In the quest to attract diverse talent, crafting inclusive job descriptions is crucial. We’ve gathered insights from CEOs, Founders, and recruitment experts to share their strategies. From acknowledging non-linear career paths to encouraging applications beyond checkboxes, explore the key insights that can transform your job listings and their impact on diversity.

Acknowledge Non-Linear Career Paths

If you want to appeal to a diverse array of candidates, make a point to acknowledge that our careers take twists and turns.

Candidates with marginalized identities don’t always have the luxury of linear careers. Sometimes they have to change roles, companies, or industries to find a job in an affirming organization.

SaaS company Greenhouse includes the following blurb in their job descriptions:

“Your background has given you a unique perspective and set of transferable skills that aren’t always in alignment with a given role – but those are qualities we value at Greenhouse. If you don’t meet 100% of the qualifications outlined above, we still strongly encourage you to apply.”

The last sentence is pretty common, but Greenhouse took the extra step to state they value unique perspectives and transferable skills. This ultimately encourages more people to apply rather than self-select out.

Alex Lahmeyer
Founder, DEI Consultant and Career Advisor, Boundless Arc

Incorporate Four Pillars of Attraction

A thoughtful and clear job description will go a long way to attract diverse candidates. At Peoplism, we recommend job descriptions contain these four pillars: (1) the competencies that you need and that the successful candidate will be evaluated on when in the role, (2) the bigger-picture impact that the successful candidate will have, (3) what success looks like in the first six months and beyond and (4) your company values. We also recommend keeping job descriptions as concise as possible.

Really stick to the top five competencies for the position rather than include a page-long list of competencies that really are not that important, but may deter diverse candidates from applying. Plus, when these competencies are those on which a candidate will be evaluated in their performance reviews, they can be confident that the job they are applying for is the job that they will actually do.

And finally, a great, easy-to-implement tip is to include a brief statement that encourages candidates to apply even if they are not sure if they meet the requirements. Folks with marginalized identities tend to underestimate their experience and qualifications, so Peoplism addresses this directly: “We don’t have a minimum year of experience requirement. If imposter syndrome is creeping in, we urge you to apply anyway!”

Sofie Leon
DEI Consultant Manager, Peoplism

Craft Inclusive Software Engineer Descriptions

At Startup House, we believe in creating job descriptions that not only attract diverse candidates but also make them feel included and valued. We understand that diversity brings fresh perspectives and drives innovation, so we make sure our job descriptions reflect that.

Here’s a snippet from a well-crafted job description for a software engineer position:

“We are looking for a passionate software engineer who thrives in a collaborative and inclusive environment. As a member of our team, you will have the opportunity to work on cutting-edge projects that impact millions of users worldwide. We value diversity and believe that different backgrounds and experiences lead to better solutions. So, whether you’re a coding wizard or a tech enthusiast looking to kickstart your career, we welcome you to join our dynamic team!”

This job description not only highlights the exciting opportunities and impact of the role but also emphasizes our commitment to diversity and inclusion. By using inclusive language and expressing our belief in the value of diverse perspectives, we attract candidates from various backgrounds who feel valued and empowered to contribute their unique skills and ideas.

By crafting job descriptions in this manner, we have seen a significant increase in the number of diverse candidates applying for our positions. It has not only enriched our team with a wide range of talents but has also fostered a culture of inclusivity and innovation within our company.

Alex Stasiak
CEO and Founder, Startup House

Promote Diversity with Inclusive Language

To reach a broader pool of applicants, I highlight our dedication to diversity in the workplace by using inclusive language in job postings and by inviting people from all walks of life to apply. “We encourage individuals from all backgrounds to apply, as we believe diversity makes us stronger,” is one example of how I avoid using industry jargon.

Join our team to promote an inclusive culture that values diverse viewpoints and experiences. That’s a little excerpt from our job description. We’re after innovative thinkers who can shake things up and provide new perspectives to our diverse workforce.

This method not only increases the diversity of our applicant pool but also draws in people who are enthusiastic about joining our team and making a positive impact through their contributions to an inclusive atmosphere. The strategy’s success in drawing applications from underrepresented groups is evidence of the power of well-crafted, inclusive job descriptions.

John Butterworth
Founder and CEO, 10kschools

Encourage Applications Beyond Checkboxes

Oftentimes, candidates may feel discouraged to apply if they do not meet 100% of the requirements listed in the job posting. This perception creates barriers to entry and limits the potential for diverse candidates to apply. One way that you can circumvent this is by adding a statement encouraging applications, even if an individual does not meet all of the listed criteria;

Example: “If you’re passionate about our mission and believe you’d be a phenomenal addition to our team, don’t worry about ‘checking every box’ or meeting every single requirement. At [Company Name], we’re proud to promote diversity, equity and inclusion and recognize that great talent comes in many forms. If you’re excited about working for our company and believe you’re a good fit for this role, we encourage you to apply. You may be exactly who we’re looking for!”

Adding a statement like this showcases your company as a more inclusive employer that looks at candidates as a whole, not just by the skills listed on a resume; which in turn, can increase the number of diverse applicants.

Overall, crafting inclusive and appealing job descriptions requires attention to language, tone, and content to attract a diverse pool of candidates. Welcoming candidates from all backgrounds to apply is one way to ensure your job descriptions attract a wider talent pool.

Grant Smith
Global Employer Branding Specialist