Reaching and attracting diverse candidates

Things to consider when preparing Job Descriptions and your approach to advertising

There is full guidance on writing a job description and advert in the Recruiter’s Guide:

Recruitment Guidance (EASE log on required)


Job description

  • Reflect on whether particular educational qualifications and/or length of experience in a similar role are truly necessary for the job. Criteria such as these can exclude certain groups, such as those underrepresented/disadvantaged in higher education or in the field of work, and those who have taken career breaks. Consider whether the essential skills required for the job can be evidenced in different ways.
  • To demonstrate the University’s commitment to EDI and the expectation that staff will contribute to EDI goals, you should consider reflecting this in the essential or desirable criteria, as appropriate to the role. You should aim to include a related criterion in the job description for all senior leadership roles.
  • Be mindful that the words we use in job adverts can encourage some applicants and discourage others. Consider using a tool, such as this one Bias Decoder | Totaljobs, to identify words that may impact negatively on the diversity of your applicant pool. 



  • Consider the platforms and the professional and social networks that are available to you and how you can use these to reach diverse audiences. Include staff in creating the plan for advertising and ask them to promote the job opportunity through their own networks.
  • Make use of social media features such as tagging and Twitter threads to highlight opportunities that may be attractive to underrepresented groups, and ask other UoE social media accounts to retweet or share. Opportunities to highlight may include: hybrid working, mentoring and development programmes, local EDI Committees and related activities, staff support networks such as Disabled Staff Network, Edinburgh Race Equality Network, Staff BAME Network, Staff Pride Network, and knowledge networks such as GenderEd and RaceEd.
  • Consider including a statement in your job advert to encourage applications from underrepresented groups. For example: “We welcome applications from all qualified candidates, and wish to particularly encourage applications from women and from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates, who are underrepresented at this level”, tailored as appropriate for your context.
  • You may wish to engage a recruitment and/or media agency to reach diverse audiences.