By writing an inclusive and attractive job vacancy text, you increase the reach of the recruitment. The more inclusive your recruitment efforts, the more likely the vacancy will reach the best candidate.
Think critically about the requirements for the job
Think critically about the core tasks and competences needed for the job. Complicated and demanding texts can lead to confusion and deter groups of potentially qualified applicants. Consequently, limit the number of tasks, competences and skills to five per category and distinguish between those that are really necessary and those that are an advantage. For example, is knowledge of Dutch or English at a certain level necessary or an advantage? Research shows that women are less likely to apply if they do not meet all the requirements, while men often apply even though they only meet some of the requirements. If a cumulative list of (unnecessary) job requirements is included in the text, there is a risk that potentially valuable candidates will not respond. Moreover, there are hardly any candidates who meet all the requirements in every respect.
Create an inclusive vacancy text
An inclusive vacancy text appeals to a larger group of people. Focus on the language used in the vacancy text.
For example, refer to ‘people with an occupational impairment’ instead of ‘disabled persons’ and ensure that jobs are described in a gender-neutral manner, e.g. ‘secretarial assistant (M, F, X)’. Be aware that there are ‘male’ and ‘female’ words. Research shows that using words associated with the female gender often does not deter other genders, while words associated with the male gender may deter other genders from applying.
See the list of ‘female’ and ‘male’ words here.
Job advertisements should, as far as possible, be written in gender-neutral language or, in case of doubt, contain words associated with the female gender. Ask different people for feedback on the vacancy text, so you can be sure that the text appeals to a large group. Describe behaviour rather than characteristics, avoid he/she and replace with you/they, be aware of connotations.
Examples of tools for gender-neutral language use
To facilitate the use of gender-neutral language, we recommend the following sources:
- Genderdecoder by Kat Matfield. On this website, English and Dutch-to-English translated texts, including job vacancy texts, can be quickly screened for gender-specific language use.
- Textio, detects bias in job vacancy texts with regard to age and gender. This tool is not free, but there is a free demo version.
- Use the tips for inclusive language from the following blogpost.
Include the statement on diversity and inclusion in the vacancy text
It is strongly recommended to include the following statement on diversity and inclusiveness in all job advertisements: The Academy considers a working environment in which everyone feels welcome and valued of great importance. A working environment where individual qualities are nurtured, and where development opportunities are paramount.
“The Academy considers a working environment in which everyone feels welcome and valued of great importance. A working environment where individual talent is nurtured, and where development opportunities are paramount. Together, we strive for an inclusive culture in which we embrace differences. We would therefore like to invite candidates who want to contribute to this through their background and experience. In the event of equal suitability, preference will be given to the candidate who thus enhances diversity within the Academy.”
Ensure that the vacancy is widely distributed over different channels and groups
Consider the use of specialised channels for the distribution of the vacancy text, as reaching different target groups may require different approaches. Ask D&I ambassadors and the Diversity & Inclusion Advisor to distribute the vacancy within their institutes and networks. See the tips on the next page about recruitment channels.
Ensure a diverse pool of applicants
Monitor the diversity of your pool of applicants during the recruitment process. Check as far as you can that it contains enough applicants with a range of visible (e.g. gender, people of colour/people from migrant backgrounds) and invisible (e.g. work experience, academic profile) diversity characteristics. If you notice during the recruitment phase that applicants with certain diversity characteristics are missing or are insufficiently represented, intensify the recruitment by approaching the relevant target groups more actively or extending the application period.
Different groups have different preferences for working conditions. In order to reach a broad group of applicants, you could mention not only flexible working hours but also guidance and opportunities for career development, (partially) paid parental leave, fully paid extended post-birth leave for partners, a generous leave scheme for combining work with caring tasks and the possibility of using holiday hours to reduce working hours or saving for a long-term continuous leave period.
Persons of colour/people with a migration background
Advertise through formal channels and target (job) sites that are aimed at groups. Consider Academic Transfer, Linkedln, Indeed, the UWV website, job fairs and recruitment agencies, such as Agora Network, but also Diversity Recruitment and Colourful People.
Advertise via Academic Transfer of ResearchGate with a wide (international) reach, or via Academic Positions. Use websites of the Refugee Talent Hub, UAF or Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland to reach refugees.
Persons with an occupational impairment
Some applicants may have an occupational impairment. Within the framework of the Dutch Participation Act (Participatiewet) and the occupational disability arrangement (Banenafspraak), specific rules apply. The HR advisor and Diversity & Inclusion advisor will be happy to help you explore the possibilities. In the case of agreement on the employment of a person with an occupational impairment, the vacancy can be sent together with the job description to the HR advisor, if they have not been involved at an earlier stage. If it concerns persons to whom the above legislation does not apply, it is advisable to advertise through formal channels and to refer to the following aspects in the job vacancy text:
- the (digital) accessibility of the institute;
- the flexible working hours;
- the possibility to work in a quiet workspace;
- the possibility of making necessary adjustments under certain circumstances so that the employee can function optimally.
Publish the vacancies through networks such as Gender Talent, Rainbow Digest or ILGAEurope and Work Place Pride.
Advertise through specific women's networks, such as the Dutch Network of Women Professors (LNVH). In case of international recruitment, consider contacting the European Platform of Women Scientists (EPWS) or the Association of Women in Science (AWIS). An overview of all women's networks in the Netherlands can be found on the next page. Approach women directly via Linkedln or ask women within our organisation to post the vacancy on their (personal) networks. You can also recruit candidates through an agency, such as Female Capital.
Het gebruik van woorden
Uit onderzoek blijkt dat het gebruik van woorden die over het algemeen als vrouwelijk worden beschouwd andere genders vaak niet afschrikken, terwijl woorden die over het algemeen als mannelijk worden beschouwd vrouwen ervan kunnen weerhouden te solliciteren.
Woorden die over het algemeen als vrouwelijk worden beschouwd
Aardig, bedachtzaam/zorgzaam, begripvol, behulpzaam, beleefd, bereidwillig, bescheiden, betrokken, betrouwbaar, flexibel/meegaand, groepsgericht, communicatief, coöperatief, creatief, eerlijk, emotioneel, empathie/empathisch, enthousiast, vrouwelijk, gevoelig, gezellig, aanhankelijk, humaan, onderling afhankelijk, interpersoonlijk, klantvriendelijk, loyaal, medelevend, menselijk, nauwgezet/precies, onderdanig, open, ordelijk, plezierig, sociaal, ondersteuning/ondersteunend, stil/op zichzelf, sympathiek, toegewijd, veelzijdig, verantwoordelijk, verbindend/verbonden, verwantschap, vleiend, dociel, vriendelijk, vrolijk, warm, zachtaardig, voorzichtig
Woorden die over het algemeen als mannelijk worden beschouwd
Actief, agressief, analytisch, assertief, atletisch, autonoom, avontuurlijk, vastbesloten, besluitvaardig, bluffen/opscheppen, chemisch, commercieel, competent, competitief, deskundig, direct, doelgericht, vastberaden, effectief, dominant, energiek, fanatiek, gedreven, gretig/hebzuchtig, overdreven, obstinaat, handig, hiërarchisch, impulsief, individueel, individualistisch, industrieel, ingenieus, innovatief, koppig/star, kracht, kritisch, leider/leiderschap, logisch, mannelijk, mening, moed, moedig, meedogenloos/roekeloos, objectief, zelfstandig, ondernemend, praktijkgericht, principieel, professioneel, resultaatgericht, snel, solide, sterk, stressbestendig, superieur, technisch, leidend, uitdagend, vijandig, volhardend, onafhankelijk, zelfsturend, zelfverzekerd, zelfvoorzienend
Bron: Direction’s research Inclusive Recruitment and Selection (2016), p. 18/19, Vervecken, Verwijvel, Gijbels & Van den Bossche, P. (2015), Pennebaker, Booth & Francis (2007).
Ontwerp & realisatie: WAT ontwerpers