Ask Managers This To Delete Biased Requirements From Your Job Postings

I’ve seen this exercise used in unconscious bias training when someone says “I’m not biased.” Let’s do it together before we talk about how to delete biased requirements from your job postings.

What do you think of when I say pilot?

Is he old? Is he white? Nine times out of 10, the entire room looks a little shocked. I think that’s the point. The whole idea is for everyone to recognize that we all have unconscious bias, but the truth is most people pretend they’re the exception.

I’ve seen it before. It usually shows up as a defensive fear response at first. “I’m not like that.” Or worse, “I’m not racist.”

Yes, You’re Biased. Everyone Is.

There are no exceptions to bias. It’s literally how our brains work to help us survive. Bias is built early on for survival. As we get older, we rely on the same systems. The difference? We’re not in survival mode anymore, and that’s where bias gets a little dangerous – especially in hiring.

Usually, bias shows up in the first conversation with the hiring manager. First, you’ll notice the casual gendered pronoun – He this and he that – or the manager will refer to the team as “the guys.” Then, it gets a little more specific.

“We are a tenured group.” Read: no 20 somethings.
“They’re not a culture fit…” Typically code for white and Ivy League.

This list goes on.

Hiring Manager Intake: Delete Biased Requirements From Your Job Postings

Then, recruiters take orders instead of digging deeper. Instead of taking on the uncomfortable conversation, it’s so much easier to ask the next question, and we can’t keep that up.

We also have to take on the rambling lists of qualifications that sound more like a wish list than a requisition. Remember, the job posting should help someone imagine the work and if they want to change their entire lives to do this work. We should provide clarity at a minimum.

Try this instead. Or, go grab my free hiring manager intake to help delete biased requirements from your job postings and write better job posts in the first place.


Kat Kibben View All →

Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.

Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster,, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.

Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.

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