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September 5, 2019
What Makes Diverse Candidates Swipe Left? Job Descriptions
Alex Csedrik

Society has reached the pinnacle of technological achievement—you can accept or reject a potential paramour with a simple swipe of your finger. This phenomenon doesn’t affect only dating. Job applicants apply the same instinctual response to their career search. And why not? With the unemployment rate holding steady at less than four percent, they can afford to be picky.

Given this kind of environment, your organization needs every advantage it can get to hire top diverse talent before the competition. One element of early-career recruitment you may have overlooked? Job descriptions.

Here’s why the way your team describes its unfilled jobs causes them to miss out on qualified diverse candidates—and what they can do to be more inclusive.  

Your Team May Be Inadvertently Using Sexist Language 

Your hiring team’s job description may inadvertently be turning off female applicants. According to Mediabistro, words like “ninja,” “rock star,” or “guru” make women believe your company is male-dominated. This causes females to promptly exit your organization’s hiring funnel.

Josh Bellis, a former Director and Global Head of Diversity Recruitment for a Fortune 1,000 company, suggests writing about a role with all candidates in mind. “Using adjectives in your job descriptions can drive top talent away,” Bellis says. “It’s better for entry-level positions to be straightforward and use language everyone can understand. This will ensure you get fully represented qualified candidates.”

When it comes to adjectives and job descriptions, less is definitely more. 

Your Description Can Highlight Organizational Inclusivity

Job descriptions—if not handled properly—can deter diverse candidates, but they can also drive more minority applicants when done well, too. According to the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, your team can use the following job requirements to emphasize organizational D&I:

  • Tailor your communication style to multiple cultural environments.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills that help represent racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse communities.
  • Experience working on a diverse team.

Using these three bullet points showcases your company’s commitment to a fully represented workforce where everyone’s voice is valued.  

Job Descriptions Need To Tell A Story—Fast

Not all companies are blessed with exceptional consumer brand recognition. Job descriptions, therefore, can be your organization’s opportunity to improve brand awareness among top diverse talent while also explaining why an open role is awesome.

At WayUp, we’ve found from working with hundreds of the world’s top employers that the most effective job descriptions feature the following attributes:

  • If your organization isn’t well known, put your company’s About Us section near the top of the job description so potential applicants know more about whom they’re applying to work for.
  • Clearly—and quickly (!)—describe what the role is and why it’s great. And don’t forget to emphasize the latter!

Using this format for job descriptions is the perfect way to increase awareness and interest in your open roles—as well as future job opportunities at your organization—with minority candidates.

These job description changes will drive an uptick in the number of top diverse talent sliding into your applicant tracking system—and joining your staff.


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