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Advice / Employer Resources

How Your Job Descriptions Could Be Excluding the Best Candidates

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You’re hiring! Maybe a new role just opened up, or maybe you’re focusing on filling several key positions. Either way you’re committed to finding the best-fit people for your team and you want to make sure you're attracting a diverse pool of applicants.

Once you've written up a job description, you strategically start posting it on your targeted platforms. You remind your existing employees about your referral program. You even make sure to advertise the listing on channels that are committed to diverse hiring.

That’s it—you’ve done everything you can, right?

While those are all great tactics for spreading the word about your open role (or roles), there’s one seemingly inconsequential thing that could actually discourage people from applying to your company and hinder your chances of attracting diverse talent.

The culprit? That job description you wrote.

Yes, Candidates Really Do Care About Job Descriptions

The standard approach to writing a job description goes something like this: You start with a template or dig up an old description that was posted when you were hiring for a previous role.

You make a few updates, type out your laundry list of qualifications and key duties, paste a legal disclaimer about being an equal opportunity employer, and then call it a day.

But here’s the thing: Job descriptions are way more than a formal document you need to get the recruiting process started. In fact, candidates take them very seriously.

According to our own 2018 Muse User Survey, 55% of candidates consider job descriptions to be among the most helpful things when deciding if a company is a good fit for them. This was the third-most popular answer, just behind descriptions of values, culture, programs, and perks, and then testimonials from verified employees.

This means that prospective candidates aren’t just skimming these descriptions. They’re looking at them with a discerning eye to get a sense of what that specific role entails as well as insight into your company culture and core values.

The last thing you want to do is unintentionally make certain groups of people feel like they’re excluded from even applying. But, believe us, it’s far too easy for things like words, “required” skills, and other subtle cues to sneak into your job descriptions and have that exact effect.

Here’s How to Make Sure Your Job Descriptions Are Inclusive

Fortunately, this is a problem you can fix—you just need to be willing to thoughtfully re-evaluate your job descriptions and make the changes necessary to ensure that they’re more inclusive.

What sort of changes are we talking about? Our latest ebook outlines six steps you can take right now to write more inclusive job descriptions that make all candidates feel welcome.

From certain words and phrases you should avoid using to tips for how to outline role requirements in a way that isn’t exclusive, we’re sharing everything you need to know to check your own biases so that you don’t miss out on truly awesome talent.