Job Descriptions To Attract Diverse Candidates

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Job Descriptions To Attract Diverse Candidates

Today's job market is undoubtedly competitive, for candidates and companies. Add to this level of competition, the need for diversity amongst workforce shortages and several other detractors, and the hiring process becomes even more challenging. Crafting job descriptions to attract diverse candidates is paramount to building a candidate pipeline that can compete for top talent in today's marketplace. Such efforts fall under the broader scope of DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) initiatives, with DEI job descriptions serving as a critical first step.

DEI Job Descriptions

The term Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was first coined in the late 1980s, but it actually has roots in the civil rights movements of the 90160s. Recently the term has gained widespread attention and become a priority for many organizations as the benefits of building a diverse team are recognized globally. Companies are seeing the benefits of having a diverse workforce and creating an inclusive work environment in real time as metrics and KPIs track the influence of companies with DEI agendas compared with those that don't.

DEI job descriptions go beyond simply listing necessary skills and qualifications for a particular role. Explicitly designing inclusive job descriptions allows organizations to signal their commitment to building an inclusive workforce and culture to support a wide spectrum of applicants.

How to Attract and Recruit Diverse Candidates: Starting with a Job Description

Writing an inclusive job description is actually far easier than you may think- but there are some things you must keep in mind. Diversity-focused job descriptions must be appealing to a broad range of candidates. This means using inclusive language and avoiding exclusionary terms and assumptions around gender, race, age, disability, or any other bias.

  • Use Inclusive Language: Be mindful of the words you use in your job description. Using diverse language that is welcoming to all applicants is essential.
  • Avoid Exclusionary Terms: Some seemingly harmless phrases may actually be exclusionary, such as "recent graduate" or "digital native". These terms can exclude candidates from different backgrounds and experiences.
  • Focus on Skills and Qualifications: Instead of focusing on specific degrees or years of experience, highlight the skills and qualifications a candidate needs to succeed in the role. This allows for a more diverse pool of candidates who may have obtained their skills and experience through non-traditional means.
  • Emphasize Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives: Make sure to highlight any diversity and inclusion initiatives your company has in place, such as employee resource groups or mentorship programs. This shows potential candidates that diversity is a priority for your organization.

These four points should be your primary considerations if you're trying to be inclusive in your job descriptions. So what does an inclusive job description look like? Here's an example of an inclusive job description for an Account Executive:

Account Executive at Innovative Startup

We are a vibrant startup on a mission to revolutionize our industry. With ambition at our core, we aim to reach an impressive milestone of $500k in sales in our first year. To achieve this, we're on the lookout for an enthusiastic and driven Account Executive (AE) who shares our commitment to excellence and growth. This role isn’t just about hitting targets—it’s about breaking barriers and setting new standards.

What You'll Do:

  • Develop and execute strategic plans to achieve sales targets and expand our customer base.
  • Build and maintain strong, long-lasting customer relationships.
  • Partner with customers to understand their business needs and objectives.
  • Effectively communicate the value proposition through proposals and presentations.
  • Report on forces that shift strategic directions of accounts and tactical budgets.

You Are:

  • A goal-oriented individual with a passion for sales, ready to take on the challenge of reaching a $500k sales milestone in our first year.
  • Someone with an excellent ability to establish rapport and communicate with people.
  • A proactive problem-solver who enjoys working in dynamic, fast-paced environments.
  • An advocate (example product and the impact it can have on the industry).

What We Offer:

  • An opportunity to be part of a groundbreaking startup with a goal of $500k in year-one sales.
  • Base salary of $70k with an On-target earnings (OTE) of $100k, because we believe in rewarding our team members for their hard work and contributions.
  • A commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, with initiatives designed to foster an inclusive environment where everyone can thrive.
  • A culture that values each team member’s growth, with opportunities for professional development and advancement.


  • Proven sales experience and closing experience in SaaS.
  • Strong communication, negotiation, and interpersonal skills, with the ability to connect and engage with people at all levels.
  • The drive and commitment to work independently, effectively manage priorities, and thrive in a fast-paced startup environment.
  • Alignment with our mission and values, and a desire to make a significant impact through your work.

At [Example Company], we believe that diversity fuels innovation and creativity, and we are committed to building a team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and skills. If you’re excited about joining a startup with ambitious goals and a supportive, inclusive culture, we’d love to hear from you.

Please note, that while previous experience in sales is a must, what’s most important to us is your determination, attitude, and willingness to learn. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply, especially those who are driven to build something great from the ground up.

Join us on this thrilling ride to make an indelible mark on our industry and your career!

If you'd like to learn more about DEI hiring, our team created a DEI virtual interview guide linked to our interview intelligence software. In the guide, you'll learn more about how to make hiring diverse candidates simple.

Common Pitfalls And Biases In Traditional Job Descriptions

Reddit threads and LinkedIn feeds are full of hilarious examples of the common pitfalls we see in writing job descriptions. The developer and creator of FastAPI, Sebastian Ramirez recently posted on X that he saw a job description requiring 4 years of experience on a solution he only created a year and a half before. Stories like these are everywhere- so in this section, let's talk about the common pitfalls you may experience when writing job descriptions to attract diverse candidates.

One of the most notable common pitfalls and biases in traditional job descriptions is the inadvertent inclusion of gender bias in job descriptions. This can manifest through gender bias words in job descriptions, such as using "he" or "she" instead of "they" or specifying characteristics that might be unconsciously associated with a particular gender, like "aggressive" for males or "supportive" for females. Subtle cues like these can deter a wide range of candidates from applying which greatly limits your candidate pool.

Another pitfall revolves around the requirements listed in job descriptions that may not be essential for the role, such as specific degree qualifications or years of experience. This can inadvertently exclude candidates who may have acquired similar skills through alternative pathways like coding boot camps, accelerated learning programs, and those in less senior roles. As you can imagine, this also greatly narrows your applicant pool and hampers efforts in writing job descriptions to attract diverse candidates.

Similarly, job descriptions that lack clarity about the organization's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) may fail to attract candidates who place high value on these principles. Omitting information on DEI initiatives or not explicitly welcoming applicants from diverse backgrounds can suggest an environment that is not inclusive.

Luckily, overcoming these pitfalls is not hard. If you're willing to scrutinize your job descriptions for DEI compliance and exclude language and requirements that could be construed as biased or exclusive, you're already ahead of the curve. If our number one goal is to build a high-performing diverse workforce that can overcome the challenges of tomorrow, we need to look at how our policies and practices are supporting those ends- and unintentional bias in job descriptions is a great place to start!

Key Elements Of Inclusive Job Descriptions

The key elements of inclusive job descriptions encompass not only the language and tonality but also the structure and content that resonates with a wide array of job seekers. Here, we break down these elements to help organizations draft job postings that attract diverse candidates and support diversity, equity, and inclusion within the workplace.

  • Clear and Neutral Job Titles: The foundation of an inclusive job description is a clear and gender-neutral job title. Avoid titles with gendered connotations or industry jargon that might not be universally understood.
  • Skill-Based Requirements: Prioritize skills and competencies over specific degrees or rigid years of experience. This approach opens opportunities for candidates who have acquired relevant skills through non-traditional paths, thereby widening your talent pool.
  • Inclusive Language: An essential element is using language that does not alienate any potential candidates. This means avoiding jargon, and gender-coded words (like "rockstar" for aggressive or "nurturing" for supportive), and ensuring the use of pronouns and examples that reflect a diversity of applicants.
  • Showcase DEI Commitment: An inclusive job description example prominently displays the organization's commitment to DEI. Mentioning specific initiatives, such as mentorship programs, inclusivity training, or employee resource groups, signals to candidates that diversity is valued and supported.
  • Benefits and Flexibility: Highlighting benefits that support diverse lifestyles and needs, such as flexible working hours, remote work options, family leave policies, and health insurance that includes partners, can make the job more attractive to a broad spectrum of applicants.
  • EEO Statement: A strong equal employment opportunity (EEO) statement not only meets legal requirements in many cases but also reaffirms the organization's commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive work environment.
  • Process Transparency: Explaining the recruiting process within the job description provides transparency and sets expectations, aiding candidates from diverse backgrounds to understand and engage with the process fully.

Adhering to these key elements of inclusive job descriptions will significantly enhance an organization's ability to attract and hire diverse talent. This will set your organization up for success when competing for top talent!

If you're struggling to find a hiring system that helps you achieve your DEI goals, book a demo of Pillar. We'd love to show you how interview intelligence can increase diversity hiring by more than 42% while also lowering attrition rates.