Are Your Job Descriptions Full of Unconscious Biases? These Tools Can Tell You

September 28, 2015 at 11:43 AM by Rob Stevenson


We make great effort here on the ol' Entelo blog to provide value to those purveyors of talent who must find, qualify, engage, and ultimately attract great people to their organizations. Sourcing new individuals and getting people excited about a company they may not have even known existed is no pedestrian task, which is why you see so much material here about outbound recruiting processes. Lest we forget the other side of adding talent, I'll happily take a rare foray into the inbound funnel -- the process by which talent comes to you.

It's true that you can't merely set up a careers page and hope the best talent comes to you, indeed, your job descriptions and application processes could be discouraging people from even getting that far. The importance of a streamlined, mobile-friendly application process is well tilled blog soil, so rather than harp on that I'll point you to actual materials to help optimize the main reason someone might apply--the job description for a role that matches their skillset. 

Don't worry, folks. You're not about to get a series of headlines with advice for writing a great job description. I will say however that the language describing your roles can be unwittingly limiting--you'd be surprised how much tone and word choice can color a candidate's perception of your company values, and to that effect, some exciting new tools are bursting on the scene to help you eliminate unconscious biases. 

One of which is very simple-- a copy and paste text analyzer from IBM which can help you determine whether your writing is too terse, too proud, or too cold and unwelcoming. It's lightweight and can give you a good high-level barometer about your tone.

The next one is a great deal more exciting. Textio analyzes your job descriptions as you type, comparing them to tens of thousands of other job posts and ranking against their performance. This is for me the initial value prop: comparing your job post to the ones which generate the most interest and are filled the quickest.

 Further, Textio is able to flag corporate cliches and non-inclusive language ("looking for a home run programmer who can hit the ground running") and suggest better alternatives. 

Shared across your team, you begin to emulate inclusive values and position your company apart from every other run of the mill job description.

Similary to Entelo, Textio allows you to share templates and results across your team, so you compare data together and see what works best. 

At the risk of using a tired cliche after briefly mentioning my aversion to them, you don't know what you don't know. If there are unconscious biases in your job descriptions, or anywhere in your hiring process for that matter, it's not because you're a bad person. In all likelihood, it's just an under-visited, assumed area that hasn't been properly analyzed. Textio serves to provide that analysis.