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How to Write a More Inclusive Job Ad

How to Write a More Inclusive Job Ad

Written by Becky Edgoose

Last edited May 5, 2023

How to Write a More Inclusive Job Ad

We face the challenge daily of trying to find the right person for the right role, but are the job ads that you’re advertising written in the right way to attract the right people? We are all more than aware of the talent shortage that we face today, both for the companies that we recruit for, but also for recruitment companies themselves. We face the challenge daily of trying to find the right person for the right role, but are the job ads that you’re advertising written in the right way to attract the right people?


Well, we’re going to look at what you can do to ensure you don’t fall foul of unconscious bias in your job ads. Unconscious bias can play a part in several parts of the recruitment process and could stop you from finding a diverse range of candidates for the roles you’re hiring for. Research has shown that businesses with diverse teams enjoy increased performance levels, innovation and elevated profitability. Having a diverse team further encourages diversity when hiring too. It has been noted that people hire others that are like themselves, so by having a diverse interview panel this hugely dilutes this issue.

Before we even get to hiring though, there are things you can do right from the point of writing the job description and advert. Here we have some steps you can take to avoid a shallow pool of talent being attracted to your job ads:

1. Wording

The words that you use in a job advert can be discouraging to some people. Phrases like ‘we’re looking for someone to manage a team’ can be off putting for women when reading the job description. Research has showed that swapping the word ‘manage’ for ‘develop’ is likely to increase the number of female applicants for the role. Just in the same way that the term ‘coding ninja’ can suggest to women that the company has a hostile working environment, despite the term frequently being used in many Silicon Valley job ads. Being mindful of the words that you use when writing job ads could mean the difference between finding the right candidate or not.

2. Format

It is not just the specific wording that can be off putting for certain groups of people when reading through job ad to apply for, but the format can also be something that stops the perfect person applying for the role. Research has been shown particular formats of job descriptions, such as lengthy bullet points, can be discouraging to female applicants, meaning they may skip over the ad and apply for the next one instead.

3. Where

It sounds obvious, and many of you will already be aware of this, but the place that you advertise the job role may skew the type of applicants that apply. If you only advertise the role on social media, you could be missing out on an older demographic that may not be on the social media channels. Equally being narrow minded about geographical location when hiring can dramatically reduce your talent pool. Candidates may be willing to relocate or are planning to relocate but by only advertising the vacancy locally this could stop them from seeing the ad.

4. Copy & Paste

Avoid copy and paste job adverts and descriptions. The role may be the same or very similar to another company but by copying a pasting the job advert and just changing the company details, these adverts will become very generic and not stand out from the crowd. Coupled with this, if the advert appeals to a limited demographic the first time it is written it will narrow the talent pool for future roles. Think outside the box and use some brain power when it comes to writing the job adverts for your clients and you’re likely to receive a more diverse range of candidates that apply for the role. No one will become emotionally attached to a ‘vanilla’ job ad, you need some human personality to get people to apply.

5. Proof Reading

One of the best ways to ensure you write a diverse and inclusive job ad that will appeal to more than one type of candidate is to get others to read it and give their thoughts. Having a range of people read the ad and give their feedback on how they would feel if they were looking for such a role will open your mind to different perspectives.

If you get someone from the opposite sex and maybe someone from a different age group to yourself read through the ad after you have written it, this give you the best chance of appealing to other demographics too.

The key to ensuring that you write an inclusive job advert that will appeal to a diverse range of candidates is to keep an open mind when writing the ad. Think about the language you use, the format of the document and the audiences you want to target with the advert. Attracting a diverse range of candidates to apply for roles will give you the best chance of finding the right person for the role. With the benefits of a diverse team being increased performance, profitability and innovation your clients will really thank you for sourcing a diverse range of candidates for them.

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