Tips for non-discriminatory job ads

Assembling a diverse team starts with the phrasing of your job ads. The important thing here is to keep asking yourself questions: Who exactly am I addressing with this ad? Does my phrasing include all groups of people? Who might feel like this ad is not aimed at them and why?

According to the General Act on Equal Treatment (AGG), job ads should not contain discriminatory content. We have collected some tips to simplify the process of advertising vacancies and addressing under-represented groups here:

  1. Job ads should be phrased as neutrally as possible. In specific terms, this means that job ads should not include any gendered language. Phrases like ‘young employees’ or ‘young team’ should also be avoided to prevent age discrimination. Specifying the desired native language of the potential employee is a form of discrimination based on ethnicity and should also be avoided.
  2. In order to avoid discriminatory practices throughout the entire application process, it is advisable to carry out a job specification analysis beforehand to look at what is expected of candidates. An assessment should then be conducted to determine whether the job requirements are phrased in a way that does not discriminate on the basis of age or gender.
  3. The phrasing of the job description should be gender-neutral. Use terms like ‘Chair’ or ‘Chairperson’ instead of ‘Chairman’, for example.
  4. Even though in Germany, in contrast to countries such as the US, photos are still frequently sent with CVs or in application documents, these should not be required in a job advertisement. They can lead HR managers to make decisions based on stereotypes or preconceptions, as explained previously. Consequently, job ads should not include a request for photos in application documents.
  5. A clear commitment to diversity in a job ad can help it to reach a more diverse pool of applicants. Phrases like ‘We value diversity and welcome all applicants – regardless of gender, nationality, ethnic background, social class, religion, ideology, disability, age, or sexual orientation or identity’ can help to ensure that you are actively targeting as many people as possible.
  6. When you begin interviewing applicants, you will want to make sure that you can compare their responses to interview questions as objectively as possible. For this reason, it is advisable to standardise your interview content before the interviews begin and always ask the questions in the same order, if possible.
  7. Your company’s website might also deter potential applicants from certain under-represented groups. If your team photo only features young men, for example, women or older people might decide not to apply.