Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) starts with diverse recruitment and, in turn, recruitment starts with a job advertisement. First impressions are everything and your advert is the first point of contact between you and your prospective candidate. It is a crucial, momentary window in which to both communicate how inclusive your organisation is and attract a more diverse candidate pool.
So, how do you encourage EDI through a job advertisement? Read on to find out more!
Mind your language
The optimal job advertisement strikes a balance between specifying the ideal candidate without excluding candidates of certain backgrounds. Unconscious bias is a reality; the inclination to seek candidates similar to you can be innate, whether it be race, gender, hobbies, career path, university attended or age, and this can surface in the language you use. To encourage EDI through your job advertisement, it is necessary to refine your language.
Ensure you use gender-neutral pronouns, such as ‘you’ or ‘they’, rather than gender-specific like ‘he’ or ‘she’, and avoid gender-coded language, such as ‘nurturing’ and ‘assertive’. By doing this, you will avoid targeting your advert at a specific gender due to gender-based word dynamics. Further, you should avoid phrases that perpetuate racial or faith bias and stereotypes, such as using the word ‘gang’ to describe your team. It is also easy to discourage age-based diversity by needlessly using phrases such as ‘recent graduate’ or ‘highly experienced’ when a degree or any experience would suffice. Additionally, try to avoid industry-specific language, which can make qualified candidates feel under-qualified and prevent them from applying. By checking your biased language, you will include and encourage more diverse candidates.
The equation is simple; the more you require, the less diverse your candidates will be. Every qualification, skill and characteristic is another point of exclusion, a barrier to clicking that ‘Apply’ button. For example, requiring native English speakers or a degree-level qualification when fluency and A-Levels would be adequate could needlessly exclude candidates. Further, if you can offer training for some of the requirements then removing them or listing them as merely desirable could boost your organisation’s diversity and inclusion. This will avoid waving goodbye to some candidates who identify as women that typically only apply for a job if they meet 100% of the qualifications, while candidates who identify as men are likely to apply to jobs even if they only meet 60%. Keep your requirements section brief and appropriate to the role to allow a diverse range of candidates to apply and have the chance to fill your vacancy.
The Benefits of Transparency
Now that your job advertisement is avoiding exclusionary language and requirements, it’s time to communicate your strategy around improving inclusivity in your workplace to potential future employees. By being transparent about your benefits, you include many more applicants who require certain flexibility or measures from their employer. For example, advertising benefits such as parental leave, mental health programmes and health insurance will ensure parents and those with physical and mental health issues are included. By being transparent about your inclusive benefits, you are making it clear to candidates that your company will work hard to include them.
Emphasise your equality ethos
By stating your belief and commitment to diverse hiring and EDI in your job advertisement, you will convey your inclusive work environment and make those from all backgrounds, sexuality, ability, race, ethnicity, gender and age feel welcome to apply.
Communicating your company’s EDI ethos and values will encourage like-minded candidates who are as passionate about diversity and equality. Increasingly, candidates want to know a company’s stance on social issues, thus, you could advertise your community efforts or causes invested in that would make you stand out as an EDI focused company. By highlighting your time and money spent on EDI and your pledge to increase diversity and equality and help diminish social injustice, you will encourage and perpetuate a culture of EDI in your advert and throughout your company.
Formatting for all
Your job advertisement’s formatting could also be at risk of excluding segments of society and, therefore, you should ensure it is accessible for all. For example, follow The British Dyslexia Association’s advice of using san-serif fonts such as Arial, Verdana, or Calibri that are easier to read, as well as using larger fonts. If appropriate, you could also use other methods of communicating your advert, like audio recordings and braille.
So, your advert uses unbiased language, has appropriate requirements and formatting, a transparent salary and benefits and complete with your EDI ethos, yet, your efforts could be tarnished still. Where your job advertisement gets posted is as important as its content. To encourage diversity, you should advertise on specialist job boards, such as Diversifying and others. This would allow you to actively seek opportunities to be inclusive and override any recruitment biases.