Sep 7, 2022
by Lucy Morgan

How to: Review your JD and Job Advert with DE&I in mind

Your recruitment and talent attraction strategy should be a critical part of your DE&I strategy (although, it shouldn’t be the singular element, as we will explore in a separate article). A recruitment process often starts with a job description and a job advertisement, so this article will explore how you can use these tools to improve your ability to attract underrepresented talent to your organisation.

We understand that getting your recruitment strategy right to hire underrepresented talent can feel challenging, so we’ve created some top tips on how to review your job descriptions and adverts with DE&I in mind. These tips have been collated based on what we’ve learnt through experience at Pod Talent, as well as from DE&I consultants we’ve worked with, and what we’ve seen our clients do in this space.


Reviewing your job description:

Your job description is a critical document in your recruitment process and is going to be viewed by your target audience of candidates. Whilst you want to make sure it’s a document that really sells your role and company, there are multiple things you can do to ensure that it is inclusive and doesn’t form a blocker to hiring underrepresented talent.

You can ask yourself:

  • Are you creating barriers to underrepresented talent by having too many requirements for your role? For example, say you are hiring a Logistics Manager, and your current list of requirements list that you want to hire a Logistics Manager from a competitor business, with a 2.1 degree from a top university, SAP experience and who can be based in your office in London 3 days a week. In this example, you’re not leaving much room for diversity, as candidates who fit this specific criteria often come from similar backgrounds. Does the university they studied at really matter? Does having a degree even matter at all for this role? Could someone from a different industry bring transferable skills? Could the role be done remotely or have less strict office requirements? Any of these changes could open up a different pool of candidates and allow opportunities for more diversity.
  • What is an essential skill that you need for the role and what can be trained within your business? Also ask yourself is the industry background of the candidate is essential, or is this just nice to have? Focus on the must-haves and leave room for a broader audience of talent to apply.
  • Is a degree qualification essential to successful performance within this role? Or is having a degree a criteria that is historically on your JDs and not been reviewed recently? Asking for certain qualifications, especially degrees, means you are often creating a barrier to underrepresented talent applying for roles in your business. More so, asking for a certain degree result, or a degree from a certain institute, is creating even more barriers. If your role doesn’t actually require a certain qualification, is it time to remove this? -
  • Is your job description accessible? This means, is it in a clear, easy to read format? Removing complicated fonts, italics, underlining or too many colours will make your JD more accessible to those who may have difficulty reading certain text formats. Making an audio version of your JD will also allow you to reach an even more diverse audience. Not forgetting, it will show your commitment to inclusivity as well, and show potential candidates that it’s something you prioritise within your business.
  • Have you reviewed your JD for too much “industry jargon”, that an external person or someone from a transferable sector might not understand? Removing this can also help you reach a wider and more diverse talent pool.
  • Are you using specific genders in your JD? I.e., “he or she will be responsible for…”, when instead you can use words such as “they” or “you” to replace those.
  • Have you included your DE&I statement within your JD? If not, you should add this, and it will show underrepresented candidates your commitment to safeguarding them and creating a culture in which they can thrive and feel supported, making them more likely to apply.
Reviewing your advertisement:

Your job description is often translated into an advertisement for your role but could be seen by a much wider audience as it’s accessible online. Online job advertisements are a great opportunity to highlight your commitment to building a diverse team and an inclusive workspace, but there are a few things you might want to consider before you post!

You can ask yourself:

  • Are you listing too many requirements for your role? Studies have shown that women will apply for roles only if they feel they have 100% of the requirements listed in an advert whereas men will apply if they meet 60%, so you may be creating a blocker for women applying for your roles if the list is too long.
  • Are you using phrases that discriminate against younger or older candidates? Things such as “recent graduate” or “3-5 years’ experience”, or even phrases such as “tech-savvy” could put off an older candidate from applying who might be a perfect fit for the role.
  • Is your language gender coded? This means, words or phrases associated with a particular gender, specifically male or female, often based on stereotypes. (For example, ‘fearless’ and ‘driven’ are often associated with males, while ‘loyal’ and ‘patient’ are often associated with females). Gender-coded words can reduce the numbers of women applying for roles, for example. This site is useful for understanding masculine coded and feminine coded words:
  • Is your advert accessible and easy to read? For example, fonts such as Arial, Verdana or Calibri are considered more readable for those with dyslexia, as well as avoiding using underlining or italics. You can also create audio versions of your advert, to reach a broader audience.
  • Do you include salary or benefits within your advert? Some candidates won’t apply for a role without a salary banding, as they are worried about wasting people’s time, so including this will make applicants more willing to apply. Listing inclusive benefits such as parental leave or childcare provisions available will mean that parents will be more open to applying, and it will also remove the need for the candidate to ask, which might make them feel uncomfortable. You should also include your flexible working policy, office and home working schedule, and other benefits that you offer.
  • Do you emphasise your commitment to diversity and inclusion by including this in your job advert? A DE&I commitment statement will help candidates be aware that you have taken strides towards creating an inclusive workspace; again, making candidates from different backgrounds more likely to apply.
  • Does your online presence highlight diversity and inclusion within your business? If your LinkedIn page doesn’t reflect the diversity of your workforce or highlight inclusivity, you may put people off applying as it might appear that your business doesn’t see this as a priority. Look at your social media too, and make sure that it does the same; if your Instagram is all photos of people partying, for example, but you’ve also been running lots of varied social events that aren’t just focussed on nights out, you should highlight these too, to show that your culture is inclusive.

 If you think we have missed anything within this article, or would like to reach out to discuss further, please contact our Managing Director, Lucy Morgan, on lucy.morgan@pod-talent – we’d love to hear from you.