Society has deeply embedded, unhelpful and inaccurate stereotypes of what men and women are interested in and what their ambitions can be, this can be manifested in the words we use.
Language has proved to be a significant barrier in recruiting more women into the STEM industries and the way a job description is written can turn women off applying for a role.
‘Competitive’, ‘ambitious’, ‘confident’ and even ‘ninja’ are common words used in job descriptions, but research tells us that these have masculine connotations, and job descriptions loaded with masculine words and superlatives can put women off applying.
Instead describe exactly what the role is and the types of skills required to fulfil the role. Women are attracted to job adverts if the advert is clear, concise and they can see how their own values and interests relate to the job role.
To widen the talent pool avoid language such as ‘physically fit’ or ‘energetic’. Instead describe the physical requirements of the role so people with disabilities can consider whether it is suitable for them. Remember that there might be support you could put in place for a disabled person to do the job.
By considering the wording of your job description you can diversify the candidate pool and encourage a diverse range of candidates to apply for your role.
But its not all about the job description…