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Are your job descriptions inclusive? Uptree’s top tips.

Writing a job description is no easy task. Balancing detail with brevity, keeping it engaging while covering the facts, and trying to place it so it attracts the ideal candidates for the role, are all things that employers must consider.

But before you sit down to write your next Early Careers role opportunity, internship, or apprenticeship opening, have a think about how to make sure your job description is inclusive, and even come back to this article to read Uptree’s top-tips for helping make sure they are.

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Reduce your requirements

When writing out the requirements for the role, in terms of skills, qualifications, or experiences, try to keep it to just the ones that are absolutely necessary. Each line you write under this heading, is potentially putting off great candidates from applying. For example,

Research has shown that men are more likely than women to apply for a job if they don’t meet all the requirements.

Women on average only apply to a role if they meet 100% of the requirements, were as men will apply if they reach 60%. If a skill is teachable, consider the possibility of including it as part of the learning and development of the role, and try to be as broad as possible with the skills themselves to ensure that applicants can see that their transferable skills from wider experiences are also going to be considered.

Using appropriate language

When we refer to language in a job description, we’re referring to two things:

  1. Firstly, language around the characteristics of the applicant you’re looking for
  2. Secondly, language used in the job description itself.

When writing character descriptions, make sure that you’re not unintentionally using language that may be unnecessarily gendered, aggressive, or exclusionary. For example, consider the difference between saying “English as a first language” compared to “proficiency in English”, the former immediately makes candidates with an English level perfectly capable for the role feel under-qualified, and therefore less likely to apply. Similarly,

With job descriptions, it’s important to avoid using gendered language, or gendered-coded words

Research has shown that 'the inclusion of more masculine stereotype-linked words, like the ones used in the advertisements for male-dominated jobs, makes a given job less appealing to female candidates', and therefore women are less likely to apply as they already feel, unconsciously, that they wouldn’t be a good fit.

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A final note on language, particularly when attracting Gen-Z, is to make sure the tone of your job description matches the kind of company you are, or wish to be. A job description can almost be seen as a “first impression” of sorts for potential applicants, and we all know how important they are to get right.

Emphasising the values of your organisation.

To build on the previous point around first impressions, don’t be afraid to emphasise the values and culture of your organisation in the job description itself. While of course, the tone should be reflective of this, increasingly, the best job descriptions contain a line or two that highlights the commitment to equality and diversity within the organisation.

Younger applicants place increasing emphasis on culture and values within organisations

As our 2021 Student Survey shows. Making sure that your job descriptions are reflective of this can go a long way to establishing a network of diverse talent for your organisation. A point to stress however, is that a diverse and inclusive culture needs to be more than a few lines at the bottom of a job description, it should be something that runs organically throughout your organisation, and shines through at every stage of the recruitment process, early careers and development, right the way up to the senior leadership.

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And finally...

A final thing to consider when writing a job description aimed at attracting young and diverse talent is thinking about if you’re posting your roles where they’re going to be seen by your target audience. Over 40,000 students use Uptree’s platform, where we post Early Careers opportunities for our partners directly to our diverse network of young people to help both our partners and our students reach their full potential.

If you’re thinking about launching an Early Careers opportunity in your organisation, or want to find out more about how Uptree can help you to build a pipeline of young and diverse talent, then don’t hesitate to get in touch at info@uptree.co

By Uptree
Published on: Wed 24 Nov 2021

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