choices to provide the desired impact. For instance, avoid using words such as “competitive” or “determined,” which many women perceive as meaning they don’t belong in your work environment. Don’t include “collaborative” or “cooperative,” which often turn away men. Instead, replace stereotypically gendered words with more neutral tones, or balance the number of gendered descriptors and verbs. For instance, go back and forth between the words “build” and “create” to attract both female and male candidates.  

Include Fewer Requirements  

Reduce the number of requirements in the job description. Although men typically apply for jobs when they meet 60 percent of the requirements, women typically apply if they meet all of the requirements. As a result, listing too many job requirements can turn away female candidates if they don’t feel qualified enough to apply. To avoid this, list only the requirements necessary to perform the work. You’ll attract a wider variety of candidates. 

Implement Software 

Use software created to reduce bias in job descriptions. For instance, Textio uncovers key phrases, spots biases, and provides feedback on job descriptions as you type them. The software highlights words and phrases, then classifies them as negative, positive, repetitive, masculine or feminine. This helps you avoid words such as “rock star,” “ninja,” or “killer,” which tend to turn away women. The software also provides insight into the strengths and problems with your job descriptions, such as good use of active language or too many clichés or jargon. You receive a score for each job description along with recommendations for improvement.  

Use Gender Decoder for Job Ads 

Another example of software designed to reduce bias in job descriptions is Gender Decoder for Job Ads. Although the likelihood of men applying for roles with feminine-coded job descriptions such as “agree,” “honest,” and “support” is slight, women are far less likely to apply for roles with masculine-coded language such as “active,” “independent” and “opinion.” The software guides you in using more neutral words to create job descriptions and attract a more even number of female and male candidates.  

Outsource Your Back Office 

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