Seven Strategies for a Good Gender Sensitive Job Advertisement

How to attract the best talent through a good job advertisement and build an employer brand that respects diversity and inclusion

An increasing number of companies are realizing that corporate culture and responsible human resources management have a significant impact on the desired employer branding, i.e. on attracting and retaining talent and, consequently, achieving better business results.

The changes that took place during the pandemic have had a significant impact on the labor market, so adequate people management and the recruitment of capable, dedicated candidates has become more important than before. Due to the accelerated digitalization, the labor market has outgrown local frameworks and become global, resulting in a lack of quality staff, especially in the technology industry and a large number of services.

Precisely because of the problem of finding quality candidates, organizations are forced to strategically approach this growing challenge by adapting employment strategies to become visible to all potential candidates who are a good fit for that particular organization.

 

“Hiring is the most important people function you have, and most of us are not as good at it as we think. Refocusing your resources on hiring better will have a higher return than almost any training program you can develop. ” – Laszlo Bock (Co-founder and CEO of Humu, author of Work Rules)

SEVEN STRATEGIES FOR A GOOD JOB ADVERTISEMENT

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Structured and slow employment for a good fit

A structured approach to employment helps companies ­select the best job candidates based on their personality traits, abilities, achievements to date, and their alignment with the needs of the company or team they are joining. A well-planned and implemented hiring process brings in the candidates we want and saves on the costs of hiring the wrong person.

The consequences of mistakes in selection bring significant invisible costs due to the time invested in the selection, investment in training, investment in the orientation program, low productivity, implementation of new recruitment procedures and possible legal and legal costs. According to some estimates, the average cost of hiring the wrong person is up to 30% of the cost of the first year of employment. Therefore, it is better to invest extra time in the assessment during the selection process and hire at a slower pace than to hire people who are not a good fit for our organization, team and the goals we need to achieve.

An additional advantage of a structured approach is the reduction of unconscious biases that often underlie the decision-making process on a subconscious level.

“The secret of my success is that we have gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world.” – Steve Jobs

Among the first publicly visible tools of an employment strategy is a good job advertisement . Here’s an overview of 7 good ad creation strategies for a job that will be devoid of unconscious biases and attract the candidates we want.

SEVEN STRATEGIES FOR A GOOD JOB ADVERTISEMENT

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1. Call the workplace by its real name

It is known that the name of their workplace is important to people, especially to the younger generations (Twenge, 2017). It is important that the name of the job corresponds to the description of the work to be performed, because otherwise the expectations do not match what future employees will receive after a few days of work. The discrepancy between the name and the real situation does not help the desired employer branding, but on the contrary leads to a boomerang effect with a possible negative impact.

 

 

2. Detailed job description

The job description should include a list of work tasks, the way they are performed, the expected responsibilities, a description of the lines of connection and the conditions in which the work takes place. In order for this to be possible, a preliminary analysis of the requirements of a certain job is necessary, which is defined in developed systems through the systematization of jobs.

Job descriptions resulting from job analysis, the organization through the systematization of jobs can be used later if the need arises for job transformation, planning new jobs, training, rewards and career planning.

 

 

3. Characteristics for the work and culture of the organization

The advertisement should contain key features that will enable the new employee or employees to perform successfully and which he / she will contribute to the overall business of the company.

Clearly indicate which knowledge, skills and competencies a person must possess and which are optional. In addition to making the selection process easier, you also indirectly increase the number of women among the candidates, because according to research, women do not apply for ads if they do not meet all job criteria, unlike men who apply and only partially recognize themselves in the description .

Since it is important to attract talents that will contribute to business goals, it is necessary to know what competencies we need. This is the basic framework of competencies that should be possessed by all employees and specific competencies for individual jobs. In the advertisement, state the competencies of the job for which you are looking for a candidate.

Be sure to highlight the values you hold dear, the required qualities of the candidate, and the attitude toward the job you expect. In order to be easier to identify in future jobs, it is desirable to describe the expected behaviors for successful work.

Expertise and education are an important part of the description and extremely important in specialist professions, but not necessarily in today’s growing number of jobs that require conceptual thinking. Good basic education is important for such jobs, while everything else, depending on the abilities and preferences of employees, can be compensated through targeted education and learning through work. Through the ad, try to draw attention to this important difference in order to open up to candidates from different professions who, thanks to their different education, can contribute to development and innovation through teamwork.

 

 

4. Set the tone for your employer brand

 

SEVEN STRATEGIES FOR A GOOD JOB ADVERTISEMENT

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The language you use sets the tone during your hiring process, from job advertisements to interviews and entering employment. Words reflect who you are as an employer, as do images, animations and content. Your employer brand relies on the tone of voice you use in all your communications, from job ads to social media posts, so it’s important to keep this in mind when creating ads. According to a study by Gaucher, Friesen and Kay (2019), gender-specific text in job advertisements directs candidates to apply according to their gender – male-coded words such as “leading”, “analytical”, “dominant” encourage more male candidates. while words coded to women such as “sensitive”, “responsible” and “attached” attract more female talent. The study found that every job ad in the UK uses an average of 17 per cent more male than female words. This bias is widespread in several sectors, with 60% of all industries in the UK showing significant male bias in job advertisements.

The use of certain words to describe certain roles is often unintentional and unconscious, potentially leading to stereotypical expectations, because although they do not explicitly target male candidates, the ad attracts a particular gender with its language and tone.

Research shows that there is a pronounced male bias in ads for higher positions, while supporting roles are worded in female coded words, which certainly contributes to gender inequality on an unconscious level.

No less important is the issue of (in) formality. Depending on the job, organization and age of the desired candidates, adjust this important part as well. More informal language attracts younger candidates, while those with more experience will more often find themselves in more formal descriptions.

Unconscious gender bias in a job advertisement, whether in word or image, limits the number of applications and selects candidates by gender, age or ethnicity. Since many qualified candidates are already discouraged in the application due to the ad itself, the number of talented candidates, including employees, is unintentionally reduced. The company is ultimately at a loss as it has failed to attract the best. Examples of companies that have recognized this problem show that it is possible to make a change with just a little intervention in the content of the ad, taking into account the language, tone and visuals.

 

 

5. Be sure to specify the mode of operation and flexible options

 

SEVEN STRATEGIES FOR A GOOD JOB ADVERTISEMENT

Photo credit: Shutterstock, Inc.

According to a Deloitte study (2021) conducted on more than 10,000 millennials, 50 percent of those surveyed rated flexibility as important in choosing an employer. Even in large, traditional industries, progressive companies are becoming open to a more flexible attitude towards working hours, sliding arrivals and departures, occasional work from home, days off that allow for a better balance of life roles.

As an employer, consider what forms of flexible working are applicable in the organization for each job and for the business because one measure does not apply to everyone. Flexibility should be designed to meet the needs of the business processes, the workplace, the individual and the team with which he or she works.

In the job advertisement, state very clearly what kind of flexibility is provided for the advertised job. If you have space, you can describe the conditions of flexible working, but it is not necessary, you can leave that part for later direct conversation with candidates and thus immediately get feedback on what forms of flexibility would be useful to them. This is a useful way to research the market based on which you can adapt your existing ways of working.

 

 

6. Describe development opportunities

It is well known in business that every investment needs to be carefully planned and realized, and the return on investment needs to be evaluated. Employers who want to capitalize on investing in “human capital” will strive to create a culture that values personal and professional development, training and professional development. Depending on the real capabilities of your organization, describe what is important to you and what you will offer as an employer. And again, don’t promise what you can’t fulfill because that way you will attract candidates who aren’t for your organization which will have long-term and costly consequences.

Be honest in your offer and attract exactly those candidates who like what you offer. This is the right way to build and support the desired brand of the employer.

 

 

7. Stand out as an equal opportunity employer

Employers of equal opportunities attract the attention of candidates who are different by some criteria. Those who are not mainstream as well as those who otherwise, for some reason would not be recognized in the advertised workplace. A good example is an ad for a senior position in NATO where men are more likely to be recognized, or for a cosmetics company where women are more likely to be recognized. There are countless similar examples, and this one sentence really makes a difference and draws the attention of those candidates who would not otherwise be considered good enough or simply appropriate for this particular organization.

 

Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring was – and still is – the most important thing we do.” – Marc Bennioff (Co-founder and Co-CEO of Salesforce)

 

 

If you still have questions about ways to make yourself the employer of choice for the candidates you need to achieve your business goals, we are here for you.

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    Literature:

    Friesen, JP, Laurin, K., Shepherd, S., Gaucher, D. and Kay, AC (2019) System justification: Experimental evidence, its contextual nature, and implications for social change. No. J. Soc. Psychol., 58: 315-339.

    Hunter, A. (2019) Job ads show sexism still prevalent in most industries. The director. URL: https://www.thehrdirector.com/

    Twenge, JM (2017), “iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy – and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood-and What That Means for the Rest of Us”