DID YOU KNOW? How you write your job description will have a direct impact on who applies.
If you want to source diverse, mission-driven candidates who are more likely to stick around, optimizing your job descriptions is a proven, cost-free means of expanding your reach.
Hiring for your non-profit? Find out how we're working with non-profits organizations to transform their recruitment here.
Building your charity job description
Below we've broken down our behavioural science-based template for high-converting, inclusive job descriptions.
You'll want to convey the key details and selling points of your role as concisely as possible.
For this reason, we'd recommend using bullet points and keeping sentences short and to-the-point.
Tell candidates about your non-profit and its mission
First off, you'll need to provide a synopsis of what your non-profit does and its mission.
If you're looking for candidates who are passionate about your mission, be sure emphasize its importance and why the role is an exciting opportunity to contribute towards it.
Remember: job descriptions are your chance to sell the role...
So, draw attention to any key milestones or other details that you believe will appeal to your target candidate.
What skills will they need?
Rather than list specific education and experience requirements, we recommend stating 6-8 core skills required for the role.
Ideally, these will be a mix of 'soft skills' and more technical skills.
If a particular piece of software can be easily taught, then its probably not worth including.
Why don't we ask for education/experience requirements? Not only do they result in a certain type of person usually being hired (usually one with a similar background to your existing team) but also just don't tell us as much about someone's skills as you think.
If you're not using biased proxies like these, this does mean that you'll have to test for candidates skills, since you can't rely on background information to make assumptions - we laid out how to do this here.
Make sure you set expectations
Instead of listing responsibilities, we prefer to reframe this is 'what you'll be doing in the first 6 months'.
Whilst you obviously need to let candidates know what the role will involve, you also need to make it sound appealing.
This phrasing makes a job sound like more of an opportunity than a grind and also forces you to only list the most exciting key milestones (we advise keeping this to 5-6 bullet points).
You can also use another few bullet points to describe how your team likes to work and the values they embody...
According to Jobvite’s study, 46% of job seekers cite company culture as very important when choosing whether or not to apply for a job.
Be explicit about benefits
Whilst not listing the salary range is all too common, it is absolutely vital information.
We know that non-profits can’t always afford to offer the most eye-watering salaries, and want people who care about their mission, not the salary on offer...
However, the salary lets people know if an application is worth their time and signal that you're willing to be open and transparent from the outset.
Although undoubtedly important, salaries aren't the only benefit worth shouting about.
You should also draw attention to:
- Heathcare or pension schemes
- Flexibility (essential if you want to genuinely improve diversity)
- Your non-profit's mission and its importance
Next steps of the process
In the interest of transparency, you should let candidates know what your hiring process looks like, and what they can expect.
If you are taking steps to make your process fairer (e.g. using a platform like Applied), then be sure to make this clear!
Here's how we do this here at Applied (at the bottom of every job description)
You don't need a CV, just your brain.
To get started, enter your email in the top right of this page.
Instead of submitting a CV, you’ll answer some questions that are related to the job. After the job closes, your answers will go through our sift process: all answers will be anonymised, randomised and then reviewed by a panel of reviewers.
If you are shortlisted, we’ll invite you to interview, which will also be managed through our platform. Also, we love giving feedback, so at the end you'll see how well you performed during the application process.
Right to work: We do NOT provide visas so please only apply if you have a right to work in the location of this role.
Expected duration of this application process: 6 weeks
The science behind inclusive language
One of the most drastic effects language can have is on the gender diversity of candidates.
If you use masculine-coded language in your job descriptions, this will tend to put women off applying (an effect which happens to be less extreme in reverse).
Why does this happen? Well, this is most likely a consequence of gendered differences in confidence and the fact that women are more socialized to follow the rules (whereas men tend to be socialised to think rules are meant to be broken).
When we read a job description, we subconsciously assess whether or not we'd fit in.
If you use language that is typically associated with a particular gender, then jobseekers who don't belong to that gender will likely qualify themselves out.
Whilst most organizations struggle to source enough women, we know that many non-profits have the opposite problem.
For roles where you want to attract more men, consider using masculine-coded language.
Masculine-coded terms: lead, analyze, competitive, active confident
Feminine-coded terms: support, responsible, understanding, dependable, committed
Beware of reading burden
Reading burden is a measure of how complex your writing is.
The reading burden of your job description shouldn’t be any more difficult than that required for the job itself.
Why? Because you’ll miss candidates who may be:
- Speaking English as a second language
- Simply too busy to skim-read a wall of text
You should also get rid of any unnecessary jargon or acronyms that aren’t industry-standard.
If you’re concerned about diversity, you may need to source candidates from less conventional backgrounds.
This means that they may not be familiar with buzzwords and jargon, and are likely to feel as if the job isn't for them if overused.
Summary: inclusive charity job description
- Keep job descriptions between 300-800 words
- Use short, simple sentences
- Make sure you sell your organization
- Talk about your mission
- List skills instead of background requirements
- Tell candidates what the first 6 months will look like
- List the salary range
- Be transparent about the next steps
Want to bake inclusion into every step of your hiring process? Read our Full Guide to Third Sector Recruitment.
Applied is the essential platform for debiased hiring. Purpose-built to make hiring empirical and ethical, our platform uses anonymized applications and skill-based assessments to identify talent that would otherwise have been overlooked.
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