Revisit the Language in Your Job Descriptions
Job descriptions are basically ads. That means you have seconds (14, to be exact) to convince a candidate to apply. Every word and detail matters and could mean the difference between someone choosing to read more or moving on to the next posting. It’s time to freshen up your job descriptions. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Choose Your Words Carefully
Word choice is important in writing your job descriptions. Why? Because women and men respond to and use language differently when describing skills and work experience. A few examples from a recent talent survey:
- 44% of women and 33% of men said seeing the word “aggressive” in a job description would discourage them from applying for a role.
- 1 in 4 women said they would be discouraged from working at a company described as “demanding.”
- Men and women react equally to terms like “strong” and “confident,” but women are more likely than men to prioritize words like “supportive” that relate to a person’s character.
Pouring over every word in your job descriptions might seem overwhelming, but it’s important and worth the time. Steer clear of masculine language and choose descriptive terms favored by both women and men instead. Highlighting preferred technical skills, soft skills, and personality traits in job descriptions also helps make the role attractive to all genders.
Talk About the Important Things
Job details are important, but so are things like DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) efforts, company culture, work flexibility (remote, flexible schedules), and unlimited PTO. In fact, a survey found that 86% of candidates said DEI in the workplace is important to them. Another talent survey found that 60% of women and 50% of men consider the availability of flexible working hours during their job search.
Think about what’s important to the candidates you’re trying to attract, then highlight those details in the job description. When talking about DEI, please don’t use meaningless blanket statements like “we value diversity” and leave it at that. Be open and descriptive when talking about your company’s commitment to fostering a diverse, inclusive workplace.
Eliminate Formalities and Jargon
A conversational tone helps candidates connect with the role and your company. For example, using first-person and second-person language (“we” and “you”) instead of third-person language like “the ideal candidate” sounds less formal and personalizes the job description.
You should also eliminate internal jargon that doesn’t make sense to anyone outside your organization. Use clear language and standard terminology, especially in the job title. For example, “Software Engineer Level 9” is rather confusing, and it’s unlikely candidates are searching for jobs with that title. Is “Level 9” a senior position? If so, use the title “Senior Software Engineer” in your job description instead.