According to research firm Datapeople, an inclusive language guide oversimplifies language and job postings, leading to incorrect assumptions on the part of hiring teams.
An Inclusive Language Guide
Isn't the Answer
An inclusive language guide
oversimplifies language and
job posts, which can lead to
incorrect assumptions on the
part of hiring teams.
An inclusive language guide is a list of words
that are supposedly ‘inclusive’ or ‘exclusive’
meant to help writers avoid exclusionary
language. While having an inclusive language
guide may sound reasonable if certain words
deter some job seekers from applying, it
doesn't make sense.
The idea that you can create
inclusive job postings from a list
of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ words is too
simplistic. Words aren’t inherently
inclusive or exclusive by
Context matters. The context of the
words within the text itself and also
in a job seeker’s life. Furthermore,
there are many ways to say the
same thing, and the sentiments
behind words matter too.
Also, there are too many
factors in a job posting and
in a candidate’s decision-
Hiring teams can’t simply point to
one word or another. And data
science that purports to isolate
and measure the impact of
individual words simply doesn’t
hold up to scrutiny.
Many things impact the
performance of a job posting.
Including diversity statements.
Keeping job posts to an
appropriate length and widely
Meanwhile, job titling can
actually make or break the
entire process. None of those
factors has solely to do with
An inclusive language guide can’t address the
various nuances of language. Gendered
pronouns, for example, aren’t inherently bad,
only when used to describe a hypothetical
applicant. And while idioms can be harmless
figures of speech, they can also create
unnecessary confusion for job seekers.
It’s important for hiring teams
to treat job descriptions as
holistic documents ─ many
parts coming together to
create a whole.
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