Words matter — even in job listings.

Women seeking work are less likely to pursue job ads that frame personality requirements in terms of traits rather than tasks, a new study published in the journal Sex Roles suggests. In other words, they’re less attracted to listings with trait-based requirements like “You are calm/not nervous” than to ones with task-oriented demands like “You always remain calm under pressure.”

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Across two studies using Belgian university students, the authors found that women were less attracted to jobs if they held negative “meta-stereotypes” — e.g., a belief that men stereotype them as emotional or insecure — about the personality traits required. Qualified women were less likely to apply “if a negatively meta-stereotyped trait was worded in a trait-like way than when it was worded in a behavior-like way,” the research further found.

“Job-seeking women might fear that they too will be judged stereotypically if they apply,” lead author Lien Wille of Belgium’s Ghent University said in a statement. “This underlines that the way job ads are written may have a discriminatory effect even when there is no discriminatory intent.”

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Recruiters seeking “a highly qualified and gender-diverse” pool of potentials should exercise care in writing job ads, the authors advised. For job openings requiring traits for which women have negative meta-stereotypes, they added, companies may be better off framing the traits in terms of behavior.

“These findings indicate that qualification-based targeted recruitment initiatives can backfire but that organizations might attract a high quality and gender-diverse applicant pool by ‘getting the words right,’” co-author Eva Derous said.