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6 Useful Ways to Eliminate Bias in Job Ads

6 Useful Ways to Eliminate Bias in Job Ads

A good reason why you should eliminate bias in jobs ads?

Diversity is good for everyone. First, a broad range of persons get access to opportunities. Secondly, diversity is a reflection of a welcoming corporate culture. This not only attracts jobseekers. It encourages them to stay. In fact, 51.4% of respondents in a Decoding Global Talent report by JobStreet together with the Boston Consulting Group and The Network, would not consider a company if it did not match their beliefs on diversity and inclusion.

Your company benefits greatly if your candidates are not of the same gender, race, sexual orientation, or age. Even better if everyone has different skills, professional background, or personality traits. Such diversity makes for a thriving company culture. In the end, this is what attracts a variety of top-shelf candidates. Ultimately, it is what makes them stay. 

To truly attract the best talent, avoid various forms of bias in job ads. Here are some tips to help you craft better job ads.

Avoid Gender-Based Words

Identify the traits you look for in each job description. Then, select the version of those words that isn't gender-based.

In the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, male-sounding words in job ads make the job seem less attractive to non-male candidates. Here are examples of words to look out for.

Words and phrases that sound male:

  • Aggressive

  • Independent

  • Driven

  • A born leader

  • Competitive

  • Dominating

  • Assertive

  • Determined

  • Loves a good challenge

  • Analytical

On the other hand, there are words that tend to be associated with women:

  • Responsible

  • Dedicated

  • Conscientious

  • Sociable

  • Connected

  • Supportive

As an additional tip, use titles that are not gender-based. Foreman, secretary, and salesman are just a few examples. On the other hand, go for neutral words like site manager, executive assistant, and sales specialist.

You can go to the Gender Decoder to figure out if you are using gender-based job descriptions. Most importantly, you can check for bias in the job ads by flagging both subtle and obvious linguistic codes.

Lastly, consider looking into factors that attract female or male jobseekers to a role.

Remain objective in the hiring process

Be fair and objective in each step of the recruitment and hiring process. Focus on the facts and outline the basic requirements as directly as possible. 

First, start with job expectations. Second, state how you want the work done. Lastly, explain the key performance indicators that indicate a job was done well--or otherwise. 

Use inclusive descriptions You can’t tailor-fit and change criteria per candidate. But, you can expect some customization. However, too much personalization might exclude a well-qualified candidate. This means, the language in your job description also matters. For example, the words energetic active might turn off an older jobseeker. 

In another study also published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, there’s evidence to suggest that gendered wording in job ads sustains gendered inequality

If you keep it objective, you allow a wider pool of candidates to have the chance to apply. Also, when possible, let go of “native English speakers” as a requirement. This can inevitably exclude an excellent second-language learner.

Keep it Short, Essentials Only

An overly long job ad can turn off candidates. Therefore, stay away from jargon or complex language. In this way, you eliminate bias in job ads. Why?

That’s because women have a greater tendency to stay away if they see a long list of requirements. Women have the bigger urge to make sure they tick off each one. 

Nicola Laver, SEEK’s Associate Client Training Manager shared in an interview with Seek Australia, “We've recently learnt at SEEK through our analytics that anything over six bullet points can be a turn off for female candidates.” 

In addition, a study in the Harvard Business Review shows women do not apply for a job unless they are 100% qualified. But, men tend to apply for a job even if they meet just 60% of the requirements. So if you want women and men to apply equally, keep it concise! 

It’s tempting to overdo it by listing down multiple requirements. You can be picky about them being mobile and flexible, but this could turn away qualified candidates. So, if agility is not essential, you may take out this requirement. 

Be Open About Volume and Diversity

You can attract candidates in a more inclusive manner if you are transparent. Try to be open about the average number of applicants who apply. As you disclose the volume of application, you give a general idea of what to expect. You can include it as a simple one-liner in the job ad. 

To further eliminate bias in job ads, you can demonstrate that you have a diverse workforce across your organization. For example, in your job ad, include images that accurately depict the diversity in your company. 

If a candidate sees how much diversity there is in the job ad, they are most likely to pursue their application. For a sample of how and where a job ad can include these details, click here

Veer Away from Discrimination Based on School Affiliations

In the Philippines, employers may have a tendency to favor jobseekers from specific schools. The logical reason behind this: The 2018 JobStreet Fresh Graduate Report further stated that employers preferred candidates based on a school’s reputation for producing quality candidates. 

Apart from graduating from a particular school, these are other reasons why certain students are preferred: positive attitudes, work ethic, and outstanding resumes. 

However, there is good reason to let go of preconceived notions about jobseekers based on alma mater. It’s important to remember: a candidate’s school or educational background is not the only measure for intelligence, work excellence, and values. To fully remove bias in the jobs ads, write it out in such a way that anyone, regardless of their school, will be confident to apply. 

Do Blind Recruiting

Ultimately, the best test to ensure there is no bias in job ads is to do blind recruiting. 

Here, you take the radical step and block out any mention of age, gender, sexual orientation, nationality and/or ethnicity, marital or civil status, class in society, and even college. 

Certainly, you are in for a surprise once you do this step of evaluating without any of your preformed biases. 

So, whether your company is aggressively hiring at the moment or trying to move into a more diverse workplace--you start this whole process by removing bias in your job ads. And don’t forget that you can maximize this Talent Search to mine the site for top talents that value both inclusivity and diversity.

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