5 Steps To More Inclusive Recruitment - XCD

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Inclusivity has risen to the top of many HR professionals’ priority lists to ensure a just and welcoming workplace. Indeed, companies across the globe are making adjustments in their recruitment processes to encourage diverse applications from underrepresented groups, building a stronger company as a result.

Your company’s DE&I efforts begin at recruitment, so getting it right in this stage is paramount. Here are some of our essential strategies for building a more inclusive recruitment strategy.

A Quick Note on the Equality Act 2010

In the UK, the law around inclusive recruitment primarily revolves around the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Act is designed to protect individuals from discrimination and promote equal opportunities in various aspects of life, including employment. In the context of recruitment, the law ensures that job applicants are treated fairly and without discrimination based on protected characteristics. The protected characteristics covered by the Equality Act are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

Under this law, employers must not discriminate against candidates based on their protected characteristics during any stage of the recruitment process, including job advertisements, application forms, interviews, and selection decisions. Employers are also required to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate candidates with disabilities, ensuring they have equal access to job opportunities and interviews.

Employers who fail to comply with the Equality Act 2010 may face legal action and be liable for discriminatory practices. Therefore, it is essential for companies in the UK to adopt inclusive recruitment practices to ensure equal opportunities for all candidates.

Now that we’ve looked at the legislation affecting inclusive hiring, let’s look at some examples of how you can put it into action.

Step 1: Diversifying Job Postings

Let’s start with language.

The way you phrase your job descriptions and postings can present an unconscious bias without you even realising it. If you want diverse applicants in the recruitment process, it’s important to be incredibly conscious about the language you use. For example, using terms like “fresh graduate” in your job descriptions places a preference on young people, turning older qualified candidates away.

Using gender-neutral terms in your job ads is simply good practice for gender diversity; hiring managers should avoid looking for a “waitress” or “salesman” and replace these terms with “wait staff” and “salesperson” respectively, otherwise, you could be encouraging applications from solely male or female candidates.

By carefully choosing your language, this will invite a diverse range of job applicants to apply to your position, without shying away from seemingly gender-specific roles.

In many roles, skills and experience trump a college degree, too. If your posting has requirements for degrees or other educational specifications, you could miss out on a diverse group with the skills you need to get the job done right.

Make some adjustments – you don’t need to completely throw out your initial needs, but keep in mind that some candidates from diverse backgrounds don’t have the means to finance a university degree. That doesn’t mean they aren’t equipped with the skills and knowledge the position calls for.

Race also plays a role. Your human resources department might not intend on excluding any ethnic minority groups, but some of the language used in your job descriptions could deter people from different backgrounds. Avoid requirements focused mainly on language preferences (unless, of course, it is detrimental to the role at hand) – requiring ‘native English’ unfairly excludes many multilingual candidates.

Finally, a great way to reach the best inclusive recruitment practices is to include a short inclusive recruitment note at the end of your job posting. It’s good practice and will attract candidates from all backgrounds to your organisation.

Make it known that your company supports the equality act and positive action. Voice that you are committed to an inclusive recruitment process that welcomes applicants who are differently-abled, from a range of ethnic and religious groups, and from any sex, sexual identity, age, etc.

Pro tip: Always include the salary offered to the potential candidate in the job posting. More candidates will apply if they are aware of the potential in the chosen career path before the interview process. They will be more willing to support companies that are transparent and offer equal opportunities up front!

Step 2: Implementing Blind Resume Screening

Inclusive recruitment practices don’t stop at the job posting – it also involves screening diverse applicants, interviewing underrepresented groups, and beyond. Blind resume screening means removing any identifying information about a potential employee. This is designed to support employers in making unbiased decisions in an inclusive hiring process with diverse candidates.

This basically means removing or blacking out all information such as age, name, academic background, gender, religion, race, etc. It leaves only their skills and experience, allowing you to judge a candidate from different groups solely based on whether they can do the job or not.

This helps support inclusive recruitment practices and positive action. HR can sometimes make an unconscious bias about a candidate based on them being a certain race, age, gender, or otherwise.

In the past, the best way to do this was to get someone not involved in the hiring process to manually black out any information that can identify the candidate or relates to the above criteria. Today, there’s no need for this lengthy process – HR software with built-in recruitment and onboarding capabilities can instantly handle this for you.

You may also be interested in: How to build a more diverse and inclusive workplace

Step 3: Leveraging Diverse Sourcing Channels

It’s not enough to just drop a hiring ad on Google. If you want to achieve workplace diversity and reach applicants that want to support employers instituting inclusive recruitment, you’re going to want to broaden your sourcing channels. However, that doesn’t mean spreading your job posting absolutely everywhere. We’re looking for quality over quantity, with more diversity as a priority.

Think about the job at hand and the kind of candidate you want to fill the slot. You might be tempted to reach out to the most prestigious universities in the area and add your job posting to their board. However, that’s not exactly recruitment diversity and inclusion. That’s because there are so many skilled and experienced candidates that might not have had the opportunity to study there.

Instead, try posting to different and more diverse job boards. Reach out to community groups in your area, social media platforms that are centred around the job field, and local job fair events.

Step 4: Conducting Bias-Aware Interviews

Next comes the interview. There’s a difficult challenge facing organisations once they see their potential candidate in person (or on a video call): unconscious bias can set in. Even though hiring managers and HR may not be aware of it, these biases can be based on culture, race, age, gender, and other factors. We tend to make snap judgements in interviews, and it’s important to be mindful of these to work through them, or you might miss out on a fantastic employee.

Articulate what exactly you are looking for in prospective employees; exclude anything from this description that could be a bias. Lay it down in simple terms: the skills and relevant experience you are looking for, and nothing else. Moreover, it’s beneficial to ensure interview panels consist of individuals from different backgrounds and perspectives, including diverse ethnicities, genders, and abilities. This promotes a broader understanding of candidates’ potential and reduces bias in the evaluation process.

Also, don’t stop at the first interview. If your candidate has the skills necessary but might be missing one or two items from your specifications, give them another chance. They could be more keen to learn and grow in the company than you think. In fact, offer inclusive recruitment training if your company has the resources for it. Sometimes, an eager learner is far better than a one-track-mind-trained individual.

Keep certain parts of your interview anonymous. For example, if your candidate has to complete some kind of questionnaire or test beforehand, make sure there is no identifying information involved.

Note: There are also many other ways to make your interviews more inclusive to everyone. We recommend offering flexibility in interview timing and location (whether online or in-person) to better cater to the needs of applicants who are differently abled or have caring responsibilities that may make it difficult for them to attend an in-person interview. 

Step 5: Establishing Diversity Goals

Finally, before even planning interviews, employers need to think about the bigger picture in inclusive recruitment. What are your diversity goals, and your intent behind them?

Organisations should be focused on making sure that their inclusive recruitment is designed for employers to hire employees based solely on merit. Ultimately, the strategy for positive action is to ensure that every single candidate in the recruitment process has an equal opportunity.

This means it’s your responsibility to enforce inclusive recruitment by being mindful of any bias, whether conscious or unconscious. Completely remove the identifiers of age, sex, sexual orientation, race, religion and more during every interaction with prospective candidates. Focus on what matters; what they can bring to your company table.

However, keep in mind that your DE&I strategy certainly doesn’t stop at hiring. Your strategy needs to ensure that once hired people of all backgrounds and abilities have equal opportunities for progression and success at your company.

You may also be interested in: Questions to ask in your organisation’s diversity and inclusion survey

Conclusion

Ultimately, it’s the best thing you can do for your company and prospective candidates. This way, organisations can attract the right people for the job, and grow as a company with a diverse team. You’ll have the innovative edge a lot of companies are lacking, with an arsenal of different perspectives.

While the benefits of an inclusive recruitment strategy may seem like a no-brainer to most HR professionals, actually implementing measures to boost inclusivity is a little more challenging. With these key tips in mind, you’re well equipped to start hiring more inclusively.

This is where XCD’s single solution HR and payroll software can help. With AI-powered tools to streamline recruitment and onboarding, powerful reporting and analytics tools, and time-saving automation for HR admin, our HR software is a must-have for any forward-thinking HR team. To find out more, contact us or book a demo of our HR solution today.