Many employers are concerned about discriminating against suitable candidates during the recruitment process. There is so much information you need to include in a job advert, it is natural some employers don’t consider the possibility of discrimination in their ads.

If you use templates that you have applied for many years, or you haven’t reviewed your ads recently, you may be discriminating against some candidates without meaning too. It is sometimes challenging to be fair to all prospective candidates, but we have five ways you can avoid discrimination within job adverts.

Avoiding gender discrimination in a job ad

A preference to hire someone of a particular gender will be discriminatory in most instances. Even with good intentions (evening up the gender split in the office, for example), favouring a man or woman for a particular role should be avoided in any job advert.

If there isn’t a professional need related to the role, stating a preference for a man or a woman is likely to be recognised as sex discrimination.

It is advised you don’t use gender-specific language and terminology in your job ad. Using neutral terminology in your job ad and title reduces the likelihood of causing offence or causing concern. An example would be for a role which may have previously been titled as a “handyman” role now being stated as looking for a “handy person” or “repair specialist”.

Be mindful of age discrimination in a job ad

Compared to other areas, defining what constitutes age discrimination can be challenging. Phrases such as “recent graduate” or “young and energetic” indicate a younger candidate is sought for the role. Similarly, a job ad which looks for “10 years’ experience” suggests a more mature candidate is likely to be successful.

It is better to focus on necessary skills, as opposed to a length of time. Some roles require candidates to be of a certain age if the employee has to sell alcohol, but if it isn’t a job requirement, be mindful of age discrimination in your job ad.

Avoiding race or religious discrimination in a job ad

Employers are required to verify candidates are eligible to work in the United Kingdom. Therefore, job ads may be tailored to assist this verification process. However, the ad shouldn’t state that people from a specific country or continent, or who hold a specific religion cannot apply.

For roles where religious experience or language skills are required, be mindful in how you list the role. If the post is for a Spanish-speaking account manager, looking for a Spanish candidate is the wrong approach, but searching for a candidate who speaks Spanish is valid.

You cannot discriminate against people with disabilities in your job ad

Unless physical attributes are a critical necessity for the role, you should avoid listing them in your job ad. You shouldn’t use phrases such as “athletic” or “active” if this isn’t a critical component of the job. Similarly, if the ideal candidate doesn’t have to drive for the role, the job ad shouldn’t state a requirement of a valid driving licence.

Hopefully, these tips will help you create a compelling and suitable job ad. If you have questions about the recruitment process, and you can enhance the experience for candidates, please contact The Recruiting Office, and we’ll be happy to help you.

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