It’s probably not news to you that many candidates experience bias during the hiring process. However, what has changed in recent years is the tolerance of employers and candidates alike to let discrimination continue.
For years, companies in the UK and abroad have been losing out on top talent because of a lack of diversity in their hiring processes, letting great candidates fall through the net or simply putting them off from applying all together. With the pressures of the Great Resignation, however, it’s now more important than ever for companies to tap into new talent pools to find the right person for their jobs. And diverse hiring is just that: not a tick-box exercise, but a method of ensuring that you attract the top talent, irrespective of race, gender, sexual orientation or any other characteristic.
And diverse hiring is good for your business, too. By hiring people from a wide variety of backgrounds, you get a stronger workforce with a more varied skillset and the ability to see multiple perspectives. A recent study conducted by McKinsey & Company actually found that those companies in the top quartile of cultural diversity were 33% more likely to have higher profitability levels.
In recent years, diverse hiring has become one of the top priorities for companies and recruiters alike. In fact, diversity, equity, and inclusion was voted the top factor (with 59% of the vote) expected to shape recruitment in 2022 in Findem’s Annual Recruiting Trends report, even ranking ahead of remote working (at 51%). This same report notes that ‘more diverse experiences and backgrounds can increase innovation, creativity, improve financial performance, and so much more’.
Whilst your company might have already done the initial groundwork of diversifying its culture–such as unconscious bias training, metrics dashboards or pay equity audits–there are still some common blindspots in the recruitment process which can have a big impact on your talent acquisition which you may be missing. Here are our top tips for making your recruitment process more accessible.
Use inclusive language in your job postings
Candidates are more astute than ever to the language of job advertisements. According to a 2022 study by Lever, 71% of candidates review job postings when applying to ensure inclusive language is used. That means that you could be putting off top talent just by carelessly using gendered words, pronouns or by using alienating jargon. Don’t know where you might be going wrong? You can work with an experienced recruitment agency like Edge 1 to audit your previous vacancies and proofread your future postings to make sure that your jobs appeal to a wider audience from a variety of backgrounds. There are a whole range of recruitment tools to tracks your metrics and ensure you don’t repeat the mistakes of previous postings which we can help you implement and learn.
Broaden how you search for candidates
If you’re always hiring candidates from the same university or the same companies, you’re not going to broaden and diversify your talent search. The same goes for recruitment platforms–don’t limit your listings and queries to LinkedIn postings alone. Expand your talent acquisition to new websites, databases and even emails to tap into untouched pools of candidates. Passive recruitment has risen in popularity in the last year–which refers to contacting candidates who are not actively looking for a new job, but are unsatisfied with their current role–and this can be used to directly contact your dream teams. You can change your recruitment strategy at any and all stages of your recruitment pipeline–so think about diversifying your internship and even work experience schemes, too.
Update your inclusion policies
Prospective candidates are checking companies’ websites and reports more than ever to check their stance on diversity and other ethical issues, and matching with a company’s ethical values is an important factor in candidates’ decision to accept or reject a job offer. According to Lever, 81% of candidates check a company’s website for their stance on DEI before applying. This means that you should make sure you have a diversity statement on your website and that your values and statistics are up to date. By showing that diversity is valued and embraced in your company culture, you can help add these same values into your recruitment process.
Ensure your interview process is accessible
Candidates can not only be put off from a job at the application stage but also during the hiring process itself. Ensure you encourage top talent by making the interview process as accessible and fair as possible, offering to make reasonable adjustments whenever needed and including diverse perspectives in the interview personnel.
Shifting from one-to-one interviews towards panel interviews can help to remove bias and bring more diversity to candidate selection and always ensure that the applications you receive are anonymous at the screening stage to eliminate unconscious bias. You might also consider using an ATS system which flags or filters certain skills or experience levels, taking the human error out of the screening equation.
Make sure the experience of working with you actually accommodates diversity
It’s not just about securing diverse talent, but also about keeping people and avoiding attrition. If your company culture isn’t actually as inclusive as your job posting or interview process led a candidate to believe, you’re at risk of losing some of your best people. Company culture is also important in creating a reputation for your company: if the experience of working at your company is discriminatory, all of the branding in the world isn’t going to undo the word of mouth truth. This means you have to follow through on your diversity promises–from creating open forums to educate your employees on diversity to being open to new, creative ideas when they’re suggested–a diverse company culture happens day by day.
Ensure that your company makes working life accessible for your employees, giving equal opportunities to those from all backgrounds and that it’s possible for everyone to make career progression based on merit. According to Business Wire, Jessica Green, SVP, Customer Success at Lever believes that, ‘employers must reevaluate their DEI efforts to ensure their policies are making employees and candidates feel included, welcome, and comfortable. One-off DEI initiatives don’t cut it for employees or candidates, and inclusive and equitable practices need to be ingrained into the fabric of the company’.
Teedra Bernard, the Chief Talent and Diversity Officer of TransUnion, commented at a roundtable on diversity in the workplace that, ‘DEI is not simply a value that organizations can claim—it’s a constant evolution’, asking: ‘Once hired, are opportunities for associate growth and advancement available and easy to navigate? Do resource groups and associate communities not only exist, but thrive? Does the organization actively provide support and share resources to these groups, and do processes exist for associates to share feedback on company culture?’
Boost your employer branding with care
Once you’ve honed in on what your ethical values are, you can boost your employer branding, displaying your brand in new and diverse places. You can stress the importance of valuing all people and opinions from all backgrounds–as Virgin Atlantic has just done in their latest advert–but be warned that there is a fine line between being proud of your diverse employees and offensive tokenism. According to Lever, 44% of employees have felt that because of their gender, ethnicity, or race they are overly promoted on company materials, in order for their company to appear more diverse.
An experienced recruitment agency like Edge 1 can help you ensure you’re appealing and welcoming to candidates from all backgrounds without taking advantage of their image in your branding.
Make sure your diversity changes are authentic
Candidates know when they’re just a check box on a diversity quota. Make them feel genuinely valued throughout the recruitment process, onboarding and in their future work with you so that they can make a real, positive contribution to your company. According to Lever, 39% of employees think their organisation views DEI as a checkbox, with 62% of employees believing they were interviewed for a job simply so that the company could meet diversity requirements. However, diversity in hiring practices is not about meeting quotas but about ensuring the best candidates for the job get hired, irrespective of background.
A recruitment agency like Edge 1 can help you audit your recruitment process to see where your blindspots are, whether it be unconscious bias or a lack of accessibility, and move past check box exercises into assessing all candidates equally as individuals.
Do you think your company could benefit from additional guidance on how to navigate equal opportunities in the hiring process? At Edge 1, we’re here to help. Simply get in contact with us here and we’ll have a chat about what we can do to help you.