Inclusive hiring practices begin with the job description
Millions of underemployed and jobless people are in the midst of unsuccessful and frustrating job searches, but companies scramble to fill vacancies, according to a Harvard report released in September.
The research team interviewed thousands of workers and executives in the UK, US and Germany about talent acquisition and candidate experience. With over 40% of the global workforce looking to leave their current role this year, companies need to assess why their hiring process isn’t connecting with job seekers. Part of the problem, according to the report, lies with one unlikely culprit: the job description.
Many job descriptions are poorly written, outdated, and deter applicants from applying. To increase the quality of the hire, the descriptions become bloated with long lists of desired qualifications. Automated recruiting software then uses these descriptions to filter out candidates who actually match the job. Only 25% of job postings for highly skilled jobs are created from scratch, and 88% of employers agree that they overlook qualified candidates because of problematic job descriptions. In some cases this includes looking for “computer programming” for nursing positions instead of being able to enter data into a computer or a “floor polishing” experiment for sales positions. by retail.
The inclusion of both legacy skills and new skills also undermines efforts to create a diverse and inclusive hiring process. This practice tends to alienate those Harvard calls “hidden workers,” or those who are willing and able to work, but whose job searches continually fail due to gaps in work history or a lack of skills and abilities. references. This group includes immigrants, people with chronic health problems and physical disabilities, people previously incarcerated, people without traditional skills, caregivers, neurodiverse people and those from less privileged backgrounds.
Another problem affecting more than 6 million jobs in the United States is degree inflation. Companies are asking for college degrees for jobs that did not require one a few years ago, and in many cases, the person who currently holds the position does not have the degree either. Instead, degrees are a shortcut for screening basic communication and technical skills. Not only does this make the job search more difficult for workers who may have the required skills but not the degree, but it also comes at costs for businesses. University graduates are paid 11-30% more for productivity rates similar to those of their non-graduate counterparts. Turnover rates are higher for university graduates, who also have lower levels of engagement. Limiting hiring to graduates also hurts Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DCI) efforts, as black applicants are less likely to hold a degree than white applicants. The cost of obtaining a degree is prohibitive for many who fall under the hidden worker category.
There are several ways for companies to improve their hiring process by changing job descriptions, not only increasing their pool of qualified candidates, but also improving the diversity of that pool.
Limit the job requirements to the essentials. Only 21% of employers said all of their hires in the past three years had all of the requirements listed in the job posting. Invest in collaboration between recruiters and hiring managers to clarify job responsibilities and rewrite the job description accordingly. It will also improve diversity: Research shows that women only apply for jobs if they meet all the requirements, while men apply when they only meet 60% of them.
Stay away from consistent job descriptions. Avoid using jargon in descriptions and instead focus on a meaningful job description. Match the job title to the tasks instead of using something generic. Having a clear idea of what a position entails allows potential candidates to see themselves in the role and avoid guesswork, creating a more positive candidate experience.
Get rid of the degree requirements. Not only is having a university degree not correlated with better job performance, it also costs companies more in terms of payroll and unnecessarily reduces the pool of candidates. In 2015, 67% of production supervisor positions required a diploma, while only 16% of current production supervisors held one. Think about why you are applying for the degree: do you need some specialist knowledge or is this a placeholder to ask for soft skills?
Adjusting job descriptions to make them simpler, more aligned with the actual job, and eliminating proprietary language will only serve to improve your recruiting processes. Don’t let qualified candidates slip away before you’ve even had a chance to talk to them. Instead, deepen your talent pool and start your DEI solutions from the start.