Why does language matter in job advertisements?
Maybe we’re stating the obvious here but being inclusive and welcoming for all on your job adverts starts with the language you use. We’ve put together some tips on how you can avoid those biased phrases and instead, focus on skills and qualifications to make your job advert a more inclusive space for all.
Ditch the Gender-Specific Terms
Using gender-specific terms like "salesman" or "waitress" can inadvertently exclude potential candidates who don't identify with these traditional roles. Instead, opt for gender-neutral terms like "salesperson" or "server." This simple change ensures that your job advert appeals to a broader audience.
Avoid Biased Phrases
Steer clear of phrases that might carry unconscious biases. For example, stating that you're looking for a "digital native" could inadvertently discriminate against older candidates who are tech-savvy. Instead, focus on the actual skills you need, like "proficiency in digital marketing tools."
Emphasise Skills and Qualifications
Highlight the skills and qualifications required for the job, rather than personal characteristics. This shift in focus ensures that candidates from diverse backgrounds feel encouraged to apply. For instance, instead of saying "energetic and outgoing personality required," you can state "excellent communication skills."
Encourage Underrepresented Talent
Your job advert is an opportunity to actively encourage underrepresented groups to apply. You can do this by using inclusive language that showcases your commitment to diversity and equal opportunities. Phrases like "We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply" or "We are an equal-opportunity employer" send a clear message that your organisation values diversity.
Better yet, talk about HOW exactly you’re an inclusive employer, what practices do you already have in place that promotes diversity and inclusivity? This is important because 78% of 18-24 year olds said DEI is important to them while job searching, as well as 60% of those aged over 55 so by not including this information, you could be doing yourself a disservice.
If you don’t have any DE&I initiatives in place… why not? Employees who feel included within their company are around 3 times more likely to feel excited about, and committed to, company missions and goals, so you’re really shooting yourself in the foot if you have nothing in place.
Use Pronouns Thoughtfully
If you’re addressing yourself or maybe using an anecdote from a colleague, consider including pronouns, such as "he/him," "she/her," or "they/them," to signal that you respect individuals' gender identities. This small addition can make a significant difference in creating a more inclusive environment. For example:
A message from our CTO: "Thriving in our fast-paced tech environment is like riding the digital wave – challenging, exhilarating, and constantly evolving.” – Sarah Smith (she/her)
Eliminate Age related bias:
Avoid specifying the number of years of experience required unless it's genuinely necessary. For example, instead of saying "5 years of experience required," you can say "experience in a similar role preferred." This allows candidates of various ages to feel welcome and qualified for the position.
Promote Diversity and Inclusion
We touched on this earlier, but it’s such a smart move to Explicitly mention your company's commitment to diversity and inclusion within the job advert. This demonstrates to potential candidates that your organisation is actively working to create a diverse and welcoming workplace. You can highlight diversity initiatives, employee resource groups, or any specific policies that promote inclusivity.
An easy way to check your job ads for bias?
Use our Bias Buster. It's free to use and it'll help you write a job advertisement that is more inclusive and will relate to a wider, more diverse audience of job seekers. You can use it here, for free: Free Job Bias Checker (diversetalent.ai)
Want to reach a more diverse audience?
Here's a quick win for you - sign up to DiverseTalent.ai now and connect with job seekers who match your values.
Language sets the tone for your job advert. By choosing words and phrases thoughtfully, you can create a space where candidates from all walks of life feel valued and encouraged to apply.
A welcoming and inclusive job advert not only attracts diverse talent but also reflects positively on your company's commitment to equality and diversity.
Written by Katie Ashenhurst - Digital Design Engineer