Equity in recruitment begins with the job description – CRN – Bendi Service

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Cass McMann of The Channel Company says the first step to an inclusive hire is the job description.


By Cass McMann

The much-cited 2020 McKinsey Equity and Inclusion study found that a diverse workforce can lead to higher-performing and more profitable teams. However, questions remain about how to increase diversity in the hiring pipeline.

But is there really a problem with pipeline diversity? The racial and gender landscape of the United States is changing, with each generation becoming increasingly diverse. It is estimated that by 2030, eight years from now, 21 percent of the US population will be Hispanic or Hispanic. Women of Color will eclipse the majority of all women by 2060.

Recruitment and hiring are key components in increasing organizational diversity and improving inclusion. However, the first step to inclusive hiring is often overlooked: the job description.

[RELATED: 10 Important DEI Trends For The Channel To Keep Top Of Mind]

According to British International Investment’s Gender Toolkit, job descriptions are the most visible part of the recruitment process and have the potential to lead to a balanced and diverse range of applicants. Yet many hiring managers, recruiters, and employers are unaware of the implicit biases in their job postings, thereby limiting their “talent pool through the language, structure, and information” included or excluded from job descriptions. Although often unintentional, outdated language has the potential to minimize attractiveness to applicants drawn from historically excluded worker groups. For those looking to expand their employee value proposition, with a growing global workforce, understanding what terms and language are becoming obsolete is crucial.

If you’re writing job descriptions aimed at enhancing employee value propositions, here are some suggestions:

* Make it clear that your company is committed to hiring diverse talent and building an inclusive culture. A well-defined diversity, equity and inclusion roadmap is an essential part of attracting talent. However, this commitment should be woven into the framework of the organization. Start with a clear statement that is actionable and whose success can be measured.

* Be clear and concise, listing only necessary requirements and limiting industry terms that are not universal. Avoid acronyms as they narrow the pool of potential candidates. When specific skills are absolutely required, use qualifying phrases such as “An ideal candidate will have experience in…” or “We are looking for someone with a healthy mix of the following…”

* Avoid outdated language and titles. Note that terms and definitions are constantly changing, so making sure the language is balanced is just as important. When describing roles and responsibilities, subtle descriptive adjectives can be gender-centric or stereotypically associated with whiteness. For example, terms like “competitive” and “ambitious” are stereotypes for men, while “compassionate” and “collaborative” are attributed to women. Equal opportunity in hiring can start with the job description, but it doesn’t end there. Internally, organizations that strive for equal opportunity in hiring are best positioned by:

* Conduct internal audits biennially for racial, gender, age or other biased earnings disparities by conducting an equity review and compensation comparison. In the US, the gender pay gap has narrowed but not yet closed, with women of color earning the least compared to white men, who are the top earners both domestically and internationally. Organizations that promote equal hiring opportunities are best placed to close the wage gap by enacting wage policies based on objective criteria rather than standards, which can be subjective.

* Look for employee candidates who offer a cultural enhancement rather than those who offer a cultural fit. Companies often work to fill the space that becomes available when a member of the team moves to another position. However, an inclusive culture will focus on what skills the team is lacking and how the culture can be improved by their new hires. By looking at the job roles of current team members and writing the job description to fill in the missing components, a more diverse candidate pool can be leveraged.

Simply put, finding equity in the employee pipeline to increase diversity requires an examination of hiring policies, practices and procedures. Organizations looking to achieve their inclusion mission are best served by taking steps beyond the talent pool and employee pipeline. They will also be best served by eliminating bias in job descriptions, focusing on pay equity, and seeking culture-enhancing candidates. You are the future of work.

Cass McMann, MHR, is the DEI Community Leader at The Channel Company, CRN’s parent company.

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