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How to Write Diverse and Inclusive Job Descriptions

May 02 , 2022

Customer Service job description.

Most employers today want a diverse and inclusive workplace and are working to reach that goal. However, research has found that without inclusive job descriptions that contain language diverse populations recognize as inclusive, they are less likely to even apply for your job.

Here are some guidelines for writing inclusive job descriptions that appeal to diverse applicants.

Use Inclusive Language

Not only should your job description be gender neutral, but it should also avoid words that appeal more to male applicants than female ones. Here are some words that may be off-putting to females:

  • Rockstar
  • Ninja
  • Guru
  • Dominate
  • Determined
  • Drives results

Studies have shown that switching to more feminine language will not prevent males from applying to the same jobs. Here are some words to use instead of the above list:

  • Collaboration
  • Cooperation
  • Understanding
  • Loyalty
  • Support
  • Dedication

Beyond gender, you should avoid corporate jargon, which can signal to people of color that their contributions aren't wanted or valued. Using a term like "stakeholder," for instance, can unintentionally send the message that the culture is "white" and that others won't fit in. "Partners" or "collaborators" are good substitutes that will signal more openness.

Be Careful With Requirements

Many job descriptions have a hefty list of requirements for the position, including degrees, length of experience, and general characteristics. But hiring teams should think carefully and include only the essential items because it turns out that women will not even apply unless they meet 100% of the requirements, while men will apply if they only meet about 60%. 

Instead of having a "requirements" list, it may be better to make that as short as possible and include a list of "nice-to-haves" instead. Another alternative is to write a "results"-oriented JD that describes what job performance should look like after three months, six months, and a year after hire. 

Four people having a discussion.

Highlight Inclusive Benefits

Jobs that offer inclusive benefits like parental leave and child care subsidies can signal a female-friendly work culture and encourage more diverse applicants. Even offering health insurance can attract more diverse candidates.

Mentioning these in the job description is ideal. But if the job description is too short to do so, mentioning them in a job posting on your corporate website or early in the interview process will also help. 

Include a Salary Range

Historically, there have been pay gaps for gender, race, and other minorities, so diverse applicants who see a salary range can be assured that the salary will be the same regardless of their status. 

Include Your Diversity Pledge

If your company has a statement regarding its commitment to diversity, including it with the job description makes a direct statement of where you stand and could get you more diverse applicants.

GDH offers recruiting best practices designed to attract diverse applicants and to be inclusive in hiring. Contact us for more information about what we can do to help your company.