Inclusive Job Descriptions for Workplace Inclusion

Workplace inclusion starts and ends with your people. Here are a list of simple actions for organizations and hiring managers to ensure your job description is sending inclusive vibes to potential hires.

About Your Organization – Communicate Your Vision & Values

Consider the industry you are in and the major dynamics of your sector at the moment. This may just be a link to your website or your standard company overview paragraph but make sure to clearly communicate the overall organizational goals. Does your organization aim to make rail travel safer, make hiring easier, reduce the risk of cyber attacks or help companies export? Many people care about what the overall object of the organization is: To which ‘mission’ are they contributing their time and energy? (Passion is hard to buy!)

Tip – Include this sentence: “We are an equal opportunity employer.”

About This Particular Role / Job Crafting

Tip – Use skills-based description

Write down what you expect your new team member to do. You’ve identified an organizational need for this role, this section of your job descriptions is the key to creating shared expectations of this position. Think about what ‘gaps’ this person will fulfil. Key outcomes of the role are helpful: Consider weekly / monthly / quarterly / annual outputs. The goal is that your potential new team member can clearly see what this position entails.

Only include what is necessary: Avoid laundry lists. You might opt to include ‘other tasks as required’ or similar.

Sample words to avoid: blacklist, he/she, ninja/rock-star, chairman, man hours. These are not skills.

Tip – Use gender-neutral and inclusive language throughout

Here’s an easy to use and evidence-based tool to identify gender bias in role descriptions. (If you are using an applicant tracking system or other recruitment tools, look and see if there is a bias removal tools. Many do. Here’s a shortlist.

Sample words to avoid: blacklist, he/she, ninja/rock-star, chairman, man hours, empathetic, competitive.

Tip – Check words are direct and unambiguous

Clear language is not only beneficial for native speakers but also for those using English as a second language and those with ASD. Explain with whom and how the new team member will need to communicate. Remove internal and industry-specific jargon.

Person Requirements / Required Skills

It can be helpful to make two skill lists: requirements (hard needs) and ‘nice to haves’. To test if you are sticking to skills, ask yourself what example of previous output / behaviour would demonstrate that the candidate has those skills.

Sample words to avoid: great personality, natural communicator, early-career.

Include only those formal qualifications and certifications necessary to do the role. There is significant evidence of overqualified third-level graduates in the Irish labour market. (The over-confident will apply anyway, but presumably you are looking for realists and competency.)

What You Are Offering

Salary and financial rewards are still number one.

Workplace flexibility – describe what is already in place and you can offer to new team members.

Clearly set expectations. For example, include core office days or the need for occasional unsociable hours.

By law you are already required to “make reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities” (IHREC). Perhaps a wheelchair ramp is required. Many accommodations are easy and almost free. This Disability Resources Pack is clearly laid out (and there is financial assistance available in some cases). The National Disability Authority offers a short guide to effectively recruit people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Further Resources on Crafting Inclusive Job Descriptions