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Using a Gender Decoder in Your Job Postings

writing a job posting

Often, technology companies or other male-dominated industries struggle to attract and hire women. The “why” is often hidden in the words we use in job postings. Unconsciously, we may be using some not-so-inclusive words that are discouraging certain genders from applying. Luckily, in this blog, we will be sharing one of our favorite tools to use when crafting job postings: a gender decoder.

Gender Decoders & Unconscious Biases

We’ve talked quite a bit about unconscious biases and how they can impact our hiring decisions. We all have unconscious biases. They are those quick, gut instincts and feelings that we often don’t even realize we have. These biases can lead us to make unfair or inaccurate judgments – judgments that can influence our hiring decisions.

When writing a job posting, those biases are often exhibited through the words we use. That is when a gender decoder can come into play!

masculine and feminine coded words based on gender decoder resultsGendered Language

A gender decoder can help reduce unconscious biases in the recruitment process by detecting gendered language skews. You’re probably thinking, “what is gendered language?” Often, when we think of gendered language we think of masculine and feminine nouns in Spanish, not English. English, though not as explicit, does still have a deep-rooted history in associating different words to males and females.

The use of gendered language in job postings could be discouraging qualified candidates from applying. The most subtle word choices can affect how men, women, or even non-binary people may perceive a job.  Strongly gendered words may even make the job unappealing to certain candidates.

These examples aren’t to say that women aren’t adventurous, headstrong, fearless, or vice versa. We code such words as masculine because there are existing gender stereotypes in our society. Though we may think we have moved beyond some, we can still unconsciously associate male and female genders with certain qualities. For example, if we say a man is headstrong it’s often considered an admirable and positive trait. If we say a woman is headstrong, it tends to be seen through a more negative or critical lens.

Using a Gender Decoder to Write a Job Posting

There are dozens of gender decoder tools out there. You can search “gender decoder job descriptions” or bookmark this one we use. Once you’ve selected a gender decoder, simply copy and paste your complete job posting in the tool. It will then tell you if the job posting has gendered language skews. You can then choose to delete the identified words or opt for a more gender-neutral term.

 

If you need the skewed words identified by the gender decoder, try to use a mix of both types of gendered words (male and female) to balance it out.

Benefits of Using a Gender Decoder

Using a gender decoder is a great way to help diversify and expand your applicant pool by keeping your job posting(s) appealing and enticing to qualified, and potentially more diverse, candidates. Gender decoders are also an excellent, and free, tool to utilize if you’re aiming to create a more inclusive candidate experience.

Check out our additional D&I blogs for more ways you can create a more diverse and inclusive recruiting process and workplace.

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