5 Critical Ways to Ensure Your Job Posting is Accessible

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Trish Young

January 5, 2022

    It’s no secret that the job market is booming: CNBC estimates that there are nearly 8.6 million people considered out of work in the U.S. and approximately 10 million job openings. In the age of the Great Resignation, your company may be feeling the stress of having vacancies for numerous positions.

    You may be asking, how do I attract more candidates to openings while working on a limited budget?

    The answer lies in accessibility and inclusion.

    A job posting is a source of first impressions – it displays your company’s values in both subtle and not so subtle ways to potential applicants. If not done right, candidates may be turned off by difficult-to-navigate application systems, non-inclusive language, and much more.

    Building inclusive job postings

    1. Eliminate financial burdens: It’s no secret that job searching can be expensive. Applicants are frequently asked to purchase a flight, book a hotel room, take time off work, hire childcare, arrange for transportation, and pay for food — which all quickly adds up. To be more inclusive in the hiring process, consider these measures:

    • Listing what expenses, if any, can be reimbursed
    • Stating processes for reimbursement, specifically expected turnaround times
    • Offering discounts or ‘preferred’ vendors if your company has arrangements with select agencies, like airlines
    • Providing an option to interview virtually for candidates who do not live locally

    Note: For prepaid travel, many companies will require applicants to sign a contract agreeing to repay if they’re a no-show.

    2. Post the salary: Surveys have shown time and time again that a majority of applicants want to see salary ranges upfront. However, according to the BBC, only 13% of companies say they always list the salary in their job postings. Posts that don’t include the wage range waste both employers’ and applicants’ time, perpetuate wage gaps, discourage people from applying, and minimize the importance of monetary compensation.

    Listing the salary will attract more candidates and increase the likelihood candidates will accept the position if offered. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, listing pay ranges has been one of the most common and successful tactics for hardest-hit industries, such as retail, entertainment/recreation, healthcare, and restaurants.

    3. Highlight other forms of compensation: In today’s job market salary is far from the only form of compensation. For some future employees, other benefits and company offerings make or break if they are able to accept an offer. Remember to list other forms of compensation such as:

    • Temporary or permanent housing, and if the housing is handicap accessible or family-friendly
    • Health care coverage policies, costs, and plan options
    • Workers compensation insurance
    • Family and medical leave (FMLA)
    • Disability insurance
    • Life insurance
    • Wellness programs – whether they be in-house wellness groups or wellness reimbursement programs
    • Telecommuting and work from home options
    • Tuition and childcare reimbursement

    4. Remove potentially ableist language and requirements: Did you know that 18% of U.S. employees report having a recognized disability? The wording and accessibility of job postings can inadvertently alienate this portion of the population, perpetuating ableism and decreasing the number of qualified candidates for your openings. To address this, take the following actions:

    • Consider if the listed physical demands are necessary for the position. If they can be completed by someone else without undue burden, those demands should not be listed as an absolute requirement.
    • Ensure that your job posting can actually be read and opened by potential applicants with disabilities. Common barriers include Images without alternative text, application time limitations, ambiguous and inaccessible hyperlinks, and content that does not meet screen reader requirements.
    • Specify accommodations right in the job posting which can be made for applicants and employees, and the processes for requesting accommodations.

    5. Use inclusive language: Your job listing can systematically exclude applicants based on the language it uses. Revisit your job postings with these factors in mind:

    • Avoid using the gendered he/she; instead, use they/them, you, the employee, or the title of the position
    • Specific descriptors and verbs may skew male or female in their cultural associations, deterring individuals who identify with a certain gender. You can use tools like the Gender Decoder to spot and address subtle biases in your job ad.
    • Corporate jargon like “fast-paced work environment” or “competitive salary” and common cliches may intimidate potential applicants, especially entry-level workers. Instead, clearly describe the work environment and the pay in lay terms.

    As Lauren Lanz of YM Careers writes, “The necessity for associations to build a community of belonging and acceptance is only expected to grow.” Community building starts with job postings. Listings influence who applies – and eventually works and executes – your company’s values and mission.