Champion Diversity by Learning How to Craft Inclusive Job Descriptions

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The cannabis community comprises a diverse group of individuals who are passionate about the plant and its many benefits. However, as the industry grows, many have noted it does not match the inclusiveness and diversity of the community it serves. A recent analysis by Business Insider found 70 percent of executives at the largest companies are White men. Although there is no single solution to promoting a diverse, healthy market, leaders in the space can support social equity through action in their businesses.

One way to champion diversity is to create inclusive job posts. Unknowingly, you could be writing job descriptions that favor one gender or exclude certain races or cultures. Through inclusive job posts, you can attract more diverse candidates who will help our industry mirror the broader community.


Here are the most effective ways to make job descriptions more inclusive.

Avoid gender-coded words

The words you choose can significantly impact the talent you attract. Certain words are gender-coded to favor men, dissuading many women and nonbinary applicants from applying. Common male-centric gender-coded words include aggressive, dominant, fearless, and courageous.

Gender-coded words typically are adjectives that do not describe necessary outcomes of the position, required experience, or other facts. By using these words, you may subtly communicate the message that your company does not favor women or gender-nonconforming employees. To remedy the issue of using gender-coded words, utilize language that describes the role’s duties and job expectations clearly. Strive to be factual and limit the job requirements to what is relative to the position and the skills needed.

Craft a concise job description

A succinct job description is pivotal to inclusivity. When you add every qualification needed for the position, it’s likely you will discourage qualified, talented candidates. According to LinkedIn’s Gender Insights Report, women are more inclined to apply to positions when they feel they meet almost 100 percent of the qualifications in the job post, while men are likely to apply if they meet at least 60 percent of the qualifications.

Remove the qualifications you see as cherries on top and stick to must-haves. In truth, there is no perfect candidate for any position. Crafting a job description for the ideal candidate is inefficient and disregards employees’ significant abilities to learn new skills. Try encouraging job-seekers to apply even if they do not meet 100 percent of the qualifications by offering them opportunities to continue growing and learning on the job.

Steer clear of insider language

Using corporate language or company-insider jargon may keep talented individuals from applying. Just as employers briefly skim resumes, seeking the right skills and experience that might warrant a closer look, candidates do the same with job descriptions. A description that might be easily understood by current staff may be difficult for an applicant to understand completely.

Cutting out insider language also may help attract more qualified candidates and recent graduates for entry-level positions. Avoid using acronyms and insider terms to make the job description easy to comprehend for those who are new to the workforce. By using more universal language, the job post will attract more diverse talent and those who have the willingness and ability to learn.

Show dedication to diversity and inclusion

It’s easy to say “we’re an equal opportunity employer,” but saying it in your own words and demonstrating it makes the claim more genuine. Candidates want to see the action your company takes to ensure inclusiveness, so clearly state in the post the steps your company takes to ensure diversity in the workforce. Briefly sharing how your company culture and work environment support diversity and inclusion will attract more diverse talent.

If you do not have anything to share, then perhaps you should assess the inclusiveness of your company. Look for ways to evolve, then state specifically how you are striving to become a more diverse and inclusive company.

Candidates are searching for progressive companies. Show you fit the bill via the first thing potential employees will see: your call for applicants.

Include people with disabilities

When writing a job description, do not forget candidates with physical and cognitive disabilities. These candidates often are overlooked and may be discouraged from applying because of the language used to describe the position’s responsibilities.

In general, it is more inclusive to inform job-seekers about what needs to be done rather than how the individual should perform the task. For example, a description might note the candidate must be able to lift fifty pounds. The more inclusive approach might inform applicants they must be able to move fifty pounds. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate for persons living with disabilities in America is 19.1 percent, which is far less than the 61.8 percent statistic for individuals without a disability.

Helping the cannabis industry become more diverse starts with who we attract and hire. Writing inclusive job descriptions plays a big part in revamping the hiring process, making it a more progressive system that attracts diverse talent to work in a culture that accepts every employee.

Liesl-Bernard-CannabizTeam-bw-mg-magazine-mgretailer- Liesl Bernard is founder and chief executive officer at CannabizTeam, an executive search and staffing firm focused specifically on the cannabis industry. Her team has placed thousands of candidates at executive and management levels in all verticals of the cannabis industry worldwide. She attributes her success to her international recruitment experience and deep passion for the industry.



  1. […] Those I’ve heard receive the most criticism are the opportunists. I don’t mean the East Coast, Wolf of Wall Street, get-rich-quick types we saw swoop in around 2014 and bail by mid-2018. I’m referring to the individuals pouring in more recently from mainstream industries after seeing opportunity in ours. Some have been critical of these folks because they showed up to the party a little late, but the criticism may be unwarranted. Nowhere does it say one must be in love with the plant to participate in this space. While some of us have a history in the “traditional market” or grew up in the heart of the culture and craft, these qualities aren’t requisites listed on job descriptions. […]