Search for a sales job, and you’ll still find a few ads hunting for a “salesman.” Presumably, the company wants both women and men to apply. But the gendered job title serves as a deterrent to female applicants, however inadvertent.
From fireman to doorman to chairman, gendered job titles are still found in countless job descriptions. And this goes the other way as well: titles like hostess, waitress, and stewardess help perpetuate harmful stereotypes about so-called “women’s work.”
This might sound like semantics, but job titles can actually have a powerful effect on human psychology. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology found that when women have a feminized job title, men perceive them as significantly less warm and marginally less competent than women with masculine job titles. This made men less willing to employ them.
The good news is it is easy to avoid this problem: use job titles without gender. There are gender-neutral alternatives to all the examples mentioned here—sales associate, firefighter, sales rep, flight attendant, and so on. Using gender-neutral titles helps level the playing field and signals to applicants of all genders that these roles are open to everyone, if they have the right skills.
Beyond the titles, removing gendered language from your job descriptions helps bring a diverse slate of candidates through the door. For example, avoid pronouns when describing the job and be cognizant of descriptions – not everyone wants to be a “ninja” or “control” the team.
Blinding resumes can help. But an even better solution is to eliminate resumes from the early stages of the hiring process entirely.
That’s what we’re doing at career.place. Our revolutionary hiring solution allows you to assess candidates based on skills, knowledge, and ability without any potentially biasing information (like gender or previous job titles) getting in the way. Once you’ve narrowed down your candidates to the best of the best do you unlock their resume and discover their identity.
Objectively a better way. Try career.place today.