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October Employment Bulletin – Language used in recruitment

Are your job adverts accidentally putting off potential applicants? A recent LinkedIn report looked at the language used in job adverts and found various phrases that can often deter a potential applicant from applying. The survey of more Read more...

Are your job adverts accidentally putting off potential applicants? A recent LinkedIn report looked at the language used in job adverts and found various phrases that can often deter a potential applicant from applying. The survey of more than 1000 employees and 250 recruitment managers found that more than half of women would be put off by an advert describing the workplace as ‘aggressive’, compared with only a third of men. Surprisingly, there are more than 50,000 jobs on LinkedIn which include the word ‘aggressive’ in their description. 

More women than men were also put off by the term ‘born leader’. The approaches to annual leave and flexible working have also differed between the genders, with more women than men giving these issues top priority.

The survey found that many employers do not consider gender when writing job descriptions or track the genders of those responding to adverts. This means employers may be oblivious to the effect that certain parts of an advert may have on potential job applicants. If certain groups are put off applying for jobs, the pool of talent at a business’s disposal can soon shrink. 

Employers should ensure that certain types of language, including ‘masculine coded’ phraseology, are identified and substituted for more thoughtful, inclusive language. It would be beneficial for everyone involved in the recruitment process to undertake training on the appropriate language to use in job adverts and recruitment in general. 

However, exclusive language is part of a much wider issue. It is just as important to ensure that your workplace is free of accidental bias. Comprehensive equalities training for all staff should be mandatory, and could provide a necessary step in ensuring your workplace does not exclude certain groups of people; whether intentional or not.