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Getting Inclusive Job Descriptions Right

Updated: Nov 12, 2020


Why now is the perfect time to get your talent acquisition house in order


Not only is COVID-19 changing the workplace narrative around flexible working, but it is also giving organisations breathing space to re-assess hiring strategies and look at how they can reboot and refocus, especially when it comes to driving talent and diversity.


Businesses spend around $5bn worldwide on talent attraction and $8bn attracting more diverse talent. However, there appears to be a disconnect between spend and acquisition because one of the biggest challenges to improving diversity is actually getting applicants through the door.


So, what’s the problem here?


The answer lies mainly in job descriptions. More often than not, when it comes to defining or creating a role it’s usually a manual process of getting the words out and putting content on a page, which then gets replicated in a job advert.


However, when you look at the patterns and behaviours of potential candidates looking at a job description, there’s a gap between communication and action, which gets wider if you’re struggling to attract more diverse employees.


We look at the all too common mistakes and give you pointers on how to get inclusive job descriptions right.


Readability and Language

Six seconds.


This is the length of time candidates usually spend reviewing a job description. Combine this with the fact that, for 70%, it’s the first time they’re engaging with your brand; getting the language and layout right is crucial.


As with anything online people tend to skim read, which means copy needs to be short, sharp and to the point. If a job description is too difficult to read and a candidate is ‘wading’ through words, they will be less likely to apply.


Try and keep sentences to around 17 words to help keep people engaged. Research has shown that job descriptions perform well at around 700 words in length; clear headings and bullet points allow candidates to get a quick summary or key elements of the role.


Responsibilities

We’ve all seen job descriptions with a never-ending list of responsibilities, and although the sentiment is to communicate as much about the role as possible, it can turn potential candidates off.


Quite simply, if a job description is not clear and succinct, people will not apply.


There isn’t an organisation out there that doesn’t have its own jargon and internal workspeak, but, as we all know from experience, it takes time to learn the language and feel confident to use it within the workplace.


With that in mind, imagine how a potential candidate feels when reading a job description littered with internal jargon or complex language? Remember, that for 70% of applicants it’s their first experience of your organisation and brand.


Clarity is key.


Requirements

For most job descriptions, 60% of the requirements outlined aren’t necessarily essential. It’s human nature to want to throw in as much as possible, and hope a point resonates with a candidate, but non-essential elements can actually exclude quality candidates.


This may seem like a contradiction, but when you start to analyse behaviours it becomes clear that less really is more.


Women won’t apply for a role if they don’t meet 80 – 100% of the criteria, and if there are too many requirements, this can also have an adverse effect.


Specifying years of experience or a degree-level education can also block high quality candidates. Even if it is framed as a ‘nice-to-have’.


Many people read the word ‘desirable’ in a job description as ‘essential’, so through the use of one word – although with good intent - you’ve immediately eliminated a pool of talent.


Flexible Working

Organisations can no longer ignore the issue of flexible working. For candidates, it is the No.1, key benefit that will attract them to a role. Especially when it comes to female talent.


Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, 80% of candidates sought homeworking in a role and 45% a part-time arrangement. These figures will only increase once recruitment returns to normal - it’s now almost non-negotiable in a job description, so it's important to be prepared.


For those departments that may be working on reduced budgets post-lockdown, 50% of people would prefer flexible working over a salary increase, which means a flex arrangement could be an immediate hiring solution.


Brand and Value Proposition

We spend around a third of our lives at work, so it’s little surprise organisational culture, brand personality and people are crucial elements for candidates when considering a role.


It's important to bring out these key points and bring the role to life. Just think; for any career-minded person, a new role needs to be challenging and highly rewarding. Otherwise, why would they apply?


If a role is dynamic and fast-moving with an organisation that has a great teamwork ethos, then communicate these points. This is what attracts talent.


How Rolemapper can help

If you’re looking to re-assess hiring strategies and really focus on driving talent and diversity, then RoleMapper can help your business create inclusive job descriptions that resonates with the right audience.


A global tech company believe RoleMapper reduces the time it takes to produce a job description by 50%.

As an intelligent learning platform, RoleMapper helps organisations create and scale consistent best practice.


Not only does it reduce the time it takes to create job descriptions, but it also removes bias, shifts manager mindsets and supports a more inclusive organisational culture.


When it comes to attracting and retaining talent, there has never been a better time to get your house in order, really nail inclusive job descriptions and keep your organisation ahead of the competition.


We are currently offering a cost-effective Proof of Concept trial of RoleMapper. If you would like to find out more, why not get in touch with us at enquiries@rolemapper.tech and find out how we can help your business.

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