How to write an inclusive job description?

Recruitment starts with defining the scope of the role and writing an accurate and appealing job description. It is a critical step in the recruitment process to ensure the pool of candidates to choose from is not only relevant but wide enough to choose from and eventually hire the most suitable candidate for the role. In STEM sectors, this is particularly important considering the significant skills shortage and the challenges organisations are facing to attract and retain talent. However, with the velocity of the recruitment process, it can be difficult for employers to take a step back and ensure they have the correct methodology to write an impactful and inclusive job description. Additionally, several people can be involved in the drafting process and not everyone may be aware of best practice. Depending on their role, they may focus on a specific aspect of the job description or role and forget about other aspects whether it is the structure, tone, list of requirements or benefits.

We have gathered the key points that need to be considered when writing a job description. These should help you review and assess if your job descriptions are doing what they are meant to: encouraging the right candidates to apply, ensuring you have a wide pool of talents to choose from and providing a positive experience to potential candidates.

Consider who the advert is aimed at.

Job descriptions can have a powerful effect on the reader. When we scan over such documents we will either consciously or unconsciously ask: is this role for me?

Questions you can ask yourself:

  • Are you drafting a job description for an early career role or a more senior role?
  • Are you providing the relevant information for the audience you are targeting?
  • Have you asked someone in your organisation to read through the job description and provide feedback on how it could be perceived?

Consider how the advert comes across.

When someone speaks, their tone indicates their attitude. This is also true of a document, piece of writing or job description where an organisation’s voice is speaking to potential applicants.

Questions you can ask yourself:

  • How would you describe your company culture? Do your job descriptions reflect this?
  • What do you want the candidate to see when they look at your advert?
  • Is the tone friendly, engaging, motivating, or intimidating?

Consider what the advert is saying.

The structure and content of your job description are critical to providing a clear and accurate picture of what the job looks like. This means only including information that is essential for the role but also ensuring the wording can be understood by a wide range of job seekers.

Questions you can ask yourself:

  • Is your list of requirements reflective of the level of experience and skills of your audience? Have you considered whether criteria are really essential or are more desirable? Can they be taught on the job? Would you consider someone who does not meet all the criteria listed?
  • Is the language used clear? Have you tried not to use too much technical or business jargon?
  • Have you included some information that is not essential and could exclude potential candidates?

Check whether the advert answers the candidates’ questions.

Job seekers will have questions in mind when reading a job description or a few things that are non-negotiable for them whether it is location, salary, learning and development opportunities, flexible working, and the culture or mission of the organisation.

Questions you can ask yourself:

  • Have you answered all the questions candidates may have when reading the job description? If not, can you add more information?
  • Are you clear on the requirements for your audience? Students doing a placement may need some time for their studies while a professional may want to know about the development opportunities within the organisation).
  • Have you provided information about the benefits, flexible working policy and salary? These are key for any job seeker to know if the role is a step up from their current role and if the working environment and conditions align with their personal circumstances.
  • Have you provided a contact for people who may want to find out more about the job or may need adjustments throughout the application process?
Did you know?

Equate CareerHub can help employers widen their talent pool by reviewing their job descriptions for unconscious bias and gendered language. We also provide recommendations on how to widen the talent pool. We do so by improving the inclusivity of your job description, publishing your role on our job board, and promoting it to our network of women in STEM.

If you would like to know more, contact us at

To find out more about the importance of inclusive recruitment click here