6 ways on how to do inclusive hiring

You apply for a job that seems to be everything you are looking for. On paper, you seem to qualify for the requirements the company seeks. Then, you get excited to hear that you are invited to the next stage of the job search process: an interview. To your surprise, the interview goes unexpectedly.

As the interview starts, the recruiter informs you with a proud notch that the company has only Western employees from top universities in their countries. It is a signature of the company’s culture. Then you see more cues about it as you examine the room – the team’s portraits and their university diplomas hanging on the walls or standing on their desks. When you mention that you are from a non-Western country originally, you feel incredibly uncomfortable, as you are being asked, “Are you sure? Julia sounds like a common Western name”. And from this briefing of information, the following stages of the interview go weirder, as you feel unwelcomed and not belonging. Even though the hiring team seemed to be generally pleasant, you could not imagine yourself working in this place. This is why when they call you to offer you the position, and you decline it.

 The scenario mentioned above is an exaggerated story. However, it is true for many candidates who are different. On another level, this happens commonly in many interviews with recruiters seeking diverse minds and inviting diverse talents for interviews. To avoid biases and terrible candidate experience, this blog will introduce you to what inclusive hiring really is and give you advice on how to start recruiting inclusively.

Summary (TL;DR)
If you want to start hiring inclusively in your search for a diverse team, this blog presents you with 6 ways that you can undertake. First, educate yourself and your team about biases. Second, be aware of your wording in job descriptions, as that could also invite or unwelcome groups you did not mean to initially. Third, consider broadening your job advertisement reach or change it to meet new talent. Forth, aim at having a standardized interview process. Lastly, ask for feedback from your candidates, and do not be afraid to use the help of recruitment software when hiring.

Fundamentals about inclusive hiring

Before we dive into the specifics of creating an inclusive work environment and hirng, let us cover the basics.

What is inclusive hiring?

An accepted definition of inclusive recruitment is: “the process of connecting with, interviewing, and hiring a diverse set of individuals through understanding and valuing different backgrounds and opinions.” When you hire for diversity, you go beyond the gender and race gap that might be as inclusive as hiring is intersectional.

What are the advantages of inclusive recruitment?

Inclusive hiring is hiring for a diverse team and the benefits that come from having a diverse workforce. You can dive in to “Why diverse teams perform better?” blog for greater insights into the topic. To sum up, some of the advantages are:

  • Better decision-making up to 87% of the time
  • Outperforming results with female board members
  • 35% higher EBIT (earnings before investment and taxation)
  • 2 times faster decision-making and execution by diverse teams

How to start hiring inclusively?  

01   Educate your team about biases

The first step towards improving your hiring is to recognize that you are prone to biases. When you acknowledge that, you can start educating yourself and your team on the different hiring biases.  Often times, when recruiters hear about inclusive programs and about biases in hiring, the first association that comes to mind is towards gender, race and religion. However, the sea of biases is much broader, and diversity comes beyond those three factors. In fact, creating a unique, diverse team means bringing different minds, and there are 34 diversity types out there. By expanding your knowledge about biases and diversity, you are making one step closer to better hiring. Just make sure to create awareness among your team and train it for an inclusive work environment.

Remember, inclusive hiring is more than a simple tick on your checklist that you can scrape and move to your next task. No, it is a continuous cycle that you and your team need to incorporate as an educational programme if you want to eliminate biases.

Pen over a notebook

02  Make inclusive job descriptions

Inclusive hiring starts with an inclusive job posting. This entails gender-neutral language in your job descriptions since the use of specific words might subconsciously appeal to one group of candidates while it discourages others from applying. More specifically, inclusive language means thinking about the different diversity groups. As a start, try avoiding masculine words. Also, omit jargon-filled titles and instead stick to gender-neutral and concise job titles. After all, your job posting leaves an impression on potential employees, and who you bring at your doorstep says plenty about your hiring procedures.

If you want to perfect your job descriptions, there are few areas where you can improve. We got this topic covered here.

03  Expand your reach when you advertise a job posting

If you want to include a more diverse applicant pool, widen your horizons. Or, in this case, expand your reach. If the places where you post your job advertisement remains the same over the years, how do you get different applicants? For instance, if you are used to getting your student assistants at career fairs held by the same university career fair, consider attending another university’s fair as an option. Moreover, are you using job boards like LinkedIn and Glassdoor? According to a study done for 2020, 51% prefer to find jobs online over online job sites such as Glassdoor and among those, more than half do it over their mobile phones. More surprisingly, those who indicated that they prefer to find a job opening on their phones are not just Gen Z – 55% are between the age of 35-44.

The conclusion? As technology is evolving, so is the talent hunt. If you want to increase your chances of meeting hidden gems for your team, be present at various places, mobile including.

Businessman and businesswoman discussing work at office desk nea

04  Aim at having a structured interview process

Once you have selected few candidates to proceed with your selection process, prepare for your interview. This is where plenty of biases occur, especially if they are unguarded. Did you like someone because you shared a similar education path or because you have the same leisure activities? That’s affinity bias. If you want to conduct a good job interview, there are few considerations in mind that you should have. While structured interview might seem unnatural and potentially stiff, it is proven to give positive results in the efforts to stay objective.

Pro tip: if possible, introduce a diverse interview panel – this is how Intel increased its company’s diversity by 41%. This means that there needs to be another set of eyes during the interviewing, preferably a woman and/or a representative from other underrepresented groups.

Also, remember, the interview process is a way to go beyond the hard skills and see for candidate’s soft skills. This is how you get to know the candidate’s personality and get more layers of the interviewees. So, ask behavioural questions to gather stories such as “Have you ever got a task you had no idea how to solve? How did you approach it?”

05  Ask for feedback

How you thought the hiring process went could be entirely different from what the candidate felt. To improve the candidate experience and thus enhance your hiring routines, reach out to those you interviewed. Experts recommend sending surveys that have quantitative and qualitative evaluations for application likelihood for this company. For qualitative measures, you can ask questions of the type: “What was the highlight at the interview?” or “Was there any low point for you during the interview?”.

06  Use the help of recruitment technology

Technology has evolved, facilitating us in many areas – and it helps with handling the diversity programs. For instance, they can help recruiters review resumes blindly – without the initial prejudices of seeing candidate’s demographics. When you can adjust your recruitment options when using a recruitment tool, you are also more likely to avoid the occurrence of bias.

See how you can hire more objectively with Whaii Match

Attracting talent at your doorstep is only half way of the recruitment journey. For the selection phase, there are tools out there that help you set aside your subjective gut feelings and review applications “blindly” – with no candidate demographics to impact your hiring decision. Only the skills, personality, values and culture that matches to your company’s unique preferences.