Creating a Diverse Workforce starts with Inclusive Job Descriptions

Creating a Diverse Workforce

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

The journey towards a diverse workforce begins with the language used in job descriptions. Craft your job postings with care, avoiding language that may inadvertently discourage certain demographics from applying. Use inclusive language in job advertisements that focus on skills and qualifications rather than unnecessary requirements that may deter qualified candidates.

What does an inclusive job description look like?

Use Inclusive Language

Ensure that your job listing uses inclusive language that welcomes candidates from diverse backgrounds. Avoid gendered language or terminology that may inadvertently discourage certain groups from applying. For your job ads for example, instead of using terms like “rockstar” or “ninja,” opt for neutral language that emphasizes skills and qualifications.

Example: Instead of “Looking for a dynamic sales guru,” use “Seeking a skilled and motivated sales professional.”

Highlight Diversity and Inclusion Commitments

Explicitly communicate your organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the job listing and describe the intentional company culture. Share information about employee resource groups, diversity training programs, and any inclusive policies or benefits. This signals to potential candidates that your company values diversity and is actively engaging in inclusive behaviors in order to create a more inclusive culture.

Example: “We are proud to foster a workplace culture that celebrates diversity. Our company is committed to no gender bias, providing equal opportunities for all employees and promoting an inclusive environment.”

Provide a Diversity Statement

Include a diversity statement that encourages candidates from underrepresented groups to apply. This can be a brief but powerful statement that communicates your commitment to building a diverse team. Make it clear that your organization values diversity and believes it contributes to a more innovative and successful workplace.

Example: “We encourage applications from candidates of all backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. We believe that a diverse and inclusive workforce is essential for fostering creativity and achieving our business goals.”

Offer Flexible Work Options

Acknowledge the importance of work-life balance and demonstrate inclusivity by mentioning any flexible work options your company provides. This can include remote work opportunities, flexible scheduling, or other arrangements that accommodate diverse workforces’ needs and lifestyles.

Example: “We acknowledge the significance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance and provide adaptable work arrangements to cater to the needs of our employees. We welcome discussions about how we can accommodate your individual needs.”

Highlight Affinity Groups and Support Networks

If your company has affinity groups or support networks for underrepresented communities, mention them in the job listing. This helps candidates see that your organization actively fosters a sense of community and support for individuals with diverse backgrounds.

Example: “Our company is proud to have various affinity groups that provide a supportive network for employees. These groups create spaces for connection, mentorship, and professional development.”

By implementing these actionable steps, you can create a serious job posting and listing that not only attracts a diverse pool of candidates but also sets the tone for an inclusive and welcoming workplace culture.

Showcasing Diversity in Recruitment Materials

Highlighting diversity and inclusion efforts in recruitment materials is crucial for attracting a wide range of candidates. Showcase testimonials, success stories, and employee spotlights that exemplify the diverse experiences and backgrounds within your organization. Potential candidates are more likely to apply when they see a commitment to inclusivity in action.

Utilizing Diverse Recruitment Channels

To attract a diverse pool of applicants, explore various recruitment channels that cater to different demographics. Engage with community organizations, job fairs, and professional networks that focus on underrepresented groups in your industry. Partnering with these organizations not only expands your reach to attract diverse candidates, but also demonstrates a genuine commitment to diversity.

For example, is a neurodiverse recruiting network that enables easier applications for neurodivergent individuals and connects employers with the skills, knowledge, and ability to attract these productive candidates.

Implementing Blind Recruitment Practices

Consider implementing blind recruitment practices to mitigate unconscious bias during the initial stages of the hiring process. Remove personally identifiable information from resumes, such as names and addresses, to ensure that candidates are evaluated solely based on their skills and qualifications. This helps to level the playing field and provides equal opportunities for all applicants.

Creating an Inclusive Hiring Process

The interview process is a crucial stage where inclusivity efforts must be maintained. Train interviewers to be aware of and avoid any racial bias themselves, and ensure that diverse interview panels are in place to offer varied perspectives. Additionally, consider incorporating diverse interview techniques, such as skills assessments and scenario-based questions, to better evaluate a candidate’s abilities.

Create an easy channel to give candidates the ability to provide feedback on the process and ensure they have the right resources to have a successful interview. For someone who Autism, for example, it can be helpful to have additional time to process questions before providing an answer or to even have the questions ahead of time.

Steps to creating inclusive hiring practices

Creating an inclusive interview process is crucial for attracting and evaluating a diverse range of candidates. Here are key steps to ensure inclusivity in your interview process:

Diverse Interview Panels

A successful diverse interview panel is characterized by its representation of various demographics, professional backgrounds, and job levels, ensuring a comprehensive and inclusive assessment of candidates.

It is essential that hiring managers and each hiring team is aware of legal and ethical considerations related to hiring, and ongoing training opportunities should be provided to stay abreast of diversity, equity, and inclusion best practices.

The composition of the diverse interview panel not only contributes to fair evaluations but also signals the organization’s commitment to creating an inclusive workplace. By including individuals from various backgrounds and experiences, the panel sends a strong message that the company values diversity at every level.

Training for Interviewers

The hiring manager and diverse group should undergo training on unconscious bias and inclusive interviewing techniques, fostering a shared commitment to recognizing and mitigating biases. Additionally, the panel should possess effective communication skills, cultural sensitivity, and a dedication to collaborative decision-making, promoting a fair and respectful interview process.

Structured Interview Questions

Structured interview questions for inclusive job interviews aim to assess candidates’ skills and experiences while fostering a fair and unbiased evaluation. One example focuses on collaboration and teamwork, asking candidates to share a specific instance when they effectively collaborated with a diverse team, emphasizing strategies for inclusivity and open communication.

Collaboration and Teamwork

Example: Can you provide a specific example of a time when you collaborated effectively with a diverse team to achieve a common goal? What strategies did you employ to ensure inclusivity and open communication within the team?

Another example addresses adaptability and flexibility, prompting candidates to describe a situation where they navigated a major change at work and ensured inclusivity for all team members. These questions are designed to elicit responses that showcase candidates’ abilities to work inclusively, resolve conflicts, and consider diverse perspectives in decision-making, promoting a more equitable and inclusive hiring efforts and process.

Adaptability and Flexibility

Example: Describe a situation in which you had to adapt to a major change at work. How did you approach the change, and what steps did you take to ensure that it was inclusive for all team members, considering diverse perspectives?

Behavioral Interviewing

Behavioral interviewing is an approach to job interviews that focuses on a candidate’s past behaviors and experiences as indicators of their future performance. In this method, candidates are asked to provide specific examples of how they have handled situations, challenges, or accomplishments in their previous roles. The underlying principle is that past behavior is a reliable predictor of future behavior.

By probing candidates about concrete situations, actions taken, and results achieved, behavioral interviewing aims to elicit detailed responses that offer insights into a candidate’s problem-solving skills, interpersonal abilities, and overall competencies.

This technique helps employers make more informed hiring decisions by assessing how candidates have demonstrated key skills and qualities in real-world scenarios, providing a more comprehensive understanding of their potential fit within the organization.

Flexible Interview Formats

Flexible interview formats play a pivotal role in creating an inclusive and adaptable hiring process. These formats cater to the diverse needs of candidates, recognizing that individuals may have varying preferences, constraints, or circumstances. Employing video and phone interviews enables remote participation, addressing geographical limitations and offering scheduling flexibility. Assessment centers, project-based interviews, and interactive assessments provide dynamic ways to evaluate candidates’ practical skills.

The inclusion of asynchronous interviews and blind interviews helps level the playing field, allowing candidates to participate at their own pace while mitigating potential biases. By embracing these flexible interview formats, organizations can foster a more inclusive environment, ensuring that the hiring process accommodates a wide range of candidates and promotes diversity.

Additionally, incorporating inclusive panel compositions, flexible scheduling, and portfolio reviews further enhances the adaptability of the interview process. This approach not only considers candidates’ preferences but also promotes diverse perspectives and fair evaluations. Providing options for virtual, in-person, or gender neutral language on-site interviews, along with flexible timing, underscores a commitment to inclusivity. Ultimately, the integration of these flexible interview formats demonstrates an organization’s dedication to creating a candidate-centric and equitable hiring experience.

Provide Accommodations

Ask candidates about any reasonable accommodations they may need during the interview process and make necessary arrangements to ensure a level playing field.

Transparent Communication

Clearly communicate the interview process to candidates, including the format, duration, and any assessments they can expect. This helps candidates feel more prepared and reduces anxiety.

Regular Evaluation and Adjustments

Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your inclusive interview process and make adjustments based on feedback, industry best practices, and evolving organizational needs.

By implementing these steps, you can create an interview process that is not only fair and unbiased but also welcoming to candidates of all backgrounds, fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace.


The journey towards a diverse and inclusive workforce is multifaceted, beginning with the meticulous crafting of job descriptions. The language used in these descriptions sets the tone for an inclusive job application process, emphasizing the importance of avoiding language that may discourage certain demographics. An inclusive job description utilizes language that focuses on skills and qualifications while explicitly highlighting the organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

This commitment extends to providing flexible work options, showcasing affinity groups, and offering transparent communication about the company’s inclusive culture. As the recruitment process continues, emphasizing diversity in recruitment materials, utilizing diverse recruitment channels, and implementing blind recruitment practices contribute to attracting a wide range of candidates.

Ultimately, a commitment to regular evaluation and adjustments ensures the continuous improvement of inclusive hiring practices, fostering an environment where candidates of all backgrounds feel valued and welcome.

Gloria Folaron is the CEO and founder of Leantime. A Nurse first, she describes herself as an original non-project manager. Being diagnosed with ADHD later in life, she has hands on experience in navigating the world of project and product management and staying organized with ADHD.

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