4 steps your business can take towards more inclusive recruitment
Updated: Jan 20
Making your business more inclusive is no quick fix, but there are lots of steps you can take to move your business towards a brighter future. Every company is different, and while some start with simple diversity and inclusion training, others embark on a total culture change.
Although an inclusive recruitment programme is a great start to your D&I journey, from our experience, companies see the best results when diversity & inclusion sits at the core of what they do. If you don't know how to make your company's culture more inclusive, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org - we'd love to help! If you just want to find out a little more about inclusive recruitment, keep on reading.
What is inclusive recruitment?
A recruitment process is inclusive when any candidate has an equal opportunity to succeed in the process. Each candidate is judged on their experience, merit, potential, and ability to perform in the role.
In addition to all the obvious reasons that inclusive recruitment is important, it's also beneficial to business; inclusive teams outperform their peers by 80%1. Teams with a broader range of backgrounds tend to experience more creativity, process facts more carefully and instigate more innovation.2
How do I make my recruitment process more inclusive?
1. Educate your teams
In our experience, diverse teams are most successful when everyone feels included in the environment they work in.
The terms diversity and inclusion are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually two very different things. While diversity represents all the richness and differences of human beings, inclusivity is how you make that mix work.
When you take a closer look at companies that sustain diversity in their teams, you can see that they all benefit from an inclusive culture that supports their employees. If you want to discover what that means for your specific business, please get in touch using the form below.
2. Widen your candidate search
Einstein once said, "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results", and we believe the same applies to recruitment processes. If you are always searching in the same place for new hires, you will always find the same kind of candidates.
Rather than only advertising at graduate fairs or on job boards, spread your vacancy far and wide. Post your job description on inclusive sites, like Creative Access, or join forces with an inclusive recruitment company, like our partner Bridge of Hope.
No matter how small your business, there are still ways that you can practise inclusive recruitment. Here at A New Normal, our team of six includes two people who were hired through inclusive recruitment programs. We found our fabulous Comms & Creative Manager, Gigi, through SocialFixt, a talent pool dedicated to opening creative opportunities for people of African and Caribbean heritage.
Our outstanding Communications Assistant, Ryan, came through the Kickstart Scheme, a government initiative that provides funding to employers to create jobs for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit. At the end of the six-month programme, we made him permanent. We believe that no company is too small to make a difference!
3. Write an inclusive job description
The job description is your first point of contact with candidates, so it’s important that it’s carefully and thoughtfully constructed. A description littered with gendered terms and internal jargon can deter diverse candidates from even applying.
Studies have shown that a long list of 'must-haves' will result in a reduction in applications from women. Not because they aren't just as talented, but because men will apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.3
It's also helpful if your job description is laid out in a clear and accessible way. The text needs to be easy to read, displayed in a clear font that contrasts with the background. If the colour of the text is too similar to the colour of the background, it can be difficult for partially sighted people to read. Black text on a white background is normally the safest bet.
Another thing to look out for is how you lay out your description. Make sure there is enough white space on the page to minimise ‘visual noise’ so that neurodiverse individuals can easily process and understand the role.
The Dyslexia Survey in 2018 found that standardised job descriptions can stop dyslexic individuals from applying for vacancies, especially if they are too descriptive.4 At least 10% of the U.K.'s population has dyslexia, so that's a lot of candidates to miss out on.
If you're after for more information, check out our other blog: 7 top tips for writing inclusive job ads.
4. Conduct an inclusive interview
Interviews are often the make or break stage in the recruitment process, so it's important that they are as inclusive as possible. A diverse panel can help to reassure candidates that your company values diversity and practices inclusion. However, this must be representative of the business as a whole to avoid tokenism.
Conduct the interview in a friendly way, rather than creating a tense or aggressive atmosphere. You'll get the most out of candidates when they feel at ease. Another key technique is to ask the same set of questions in the same order for every candidate. This will help assessors focus on what the candidate will bring to the role, rather than how much they have in common. Standardised interviews can help combat 'just like me' bias, giving each candidate an equal opportunity to tell their story.
How do I make my company more diverse and inclusive?
Whether you're looking for a complete culture change, a more diverse talent pool or you're not sure where to start, we can help. Fill in the contact form below, or get in touch by emailing email@example.com.
1 Identified by Deloitte research showing that inclusive teams outperform their peers by up to 80%
3 An internal report at Hewlett Packard referenced by Sheryl Sandberg in her book Lean In, 2013.