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Take Ableist Language Out of Your Job Descriptions

Pile of cardboard boxes on a wooden floor, with a person's legs sticking out, as if the person was buried under the boxes

A friend recently told me about a marketing operations job posting that included the following: 

I honestly can’t imagine any scenario where a marketing ops professional would need to do anything physical like this. And guess what—these requirements exclude a huge portion of the candidate pool! 1 in 4 adults in the US has some type of disability. 1 in 7 adults in the US has a mobility disability. (Hot tip: plenty of those disabilities are “invisible,” so don’t assume you know who is disabled and who isn’t.)

It’s hard enough to find qualified marketing operations candidates. Don’t exclude people just because your HR department puts outdated, ableist language in your job description. And if you’re going to include it, you need a very compelling reason that’s spelled out in the post.

And while you’re at it, look for other ways that you can make your job descriptions more inclusive. For example, ditch requirements like college degrees. Consider swapping out “years of experience” for actual experience you need the candidate to have. Don’t use gender-coded words like “ninja” or “rockstar.” (Also, 2013 is calling and it would like its slang back). 

You can attract even more candidate with language that encourages people to apply even if they don’t meet 100% of the requirements. (Spoiler alert: very few candidates actually hit every single bullet point.) Try something like “Acme Co. is a company where everyone can grow. If this is a role that excites you, please apply. We value applicants for the skills they bring beyond a job description.”

Appealing to a more diverse candidate pool with inclusive job descriptions isn’t just the right thing to do. It means you’ll attract more qualified applicants and have a better chance of finding the perfect marketing operations professional for your team. I’d say that’s a win-win.

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