Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Position descriptions and job posting guidelines

Position descriptions and job postings provide an opportunity to inform and market your position, team, and the University of Washington to potential candidates. Ensuring position descriptions and job postings are inclusive and appeal to a broad audience is vital to attract and build a more diverse workforce.

Position description: An internal document that provides detailed and very specific information about the job function, duties assigned, responsibilities, and minimum requirements of an individual position.

Job posting: A subset of the position description which is publicly posted for the purpose of attracting applicants to the position. The job posting provides a brief overview of the job function, the requirements, and information about the employer and department. This is an opportunity to market the position and educate applicants about the opening.

Position description and job posting dos and don’ts

  • Review position description before starting the recruitment process to make sure the duties and responsibilities reflect the current needs for the department.
  • Have key team members and stakeholders participate in any writing, revising, or editing of the position description.
  • Limit requirements to the “must haves” and basic education needed on day one.
  • Use education and experience equivalencies to provide alternative options for potential candidates to meet the qualifications.
  • Consider competencies, transferable skills, and equivalent experience when developing requirements.
  • Include a commitment to valuing diversity and contributing to an inclusive work and learning environment as a required qualification for all position descriptions and job postings. Example: “Demonstrated commitment to valuing diversity and contributing to an inclusive working and learning environment.”
  • In the job posting, include a department diversity statement and highlight a commitment to DEI related to the job, department, and University.
  • Highlight the value of the position and impact to the department and University.
  • Use conversational language that is appealing to a broad audience and less technical.
  • Use a gender decoder tool and gender-neutral language. You can find additional gender decoder tools online through a simple web search on: gender decoder tool
  • Review all position descriptions for exclusive and potentially offensive language and content.
  • Use job postings as marketing and advertising tools.
  • Market the inclusive culture of your department and team.
  • Remember: education is a privilege (requiring more education that is minimally needed can deter qualified applicants from applying and limit the diversity of your pool).
  • Include specific instructions on how to apply. Make it clear to applicants what they need to include in a cover letter or letter of interest.
  • Write a position description solely based on the “ideal” candidate or level of expertise of the previous incumbent.
  • Add “advanced degrees” as a “desired” requirement unless absolutely necessary for optimal success in the role.
  • Substitute authenticity for elaborate or overly technical content.
  • Use inflated job titles or descriptions of job content that make the position seem more “senior” or “high-level” than it actually is.
  • Use UW “jargon” and language that may be exclusive to internal applicants such as “experience with UW systems.”
  • Use him/her or he/she or any gender-specific terms or pronouns.
  • Use subjective phrases such as “rock star”, “world-class”, or “outgoing.”
  • Create requirements based on meritocracy and elitism.
  • Write position descriptions that target or appeal to a narrow audience.