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How to write an inclusive job advert

Picture of a yellow backgroung with a megaphone and a piece of paper that says 'we are hiring'.

Diversity in the workplace – we’re all fans of that. But where do you start?

Finding new employees and colleagues begins with a job advert. By making it accessible and inclusive, you increase the chances of finding diverse candidates. But what expectations do you express and how accessible is the text of your advert? Venture to invest in applicants who will bring different talents with them. Let’s get you going with six tips.

1 Be clear

Mention explicitly in your job advert that your company has a diverse workforce and values diversity. To start with, you can add a brief sentence (‘we are open to applicants from all backgrounds, nationalities, ...’). Make sure that you make your efforts to increase diversity visible on your website and other channels too, both in text and in images.

2 Describe the capacities you’re after as concretely as possible

Take a look at the demands you’re making. Are they inclusive? You might for example describe the job requirements in terms of behaviour rather than in terms of characteristics. So instead of ‘you are results-oriented’ you could write ‘you’re capable of achieving results’.

3 Make achievable demands

Make clear what qualities and responsibilities you’re after. Potential applicants should not need to guess whether or not they’re suitable for the job. Don’t make demands that in retrospect are unnecessarily high and will deter even the most motivated of potential applicants. Don’t for example say that a particular diploma is required if you could find those same qualities by a different route.

4 Be flexible

Ask your applicants whether they need adaptations, logistical or otherwise, to enable them to participate in a job interview. For example, give people the option of applying for the job in various ways, perhaps by means of video or audio files rather than the classic formula of CV plus motivation letter.

5 Use inclusive language

Make sure you are using inclusive language in your job advert. Use neutral pronouns, for example, and avoid difficult foreign words or jargon that the applicant might just as well learn in the workplace. You’re most likely to reach the group you’re after if you adjust your language to suit your target audience.

6 Use the right channels

Various groups can be reached most effectively via their own networks. Not everyone is on LinkedIn. Try for example platforms for people with sensory disabilities or autism.

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