How to make your job adverts more inclusive

21 March 2022
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In this blog, Karen Harlow, Digital Manager at CharityJob, looks at the steps they've taken and others can take to make their job advertisements more inclusive.

Equality, diversity and inclusion have been a particular focus for charities these last few years. This, combined with the current candidate shortage, means you need to make doubly sure your job adverts are as inclusive and welcoming to all candidates as possible. At CharityJob we’ve been working to help charities make their recruitment fairer and more inclusive. Here are some of the things we’ve done—and some of the things you can do—to help.

Don’t ask for unnecessary requirements

It’s a known fact that while men will apply for roles when they only meet 60% of the requirements, women won’t apply unless they meet 100% of the criteria. Therefore the more, and more specific, requirements you have, the more people you’ll be deterring from applying. Ask yourself if it’s really essential the candidate has five years’ experience, or previous management experience. If they have the right skills and three years’ experience then surely they would still be a good fit? And you could always send them on a management training course. 

At CharityJob we’ve added a note on our post-a-job page to remind charities to check that any role requirements they are listing as ‘essential’ really are that, to avoid excluding potential candidates.

Similarly, don’t ask for a degree if it isn’t genuinely necessary to the role. The important thing is the skillset the candidate has, and it’s unlikely fundraising skills will have been directly gained from a degree. At CharityJob we’ve added a note on our post-a-job page to remind charities to check that any role requirements they are listing as ‘essential’ really are that, to avoid excluding potential candidates.

Advertise the salary

We believe in fairness and transparency in recruitment. Therefore CharityJob no longer accepts UK-based roles without a disclosed salary. Not advertising the salary excludes applicants and wastes time. Not only will it stop candidates from applying if they can’t be sure the role will pay what they need, but it also means you potentially risk losing candidates at the final stage when they eventually learn the salary. Being upfront about your offer opens the role to a wider range of candidates and encourages diversity. It can also double the number of applications for UK-based roles.

Be open to candidates from outside the sector

The pandemic has prompted many to consider a career change and our recent survey revealed that 66% of CharityJob’s active candidates are currently working outside the charity sector. That’s a huge talent pool you can potentially tap into. Again, the key here is the necessary skills. Candidates with experience in sales, marketing or business development are bound to have skills transferable to fundraising. If you’re open to these candidates, make that clear by stating it in your job advert and person specification.

Be flexible

Even before the pandemic, charities led the way with flexible working practices, but the importance of this to candidates has shot up in the last year. Think about both the location of the role and the timing of the hours worked. How often do employees really need to come into the office? Do you need to stipulate a set number of days? Can working hours be flexible around school drop-off and pick-up times? Think about the needs of working parents and those with disabilities or chronic health conditions. Are you open to part-time hours or job-shares? The more flexible you can be, the more candidates you’ll appeal to. So don’t forget to clearly advertise the flexibility you offer and let them know. On the CharityJob website we’ve added a new ‘workplace’ filter on our job search page so candidates can search by ‘remote’, ‘on-site’ and ‘hybrid’ roles.

Use anonymous recruitment

Although people may have the best of intentions, including undertaking unconscious bias training, research has showed that it’s very difficult to remove bias from people. It’s much more effective to remove the bias from the process and that’s why you should consider using anonymous recruitment. Anonymous recruitment means applications are reviewed blind, with candidates’ key details, such as names, locations and email addresses remaining hidden until the first contact with each applicant. This means applications can be judged solely on the candidate’s ability to do the job. As part of our commitment to building a fairer sector, at CharityJob we offer the ability to anonymise applications through our applicant tracking system, Applicant Manager, which is free to anyone who posts a job with us.

Be careful with language

Did you know that something as simple as the words you use in your job advert could be putting off candidates? Words like ‘dynamic’ and ‘energetic’ can deter older candidates, while using language like ‘driven’ and ‘determined’ can make women think the role wouldn’t be suitable for them. So think very carefully about each word you use in job adverts and person specifications and consider running them through a gender decoder to help spot anything you’ve missed.

The key to making your job adverts more inclusive is to be as honest and upfront as possible and make sure you stay focused on the key skills needed for the role. If you want to attract more applicants from a particular group, e.g. ethnic minorities, then specifically state this in your advert. And don’t assume things like flexible hours go without saying, candidates won’t know unless you tell them. At CharityJob we’ll continue to work to make hiring processes fairer in the sector. And the bonus of more inclusive recruitment is that charities will attract more, and more diverse, applicants to your roles, and that can only ever be a benefit.

Karen Harlow
Karen Harlow
Digital Content Manager at CharityJob
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