How to Handle Diversity and Inclusion in the Hiring Process

4 min read
Lynsey May Sutherland
Lynsey Sutherland

Many businesses recognise the need to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace. 

Why now? Well, not only is society demanding greater attention to equality, but the most diverse companies are more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers on profitability, according to McKinsey. 

Still trying to figure out where to start? Here are some handy tips. 

What is inclusive hiring?

Inclusive hiring is a way to help companies make sure that their workforce accurately represents the world and society around them. It’s about widening reach and finding ways to combat any unconscious biases in the hiring process and can help build a well-balanced and diverse team. 

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are about much more than finding and attracting a diverse range of candidates. However, the hiring process is crucial step in creating a more equal and representative workforce. 

Why is inclusive hiring important?

Hiring with diversity and inclusivity in mind is not only a moral choice – fairness and equality should be a cornerstone for all ethical companies, and it has some big business benefits too. 

Creating a diverse work pool can help drive innovation, resilience and productivity and improve company morale, thanks to factors like a broader range of skills and cultural awareness. 

The Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Global Market Report 2022 found that diverse companies had a 2.5% higher cash flow and that inclusive teams were over 35% more productive. 

Diversity and inclusion hiring best practices

Here are a few ways to help ensure your hiring process is as inclusive as possible. 

1. Utilise a diverse range of hiring platforms

To reach as many candidates as possible, embracing as many different hiring platforms as possible is essential. 

As a recruiter, you’re always looking for new ways to reach top talent. And widening your search by adding more platforms to the playing field can have significant benefits when connecting with a diverse range of potential hires. 

You have to go where the candidates are, and they may not always be on the platforms you’re used to. 

2. Create job adverts and descriptions with inclusive language 

A company may have a welcoming culture and inclusive attitude but fail to demonstrate it when it comes to crucial parts of the hiring process. To attract or engage a more diverse range of applicants, using inclusive language in job listings and descriptions is imperative. 

Recruiters who can amend the language to better reflect a company’s ideals and commitment to inclusive practices are more likely to succeed in starting conversations with a wider pool of applicants. Especially when you consider that, according to Zippia, at least three out of four people prefer to work in a diverse company. 

3. Include any inclusive policies in your communications

Companies that are genuinely trying to create inclusive working environments are likely to already have some internal policies that can help snag candidates’ interest. 

For example, organisations may have a floating holiday policy that means people of different religious and ethnic backgrounds can take time off to suit rather than being locked into specific celebrations. Or they may have anti-discrimination policies that help guide their day-to-day operations. 

If so, be sure to pull this information out and include it alongside other company benefits when contacting candidates on LinkedIn or having preliminary conversations.

4. Set SMART goals

Clear goals are essential for inclusive hiring, and the SMART system is ideal. 

It asks for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound aims. These can be drawn up with the manager looking to hire and will make it much easier to determine whether your methods are succeeding or if you need to widen the net.

The more precise your SMART goals are, the better. Is the company looking to make improvements in one specific area? Is it a business-wide effort to increase the diversity of its makeup? Is the company hoping to target any specific demographic? These questions will help you get a read on exactly what’s needed and help you source good culture fits while keeping inclusion in mind. 

5. Bring inclusivity into the interview process

One of the biggest enemies of inclusion is something that can be hard to spot. We all have unconscious biases that can affect how we feel about people, which can creep into the interview process. Help hiring managers avoid these pitfalls by bringing awareness to the problem and offering simple solutions. 

Ask them to decide on questions before the interview and ensure all panel members know their roles. It is also better to decide beforehand how answers will be graded and whether there will be supplementary questions. 

This helps ensure that every candidate enjoys a fairer process and reduces the risk of implicit or unconscious bias creating issues. 

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