Crafting inclusive job ads: 4 things to avoid

24.04.24 Articles

You may have seen our previous article on combating unconscious bias in hiring (if not what are you waiting for? Find it here).

We explain that a first step in tackling unconscious bias is making sure to use inclusive language within job ads. Studies have shown that the language used can influence someone’s decision to apply or not, so it’s important to know what to avoid when crafting an exciting job ad.

Scroll to the end to find out how we go further to champion inclusion!

Avoid using gender-coded language

Some words used to describe the ideal person for a role can be considered as more masculine (e.g., driven, outspoken, assertive) or feminine coded (e.g., nurture, support, connect). Studies show that women are put off from applying to a job role when more masculine words are used to describe the position. You can find a helpful tool to assess the use of gendered language here.

Be careful using ‘fun’ job titles

It’s understandable that you might want to showcase your company’s fun side by using alternative job titles. We found the following real examples online: ‘Master Handshaker’ (Sales Rep), ‘Number Ninja’ (Accountant), ‘Creator of Opportunities’ (VP of Business Development). 

The problem is that the job role in question isn’t easily understood from the title alone. This could be confusing to some neurodiverse people who may be looking for a specific title they recognise and could therefore prevent them from applying. 

How essential is that requirement really?

Did you know that many women will only apply for a job when they meet 100% of the requirements, whereas men will apply if they meet only 60%. So, the longer the list of essential requirements, the more likely women will be deterred from applying. This is why it’s important to assess what’s really important and to only include the absolutely essential skills and requirements in a job ad. 

A way of doing this is to consider if a particular requirement is a skill that could be easily taught (e.g., computer skills). This would make it a desired skill rather than an essential skill. Similarly, consider the level of education actually needed to do the job as requiring higher qualifications can be exclusive to those from a lower socio-economic background.

Steer clear of the jargon

You may think you’re speaking to people in the know, people who understand specific terms and abbreviations relating to your sector. But this isn’t always the case. Removing jargon from job ads particularly applies to entry level positions and roles where people with a similar skill set may be transferring from other industries into yours. 

Use of confusing jargon could lead to potential applicants feeling out of their depth and unsuitable for a role despite their capability. It’s best to just avoid it altogether to stop this from happening.

How we keep things inclusive: job ads and beyond 

As well as following these rules when producing job adverts, our commitment to EDI is reflected throughout our entire hiring process. Firstly, we employ technology that monitors and visualises the diversity of the audiences we engage with when conducting outreach. This allows us to effectively report our progress towards EDI goals. 

The next stage of the hiring process is where our platform, LC³ comes in to further ensure fair treatment. Objective profiling is carried out to evaluate personality traits and behaviours (The McQuaig Institute). Our questionnaires are designed to differentiate between people based on their suitability for a role, not based on any other characteristics like gender, race, ethnicity. These assessments are also available in over 50 languages to ensure inclusivity.

It’s no secret that the pharma and bio sector has some huge improvements to make when it comes to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI). That’s why we’re driven to ensure fair treatment, and this is reflected in the tools and technology we’ve invested in. 

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