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Job Descriptions: How To Increase Diversity

By Mike D'Errico posted Mon November 14, 2022 12:00 AM


Job Descriptions: How To Increase Diversity 

Not to scare anyone, but a job description can make or break your hiring process. Depending on the wording, requirements, and even the things not said can leave candidates feeling uninterested, unqualified, or just plain confused.

You can see how this can dwindle your hopes of a larger, more qualified, and diverse candidate pool. Here are some tips to help you avoid a few common mistakes.

Words make a big difference.

Using words like “rockstar,” “superhero,” or “guru” tends to attract more male applicants. You’ll receive the same results with terms like “analyze” and “determine,” which can be off-putting to female candidates.

Use gender-neutral terms:

  • A descriptive title, e.g., project manager, administrator, etc., instead of “rockstar” or “guru”
  • “Collaborate” and “support” instead of “analyze” and “determine”

Particular words can suggest racial biases in your job descriptions as well. Words like “clean-shaven” can possibly discourage applicants that maintain facial hair due to their cultural background or religion.


Saying that you’re looking for a “cultural fit” or a “native English speaker” may deter diverse candidates from applying.

Eliminate racial bias by using terms such as:


  • “Professional attire and appearance” instead of “clean-shaven”
  • “Looking for someone whose goals and values align with the company” instead of “cultural fit”
  • “Fluent in the English language” instead of “native English speaker”

Such wording encourages more diverse candidates to apply.

Your requirements may be holding you back.

If you’re having difficulty recruiting diverse candidates, review the requirements in your job description. In particular, make sure they’re actually requirements.

It’s one thing when you’re asking for certifications and licenses, but is a degree really a deal breaker?

Some of the best candidates were trained on the job and have loads of first-hand experience to offer. Don’t let them be overlooked because they don’t have a piece of paper saying they’re qualified. 

Is the job description accurate and up to date?

A common mistake recruiters make is using the same job description that’s been in rotation for quite a while. Sometimes years!

In that event, the job description isn’t accurate or current. It can pose a problem for the type of candidates you receive in terms of diversity and if they’re qualified.

For instance, what if the description still utilizes gender and racial bias terms and is littered with requirements that should be preferences?

Posting the job description as it stands isn’t acceptable in today’s job market. Before a hiring cycle begins, review your job description to ensure it speaks to a wide range of qualified applicants and lists what’s expected of the candidate.

Mention the other key benefits you offer

Medical, dental, and life insurance are great benefits, but they don’t get a rise out of you like some of the other benefits you may have available. And in most cases, benefits like medical and dental are considered to be standard.

State the benefits you have that can coincide with the applicants’ daily lives. Benefits such as:

  • Remote or hybrid work schedules
  • Pet-friendly company
  • Gym membership access
  • Tuition Reimbursement

You may have a different set of benefits. The point here is to remember to promote them in the job description.

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