picking a candidate

When the time comes to recruit new talent for your team, writing the job advert is normally the first hurdle a lot of employers have to get over. Whether it’s trying to define your company’s culture or trying to humanize your job advert, when it comes to putting a job advert together, there’s lots you need to think about – and ensuring your advert isn’t discriminatory in any way is one of the main priorities.

As far as discrimination in job adverts is concerned, it can be a bit of a grey area – because although you want to be clear about what kind of candidate you want, there are certain things you can and can’t say regarding your ideal candidate if you want to stay on the right side of the discrimination law.

With that in mind; in today’s blog we thought we’d take a look at the key areas of discrimination you need to keep in mind when writing your next job advert.

1. Gender:

Even though you might be keen to even up the gender gap in your office, you’re not allowed to express any gender bias in your advert at all. Unless being of a particular gender is imperative for the job (eg. an actor for a male role), it’s best to avoid any language which can explicitly refer to a man or woman eg. ‘guy,’ ‘man,’ etc. to avoid upsetting anyone.

2. Age:

Now, age is a tricky one, particularly in the digital sector, where younger people tend to have the existing skills and knowledge employers are looking for, but you need to avoid mentioning age in the job advert. For example, although a millennial might be the perfect fit for your office, you not allowed to say it in the advert or reference it – so keywords to avoid include ‘young’ and ‘mature’.

Even asking for a certain amount of experience eg. “5 years of experience” can also be classed as discriminatory so you need to be careful. Why? Because this indicates that the candidate has to be of a certain age.

The solution? Focus on experience (but don’t mention years) and choose language which will appeal to the age of the candidate you’re looking for. The only exception to the role? If the candidate has to be a certain age in order to be able to do the job eg. must be 18 to sell alcohol.

3. Race/Religion/Beliefs:

Just like gender, you have to be careful to avoid mentioning anything to do with race, religion and beliefs in the job advert, unless it’s essential to the role. For example, in a role with a Christian charity, it might be ideal for a candidate to already be a Christian, particularly if the job requires them to work to the Christian beliefs/promote Christian messages.

Similarly if you’re looking for someone with a particular skill, eg. fluency in German, you need to make sure you ask for “German-speaking xx”, rather than a “native German speaker” or a “German”. Why? Because this way you’ll avoid discriminating against anyone from certain countries.

4. Disability:

Any language relating to a candidate’s physical abilities also needs to be avoided, again unless it’s crucial for the role. For example, you should avoid asking for a “valid driving licence” if the candidate isn’t going to be required to drive in the role.

Obviously this blog just touches on some of the key elements when it comes to discrimination in job adverts – and we’d definitely advise you to get your company’s HR or legal team to check over the advert before you post it to ensure it doesn’t come back to bite you on the bum.