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Diversity, equality and inclusion. 5 tips and tricks for writing your vacancy texts.

  • 25-11-2021 10:29 AM
Larissa Kampert
Written by
Larissa Kampert

Within this tight labor market, it is important that a potential candidate is immediately enthusiastic about your vacancy. If your job description does not emphasize what you are looking for, you can quickly lose candidates. It has also become even more important these days to write inclusively. After all, you want to try to reach the largest possible audience. In this blog we give you 5 tips & tricks for writing diverse, equal and inclusive vacancy texts.

This part may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s often underestimated. If you have a lot of knowledge about something, you are often inclined to talk in professional terms. This can be confusing for someone who is just starting a career, and that person will therefore drop out faster. If you are looking for someone with experience in the field, it can be good to use the really well-known phrases. It is therefore important that you first have the right candidate in mind, and then adjust the vacancy text accordingly. Also try to avoid English phrases (when speaking another language), unless of course it concerns an international position.

Vague language
Suppose you read the following sentence: ''For this spider-in-the-web function we are looking for a real creative jack-of-all-trades who will assist our sales tigers to land their prey.'' This is of course very exaggerated, but you get the idea. This only raises the question of whether the company is actually looking for people or a zoo. Phrases such as "creative jack-of-all-trades", "sales tigers", "spider-in-the-web" etc. can be interpreted as vague language. We are of course not implying that you should never use it, but be careful with the amount. One last tip from us regarding vague language: always keep asking. For example, if you type: “We are an enthusiastic team.” Try answering the why question. Why are we an enthusiastic team? How can you tell? Do you dance on the tables every day or do you have party decorations at the office? With these small details you can make all the difference between a mediocre and a good job description.

Subconscious prejudice
Prejudice, we all have them (subconsciously). However, you must make sure that you don’t show any in the vacancy text. We are used to sorting out entire groups into certain boxes, without looking at the individual. While writing your vacancy text, you may catch yourself putting prejudices in your text. Entire groups of people can therefore be excluded by specific language used in vacancies. It is therefore important that you do not discriminate and that you write in gender neutral language.

That is of course easier said than done, since men and women also interpret the Dutch language differently. Words such as commercial, result-oriented, analytical, stress-resistant and independent appeal to men more. Words such as careful, communicative, involved, creative and customer-friendly are words that women associate with. So you have to go for the golden mean. Words like practical and intelligent are gender neutral according to men and women. It also depends on how you deliver a text. For example, if you are really looking for someone who is stress-resistant, without wanting to exclude women, it would then be better to describe stress-resistant as a situation and not as a characteristic. Example: In busy times you keep your cool and do the right things. This way you can play with the text and make sure that everything is gender neutral and appeals to your larger target groups.

Diversity and Inclusion
You may not easily come across as discriminatory with masculine and feminine words in a vacancy texts. So when would it be the case? By using words such as: young, recently graduated, starter, etc. You are therefore looking for a specific target group, and it really shows too much in your vacancy texts. As a result, someone who has only been working in the market for three years will drop out. It is also prohibited by law to discriminate in vacancy texts.

The LGBTQ is also on the rise and people prefer to be addressed with other pronouns. If you adjust your vacancy texts accordingly, it is easier to write more inclusively. You then refer more to a person you are looking for than actually a he or a she. This shows you as an employer that there is an open culture within your company and that you accept everyone.

Common mistakes in job postings
As a final tip, we would like to tell you the common mistakes in job descriptions. Maybe you are guilty of this, or maybe you already have everything sorted out. Either way, we're happy to tell you about them as a reminder, so you never forget.

- Age
You often distinguish between ages with words such as: starter, young, upcoming, recently graduated or maximum number of years of work experience. A word like junior does not indicate a distinction. If you use the word junior to the position, there is no problem (junior marketer), but if you use it to a candidate, this is not allowed and it is discriminatory. So pay close attention to where you use these words because officially this is not allowed.

- Equal eligibility
Some companies indicate in their vacancy texts that they prefer, for example, a woman. Unless you demonstrably have a preference policy, this is not allowed in vacancy texts. Fortunately, this is no longer that common.

- Forbidden requirements
The situations above are fairly common in vacancy texts, but we also list a few that are less common but just as important! You may not discriminate based on sexual orientation or political opinion. Not even during the job interview. 

In short, writing a vacancy text that is equal, inclusive and diverse can still be quite a challenge. With a lot of practice you can eventually write a good vacancy text that speaks the truth and can be amusing at the same time.

Do you need help writing job descriptions? Then we would like to introduce you to our partner Cortexter. CorTexter's Bias Detector makes job openings easier to find that more candidates respond to. The AI software identifies barriers that candidates may experience when reading a text, such as vague language, unconscious biases and sentences that are too long. And it gives concrete suggestions and tips for improvement. This way you get an optimized vacancy that scores better. The CorTexter software is also fully integrated with OTYS and therefore all the tips and tricks that are in this blog are available within the link, and all of that is fully automated!


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