9 Ways to Make Your Hiring Process More Inclusive

At a time when the desire for workplace diversity has become increasingly important in organisations, businesses everywhere are engaging in the “inclusion imperative”: creating and fostering an inclusive environment where individuals of different backgrounds, ethnicities and abilities may thrive.

A major component of this includes inclusive hiring, also known as ethical hiring, to reduce bias and create an equal interview, application, selection and offer criteria for candidates belonging to a diverse background or who have different requirements.

According to a survey conducted by the recruitment firm Monster, over 60% of UK employees will not work with an organisation which doesn’t support diversity.

The survey also found that 45% of employers admit that creating a diverse workforce is the topmost priority to retain talent and attract new people.

By building a diversity and inclusion recruitment policy, you can attract a wider range of talented candidates and communicate your commitment to supporting all employees throughout their career paths.

These efforts will not only lead to a more diverse workforce over time but also help position your organisation as an industry leader when it comes to inclusive hiring practices.

But how do you make sure your own hiring process is actually more inclusive?

In this blog post, we’ll walk through best practices and tips to help ensure your recruitment process opens itself up to the widest range of talented applicants.



Require Diversity Training for Your Hiring Managers

Providing regular diversity training for your recruiters and hiring managers is a necessary inclusive recruitment practice.

This training will help them better understand the importance of inclusive hiring practices and will also help them start to recognise any signs of unconscious bias in their decision-making processes. Don’t think that this will solve all your problems though, remember this all takes time: no one training course can change how people think.

Some potential topics to cover in diversity training include:

  1. The impact that unconscious bias has on hiring decisions, and how it can lead to discrimination or marginalisation against certain groups.
  2. Strategies for recognising one’s own biases, mitigating their influence on decision-making, and seeking out diverse perspectives when making hiring decisions.
  3. Tips for promoting a healthy work environment where all individuals feel safe and respected, regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, or other factors.

If you are looking for a more comprehensive approach to diversity training, consider partnering with an external consultant or organisation that specialises in inclusive hiring practices.

These groups will have the expertise and resources to help your team build a more diverse and inclusive workplace culture.



Define Inclusive Hiring Metrics

One effective way to measure the success of your inclusive hiring practices is to establish metrics that specifically track diversity and inclusion.

This might include tracking the race, gender, age, and other demographics of your workforce over time, as well as conducting regular reviews to assess how diverse and inclusive your current hiring process is.

In addition to these qualitative metrics, you can also track more quantitative data such as applicant flow rates, interview performance rates, offer acceptance rates and overall employee retention rates for different demographic groups.

By examining this data over time, you can identify areas where your hiring process may be falling short in terms of diversity and inclusion. You can then take steps to address any problems or barriers that are preventing underrepresented groups from accessing opportunities within your organisation.

Overall, establishing diversity and inclusion metrics can help you to identify areas for improvement in your hiring process, and will also provide concrete data that can be used to support the case for more inclusive hiring practices.

With these tools at your disposal, you can make progress toward a more diverse and inclusive work environment.



Create a Transparent Diversity and Inclusion Policy

One of the best ways to make your hiring process more inclusive is to develop a clear diversity and inclusion policy for your company.

This policy should be visible on your website, job postings, and other public places to reduce unconscious bias during the selection process.

Your policy should outline the specific types of diversity that you value, such as gender, race, sexual orientation, and ability status.



Review How Your Adverts Sound

According to a study done by the AI writing tool Textio, the average job ad contains more phrases like “masculine” than “feminine”, which leads to more male candidates applying for a particular role. 

Therefore, it is also important to review the language in your job ads and recruiting materials.

This includes reviewing all job postings and any other marketing or communications you use to attract potential candidates.

Pay special attention to words or phrases that may implicitly exclude certain groups or reinforce stereotypes, such as “rockstar” or “ninja.” You should also double-check for gendered language; make sure that your job postings do not use male-gendered pronouns exclusively, and make sure that any images used are inclusive of all people.

In addition to reviewing the language in your job ads and recruiting materials, it can also be helpful to solicit feedback from external stakeholders on your employer brands, such as employees from underrepresented groups or diversity and inclusion experts.

This can help you uncover any unconscious biases that may be lurking in your hiring practices and identify ways to address those biases moving forward.

As you review the language in your job ads and recruiting materials, keep in mind that creating more inclusive hiring practices takes time and commitment.



Work on the Interview Process

As a recruiter, you will have encountered candidates who struggled to answer the interview questions despite looking promising. It is common to feel stress and anxiety while going through the interview round.

But what about those that have neurodiverse conditions and truly are unable to thrive when there is no time to prepare for interview questions on the spot? People with anxiety can also suffer in a similar way. These people can be fantastic assets to your organisation, as they are often highly skilled but simply don’t perform well in a high-pressurised interview situation.

To make your hiring process inclusive, you can send your interview questions in advance to all candidates so that everyone is on a level playing field and can prepare and respond with minimum stress.

If you are interviewing in person, remember that a solid handshake or retained eye contact are not subliminal cues for trustworthiness or confidence. This is nothing more than subconscious bias and should not be a factor in decision-making.



Infuse “Diversity and Inclusion” Into Your Brand

What does it mean to infuse “diversity and inclusion” into your brand?

It is all about explicitly highlighting your commitment to diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the hiring process, from your job postings and recruitment materials to interviews and onboarding. Some ways you can do this include:

  1. Including detailed descriptions of specific initiatives or programmes you have established (or are planning to establish) around diversity and inclusion as part of your employer branding message.
  2. Develop partnerships with external organisations or groups that support underrepresented communities, such as women’s networks or professional development associations for racial minorities. These partnerships can help increase awareness about your organisation among diverse candidate pools.
  3. Leveraging your company’s social media presence to highlight diversity-related initiatives within your organisation, such as internal mentorship programmes or community outreach events. This can help set you apart from other employers in the eyes of potential candidates who value diversity and inclusion.



Improve Workplace Flexibility

Offer flexible work arrangements for your employees.

This can include allowing remote work, offering flex time and accommodating family and medical leaves. For many job seekers, a flexible work environment may be one of the main factors that influence their decision to accept a job offer.

To start promoting workplace flexibility at your organisation, consider conducting employee surveys or focus groups to identify any barriers that are preventing your employees from taking advantage of existing workplace flexibility policies.

You can also reach out to professional organisations or consult with diversity and inclusion experts who can provide you with advice on how to foster a more inclusive working environment overall.

In addition, if you have management or leadership positions that are difficult to fill, consider offering these positions as remote or part-time roles.

Promoting workplace flexibility is an important step in creating more inclusive hiring practices, but it is only one piece of the puzzle.

Continue to assess your progress over time and make adjustments as needed to create a truly diverse and inclusive workforce that can drive innovation and success for your organisation.​



Use a “Selection” Matrix

You should also ensure that your selection or hiring matrix is designed with consideration for inclusive recruitment practices.

A hiring matrix is essentially a tool that helps you assess the relative “hiring value” of different candidates based on their demographic characteristics, such as gender or race.

This can be very helpful when you are trying to identify ways to mitigate any potential biases or blind spots in your existing recruitment process.

To create a hiring matrix, start by identifying the key criteria that are important to you when evaluating job candidates.

These might include factors such as technical skillsets or specific work experience. Once you have identified your selection criteria, assign each criterion a numerical value and then compare each candidate’s score against the rest of the pool to determine their relative hiring value.

Keep in mind that creating a hiring matrix can be a time-consuming process, but it can also be an effective way to mitigate any potential biases or blind spots in your recruitment processes.

By using the hiring matrix method, you can ensure that all of your candidates are fairly evaluated based on objective criteria, rather than subjective factors such as demographics or name recognition.​

Some key metrics to consider when evaluating your hiring processes include:

  • Percentage of women or minority candidates selected for interviews
  • Number of referrals by employees from different backgrounds
  • Rate of voluntary turnover among diverse employee groups
  • Level of customer satisfaction with service provided by diverse staff members

By tracking these types of metrics over time, you will have a better sense of how effectively your organisation is creating more inclusive hiring practices.

This is an important step that will help your organisation create more inclusive hiring practices at every stage of the recruiting process, from writing job advertisements to interviewing candidates and everything in between.



Review and Make Improvements

As you implement these strategies for promoting more inclusive hiring practices, keep in mind that there is always room for improvement when it comes to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace culture.

Continue to assess your progress and make adjustments as needed, and you will be well on your way to creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce that can thrive in today’s competitive business environment.

In Conclusion

A company’s success depends largely on its ability to hire the most qualified employees regardless of race, gender or other attributes.

Of course, promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace is an ongoing process that cannot be achieved overnight.

To ensure progress and continued success, it is important to review your current hiring practices regularly, identify any areas where improvements can be made, and make adjustments accordingly.

The Virtual COO was founded to help small businesses access expertise to deal with operational problems and more, without having to hire or pay for a full-time Chief Operations Officer.

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