Inclusive Language in the Recruiting Process: Attracting Diverse Applicants

Inclusive Language in the Recruiting Process: Attracting Diverse Applicants

Inclusive Language in the Recruiting Process


The language you use in your hiring process can make a strong impression on potential applicants. Word choice is important – it conveys the spirit and values ​​of your company and gives candidates an idea of ​​what to expect as an employee. , can create a welcoming atmosphere that attracts a wider range of candidates.

Attracting a wide range of applicants also provides a wide range of hiring opportunities. Each candidate brings a different perspective, background, experience and perspective. Restricting your recruiting efforts to a small number of candidates also limits your chances of finding the right person for your needs.


inclusive language definition

Inclusive language avoids words and phrases that exclude or discriminate against certain groups of people. It’s a fair way of expressing ideas. Inclusiveness means eliminating bias and respecting all potential applicants.

Why are inclusive languages ​​important?

An inclusive language creates a sense of security. You can let people from all walks of life know that it’s a place where they can be themselves without worrying about affecting their affiliation and relationship building.


Inclusiveness also benefits your bottom line. Committing to an inclusive culture opens your company to an exciting world of potential job seekers. A McKinsey study shows that diversified companies are 25% more profitable for him than non-diversified companies. Simply put, by leveraging the diverse experiences and perspectives of our diverse and inclusive team, we can effectively outperform our competitors. Work needs to be done to make the recruiting materials more comprehensive. This process requires us to question our own unspoken biases and be open to other perspectives. Sometimes it’s just awareness. They may be unaware that certain expressions are discriminatory or rooted in a negative past.

As you move to inclusive languages, start with these parts of the recruitment and hiring process:

  • job description
  • Application forms and forms
  • Written and verbal communication with the applicant
  • pre-hire test
  • Questions about job interviews
  • Job Information

gender language

For inclusive language, gender is a good starting point. As a rule of thumb, we recommend removing gender-based language from your hiring process.

  • Pronoun: When talking about a candidate or describing a preferred candidate, don’t use “him” or “she” pronouns unless you have designated them as your preferred pronoun. Try using “they” as the singular pronoun instead. Another option is to use “you” to point the material at the person.
  • director: Historically, job titles default to masculine.
    For example, postman, firefighter, salesman. For a comprehensive language, try Postman, Firefighter, and Salesperson.
  • Gender code: Ensure all applicants feel welcome by avoiding words historically associated with a particular gender. Words such as “aggressive” and “ambitious” can indicate preferences for male candidates, while “empathetic” and “caring” can indicate preferences for female candidates.
  • Sex as an insult: Avoid gender-derogatory terms such as “think like a man,” “make mommy easy,” and “throw like a girl.”

age distortion

Age is often overlooked in diversity, but it can bring significant benefits to your business. Employees of different ages bring completely different perspectives and experiences.

To make people of all ages feel comfortable applying for a job, avoid words that communicate a preferred age range. “Digital native” is one example; since that term is often used in connection with young people, an older applicant might read the post and decide not to apply. A better option is to use phrasing such as “familiar with emerging social media platforms” or “willing to complete training in new technologies.” These phrases communicate the same qualities, but they could easily apply to anyone.

Other terms to avoid are:

  • Recent college graduate
  • Young company
  • Youthful
  • Young professionals
  • Go-getter
  • High energy
  • Tech-savvy

Avoiding age bias isn’t just a best practice for inclusivity; it may also help your company avert claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA).

Race, ethnicity and religion

It’s not just problematic to ask about a candidate’s race, ethnicity, or religion. Also, expressions that may subtly convey discrimination in these areas include:

  • native english speaker
  • share Catholic values
  • follow a professional dress code
  • Graduated from a Top Tier/Ivy League University
  • just shaved
  • Neat, professional appearance

qualifications and experience

Job descriptions can be a minefield of non-inclusive language, especially when it comes to qualifications and experience. Use these tips to make your job postings more inclusive.

  • Don’t put an upper limit on years of experience. Instead of requiring candidates to have 5-7 years of experience, she could ask for a minimum of 5 years of experience. That way you don’t exclude people with a long career history.
  • Avoid providing professional background. Suitable candidates for your job offer may come from different industries or positions. A more comprehensive option is to list the type of skills and experience required for the position. B. “Control a large budget” or “oversee a department.”
  • Make education less demanding: Strict requirements for certain educational backgrounds and degrees can discourage qualified candidates from applying for jobs. While some careers and positions certainly require formal training, you should ask yourself if you need a degree to be successful in your desired position.
  • Distinguish between required and desired qualifications. This strategy can encourage a wider range of candidates to apply, even if they don’t fit your profile perfectly. The “must have” list should only contain non-negotiable skills, qualifications, or experience that the candidate must have on day one. Everything else is on my wishlist. If you’re willing to train new hires in a particular skill, let them know too.

Comprehensive language support in recruitment

Once you’ve made the effort to move to inclusive representation, make sure every element of your hiring process conveys a similar message.

Ways to strengthen inclusive representation in hiring include:

  • Create accessible materials
  • Demonstrate diversity in marketing materials. Use real employees instead of stock photos whenever possible
  • Create and publish a formal diversity and inclusion policy
  • Train recruiters, interviewers, hiring managers, and employees in comprehensive language and practices

When inclusive language is supported through organizational materials, actions, and policies, it helps create an atmosphere that encourages all types of people to apply.


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