During a recent segment on gender diversity, BBC World’s GMT news program featured an interview with Anne Bucher, Cielo’s Senior Vice President of Client Experience & Technology. Appearing alongside TalVista co-founder and chairman Elaine Orler, Anne addressed for host Lucy Hockings how making changes to certain word choices in job advertisements can have a great impact on the number and types of candidates who apply.

For instance, words such as “ninja,” “strong,” “build” and “successful” have been identified as words that potentially deter female candidates from applying. By switching to more inclusive words, such as “excellent,” “facilitate,” “experienced” and “effective,” organizations have seen drastic improvement in gender diversity.

Anne shared a success story involving Cielo’s work with a UK mobile and digital organization that sought to increase the number of women in leadership roles. In addition to reviewing and rethinking the words in the job adverts, Cielo also recommended featuring pictures of women in those roles, as well as looking beyond the ads and using more inclusive words in email campaigns, text campaigns and social media. This helped to embed a culture that mitigated unconscious bias.

“We were able to ultimately change the balance of shortlisted candidates that were coming in for roles across the organization to about 50% female and 50% male,” she said. “This was a great increase for this organization.”

Orler added that so-called “masculine” words do not just deter women from applying for jobs, but can also have the same effect for races and other categories. Certain words “might put people off for reasons they don’t even understand,” she said. Using more inclusive words in job advertisements has led to her client organizations experiencing a 30% increase in diverse candidates applying.