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10 steps to developing a more inclusive recruitment process - Guest Article by Joanne Lockwood

It’s no secret that the STEM sector has a diversity problem. But what can be done to solve it?

Inclusive recruitment is one important way to address the lack of diversity. By definition, inclusive recruitment is the process of recruiting a diverse pool of candidates for a job, with a focus on ensuring that all candidates have an equal opportunity to succeed – not just through equality but more importantly equity, ensuring people have the support they need to guide them through the process. There are many business benefits to inclusive recruitment, including improved team performance, higher-quality decision-making, and increased innovation. Additionally, it’s the right thing to do – everyone deserves a fair chance at landing their dream job. So, how can we make the recruitment process more inclusive? In this blog post, I’ll explore 10 steps that organisations can take to make their recruitment practices more inclusive and diverse.

Whether you are a hiring manager, a talent acquisition specialist or an HR professional, we’ll cover everything from ensuring accessibility in the recruitment process to collecting data on diversity and inclusion. By the end of this post, you should have a good understanding of what inclusive recruitment is and how it can be used to promote workplace diversity and start building an inclusive culture by using “best practice” techniques.

If you are just starting on your journey, then I would strongly encourage you to start by understanding your current employee experience and your culture. Focus on inclusive leadership to build a culture that welcomes a broad demographic of lived experience through training and awareness that includes emotional intelligence, cultural intelligence and effective communication skills. If necessary, look for ways to bring in subject matter experts where you do not have the skills in-house.

1. Defining Inclusive Recruitment

Young woman doing a job interview

When it comes to finding the right candidate for a job, it is important that everyone who is interested in applying has an equal opportunity to do so. Therefore, inclusive recruitment processes are so important and why businesses need to focus on creating an inclusive culture of belonging among their existing workforce before going to market for new hires.

An inclusive recruitment process involves making sure that all candidates who are interested in a position have access to information about the position and the company. This includes not only applicants who have been contacted by phone or email, but also applicants who have applied online or through other channels. Inclusive recruitment helps to ensure that everyone who is interested in a job has an equal opportunity to be considered for it. As recruiters, we have a responsibility to be proactive in thinking about the application process and developing a mindset to attract diverse talent.

There are a number of benefits associated with using an inclusive recruitment process. For example, it can help reduce bias and discrimination in the hiring process. It can also help to increase the pool of qualified candidates, which can lead to faster and more accurate decision-making when hiring managers are searching for new employees. Finally, an inclusive recruitment process can help create a positive relationship between the company and its applicant base, which can lead to longer-term success for both sides involved.

Getting started with inclusive recruitment isn’t as difficult as you might think – there are many resources available online (including our website) that cover all aspects of recruitment that can help you get started. By getting the basics right and in place you will not only attract the best talent, but you will also retain them as well.

2. The Business Case for Inclusive Recruitment

Inclusive recruitment is becoming an increasingly important part of the hiring process. The business case for inclusive recruitment is clear—it benefits both the company and the candidate. Here are some of the key reasons why:

  • An accessible recruitment process means that everyone can participate, regardless of their disability or impairment. This reduces barriers to entry for a diverse set of individuals who are potential candidates and makes it easier for them to find a job that matches their skills and interests. Are you thinking through a candidate’s lens?
  • A diverse slate of candidates means that companies can find the best talent for the position, no matter what race, gender, or ethnicity they identify with. This improves employee retention rates, as well as creativity and innovation within an organization. This starts with positive change and a complete review of your approach to talent acquisition.
  • The importance of data collection and understanding demographics in inclusive recruiting cannot be overstated. By using data analytics to assess candidates’ qualifications and disabilities, companies can make informed decisions about who to interview and hire. By understanding demographics such as age range or experience level required for a position, companies can avoid bias in their recruitment process. We have to take time in the process to analyse our results and where necessary take corrective action to create a more inclusive talent pool to choose from.

There are many steps that need to be taken in order to create an inclusive talent application process; however, with careful planning and execution, it can be incredibly successful. If you’re interested in learning more about how inclusive recruitment can benefit your company, please contact us today!

3. Accessibility in the Recruitment Process

Women in wheelchair sat at desk opposite her colleagueWhen it comes to the recruitment process, making your website and job adverts accessible is one of the most important steps you can take. By doing this, you are opening up your talent pool to diverse applicants, including those with disabilities and increasing the chances of hiring someone who is perfect for the job, which may not have normally made it through the selection process.

There are a number of other things that you can do in order to make your recruitment process more accessible. For example, you can ensure that all communications are inclusive and use language that is appropriate for all audiences. You can also provide reasonable adjustments during the interview process, such as providing a sign language interpreter or giving candidates with mobility impairments time to prepare for an interview.

Including people with disabilities in the recruitment process is not only important from a practical standpoint – it’s also good business practice. Studies have shown that companies that make their recruitment processes more accessible attract better talent and bottom-line profits. So, not only will you be ensuring fairness in the hiring process, but you will also be getting top-quality employees who are perfect for the job.

4. Creating a Diverse Slate of Candidates

Creating a diverse slate of candidates is important for many reasons. Not only does it help to ensure that the candidate pool is representative of the population as a whole, but it also helps to improve the likelihood of finding qualified candidates. Additionally, creating a diverse slate can provide employers with a wider range of perspectives and ideas to consider when hiring new employees. Look for ways to ensure you have a diverse set of perspectives when reviewing your candidate applications.

There are several ways in which you can create a diverse slate of candidates. For example, you can actively seek out people from different backgrounds, or you can use software that automatically identifies diversity in your applicant pool. The benefits of creating a diverse slate are numerous and include improved recruitment rates, increased employee morale, and reduced discrimination claims. So go ahead – make your workplace more inclusive by diversifying your candidate pool!

One way to create a diverse slate of candidates is to actively seek out people from different backgrounds. This can be done through job postings, networking events, or meetups specifically designed for people from underrepresented groups. You can also use software that automatically identifies diversity in your applicant pool.

Review the language in your recruitment marketing campaigns, check your employer value proposition and ensure your social media and website is reflective of the fact you are welcoming to a broad set of lived experiences and backgrounds. Avoid unnecessary “nice to have” requirements and stick to the absolute requirements of the job role – does the person really need to have 10 years of experience and a 2:1 degree from a top university?

Consider implementing a guaranteed shortlist place for candidates from underrepresented groups – for example people with a disability, those from Black, Brown and other ethnicities, and where you are trying to balance gender representation, women. So go ahead – make your workplace more inclusive by diversifying your candidate pool!

5. Overcoming Bias in the Recruitment Process

Professionals awaiting an interviewBias can be a big problem when it comes to hiring. Bias can creep into the recruitment process at any stage, from identifying potential candidates to assessing their qualifications. If left unchecked, this bias can lead to unrepresentative hires and a lack of diversity in the workplace.

There are a number of steps that organizations can take to overcome bias in the recruitment process. These include analyzing data, increasing transparency, and creating psychological safety. Additionally, anonymising applications and CVs can help to protect candidates’ privacy and anonymity. Better still ditch the CV completely and use objective-based questions or on-the-job testing.

Addressing our own biases is often difficult, but it’s essential for hiring managers, talent acquisition teams, and human resources departments in large organizations. By taking these steps, we can create a more diverse and inclusive workplace which will benefit everyone involved.

One of the best ways to overcome bias in the recruitment process is to analyze data. This can help to identify which types of candidates are being shown the most interest, and why. Additionally, this data can be used to create targeted marketing campaigns that attract a more diverse range of applicants. If our evidence is not meeting expectations, have the mind to stop, pause and reflect and if necessary re-run the process having addressed the causes of the imbalance.

Another important step is increasing transparency. This includes making all hiring processes and criteria available for public inspection, as well as publishing diversity reports on an annual basis. This transparency will help to ensure that everyone involved in the recruitment process is aware of where they stand and what needs to be done to improve.

Psychological safety also plays an important role in overcoming bias in the recruitment process. This refers to ensuring that all members of a team are comfortable discussing difficult topics such as race and gender without fear or retribution. By creating a safe environment, organisations can encourage employees from diverse backgrounds to apply for positions and make better hires overall.

6. Promoting Gender Parity in the Workplace

Gender parity in the workplace is important not only because it is a moral obligation, but also because it can benefit businesses in many ways. For example, research has shown that companies with more women in leadership positions are more likely to have better financial performance. Additionally, gender parity can lead to improved communication and teamwork among employees. In fact, studies have shown that when women participate equally in decision-making processes, they are often better equipped to make sound decisions.

Therefore, promoting gender parity in the workplace is not only a moral responsibility; it is also good for business. Hiring managers and talent acquisition teams should take specific steps during the recruitment process in order to achieve this goal. For example, they should avoid bias when assessing candidates’ qualifications and interviewing them. Additionally, human resources departments can help promote gender parity by conducting data analysis and promoting psychological safety. Psychological safety means ensuring that all employees feel safe sharing their opinions and ideas regardless of their gender identity or expression.

7. Encouraging Underrepresented Groups to Apply

Diverse group of people smiling and happyThere is no one-size-fits-all approach to encouraging underrepresented groups to apply for jobs. However, there are a few key things hiring managers can do to make the process more inclusive and diverse.

First, it is important for hiring managers to understand the difference between an inclusive and diverse workplace. An inclusive workplace recognizes that everyone has different strengths and abilities, which makes everyone feel valued and appreciated. A diverse workplace includes people from all socio-economic backgrounds, genders, races, religions, sexual orientations, etc. Inclusive workplaces are better because they foster a sense of community and camaraderie within the organization.

Next, it is important for hiring managers to be aware of their own biases. It is impossible for them to be unbiased when considering applicants for a position; instead, they should focus on assessing each applicant’s qualifications objectively. Additionally, it is important for hiring managers to create an environment where all employees feel safe expressing themselves freely without fear of judgement or retaliation. This helps promote psychological safety in the workplace. Psychological safety allows employees to openly share their thoughts and feelings without feeling worried about reprisal from their colleagues or supervisors. It also encourages creativity and innovation because employees feel comfortable sharing unorthodox ideas with one another.

8. Ensuring Psychological Safety in the Interview Process

Interviewing potential employees is an important part of the hiring process, and it is essential that psychological safety is maintained throughout the process. This means ensuring that all interviewees feel comfortable and safe during the interview, from beginning to end.

There are a number of ways to ensure psychological safety in the interview process. One way is to identify any unconscious bias that may be present. By doing this, you can help to eliminate any potential barriers or challenges that may stand in the way of a successful hire. Additionally, maintaining psychological safety will impact how inclusive your workplace culture becomes. Creating an environment where everyone feels welcome and supported can be a key factor in success.

Here are some tips for ensuring psychological safety during your interviews:

  • Make sure that all questions are relevant to the position being interviewed for.
  • Consider informing candidates of the interview questions in advance.
  • Ensure the interview and selection panel has a diverse representation.
  • Be respectful and understanding of both candidates’ time commitments.
  • Take care not to belittle or question candidates’ skills or experience.
  • Never make threats or promises about future roles or promotions if you have not actually discussed them with the candidate first.

9. Collecting Data on Demographics and Diversity

There is a growing trend in businesses to collect data on demographics and diversity. This is because collecting this data can help to improve the customer experience, as well as create a more diverse and inclusive workforce. However, there are many different ways to collect data on demographics and diversity, and it is important to select the right method for your business.

One way to collect data on demographics and diversity is through questions during the application process. However, it is important to note that surveys can be biased, so it is important to take care when selecting which survey questions to ask. and explain “why” providing this data is important and what it will be used for. It is about building trust with your candidates and reducing the number of “prefer not to say” responses.

10. Analysing Progress Towards Inclusive Recruitment Goals

Young group of diverse friends having fun in a sunny day - Multiracial best friends enjoying time together outdoors - United millennial people laughingInclusive recruitment is a process that aims to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce. By doing this, businesses can improve their bottom line by attracting and hiring the best possible employees. However, achieving inclusive recruitment goals is not easy – it requires careful planning and execution.

To help you achieve your inclusive recruitment goals, we’ve put together some tips on how to analyse progress. First of all, you need to understand what you are trying to achieve. Next, you need to track your progress using data-driven methods. This will allow you to measure the effectiveness of your interventions and make adjustments as needed. Finally, psychological safety is key in an inclusive recruitment process – it’s essential that everyone feels comfortable discussing potential challenges and obstacles. If everything goes according to plan, inclusive recruitment should be a success!

To analyse progress, you first need to understand what you are trying to achieve. This can be difficult – inclusive recruitment is an often-nebulous term that can mean different things to different people. However, there are some key factors that you should consider when planning your inclusive recruitment strategy.

One key factor is the diversity index. The diversity index looks at several factors including gender, age, ethnicity and disability discrimination. By measuring how diverse your workforce is, you can see whether or not you are making headway towards your inclusive recruitment goals. By also factoring in the demographic of your own locale and that of your target customers then you can ensure alignment between workforce and community.

Another important factor to consider is the percentage of women in leadership roles. If women make up a small minority in senior positions, this will have a negative impact on female representation in the workplace overall. To ensure that your organisation has a strong female presence, you should focus on promoting and appointing more female leaders.

Finally, it’s essential that everyone feels comfortable discussing potential challenges and obstacles. If psychological safety isn’t ensured across all departments and teams, progress towards inclusive recruitment goals will be hindered. To help build psychological safety awareness within your organisation, introduce policies such as equal opportunity training and anti-harassment protocols.

To Conclude

There is no one-size-fits-all solution or magic bullet to the problem of diversity in the STEM sector. However, inclusive recruitment is a great place to start. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can make your recruitment process more inclusive and help promote workplace diversity. So, what are you waiting for? Get started today!


Joanne LockwoodJoanne Lockwood is the Founder and CEO of SEE Change Happen, an Inclusion and belonging Practice that supports organisations and businesses. She’s passionate that the world of work should be better for everyone and organisations need to create a culture where everyone feels psychological safety and can thrive. She also specialises in LGBTQIA+ awareness, specifically for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming individuals.

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