Are you aware of these 3 mistakes in your job offer?

Auteur: Ingrid Leckie

This might sound familiar. You are looking for a starter and your vacancy text starts with “Have you just graduated? Then we are looking for you.” Or you are looking for a hospitable employee and say "Hostess wanted". Now you may think, there is nothing wrong with this, is there? But did you know this leads to exclusion? Because why can't a somewhat older person be a junior in his or her functioning? And why can't a man be hospitable?

You want to attract the most suitable candidate for the job with your vacancy text. Therefore, choose competencies that really tie in with the performance of the job. Think about the (maximum 5) competences that are indispensable for the proper performance of the job. Leave out other job requirements. If you don't do this, you can simply look for a copy of the colleague who was previously in the position and exclude an entire group. This group may contain your new great colleague. Stating age, gender, religion or cultural background is not permitted. But how do you write a vacancy that is legally correct? In this blog I mention three points with which you can ensure this!


Set a language requirement

First, requiring a specific language. It may happen that you would like to set a language requirement. For example, in my consultancy work I often see the job requirement as “You have excellent knowledge of the Dutch language in word and writing”. Setting a language requirement is only permitted if it is necessary for the performance of the position. This is allowed for a position as a newsreader, but this is not always applicable for a position as a data analyst. Therefore, describe in your vacancy why you set the (possible) language requirement. You can do this in the following way, for example: “You have excellent knowledge of the Dutch language. We set this requirement because in the position of newsreader you write Dutch texts and read the news in Dutch ”.



With language you can also (un) consciously exclude people on the basis of gender. Language is a powerful means of attracting or excluding certain target groups. As a writer of a vacancy text, you often do not think about it, but did you know that, for example, a job title, such as "hostess" or "strong guys" exclude others? It's the exception when only a man or woman is suitable for a position, such as an actor. In some roles for a performance, it is necessary to actually cast a man or woman or a certain type of person. Only then does it depend on the function. To address everyone, you can choose to add (m / f / x) after the job title. So for example: Director (m / f / x). With this you address everyone regardless of someone's gender. It's a very small addition, but with guaranteed success!



Age is also a factor that often plays a role in job writing. If you are looking for a “young” person, you exclude someone older. This is not allowed by Dutch law. How can you, as an employer, prevent yourself from excluding people, directly or indirectly, on the basis of their age? The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights has investigated which discriminatory job requirements are most common. An example of direct distinction is “Wanted: young candidate”. An indirect example is “Wanted: starter”. Both job requirements are not officially allowed to appear in a vacancy. What you may use is, for example, having an affinity with the young / old target group, junior position and senior position. For example, an older person can be a junior in a certain field. This relates to a person's functioning and not age. This concerns the number of years of work experience in that field. So you may not use “junior person”, but you can use “junior position”.


In conlusion, I just gave you 3 tips for a more inclusive vacancy:

  1. Make sure that knowledge of a certain language is really necessary for this position. If so, explain why.
  2. Make sure that you appeal to everyone with your vacancy text, regardless of their gender, through a neutral job title.
  3. Write in a way that appeals to every age group.


The language you use is therefore of great influence in opening your vacancy to any suitable candidate. Now, get to writing!