5 Inclusive Recruiting Tips

Many companies with a goal of attracting and hiring diverse talent wonder why their efforts fail to produce their desired results. The key to achieving meaningful and sustainable change with your diversity recruiting efforts is to approach each step of the process more intentionally. It’s about getting to a place where each hiring manager across the organization pauses and considers each decision from an inclusive lens before taking action.

Incorporate these steps to approach recruiting with a more intentional lens to support more diverse and inclusive results.

Become self-aware

The first step to adding more inclusivity into recruiting is to become aware of how biases influence our decision-making. Unconscious biases are even more precarious, as we’re often unaware of their presence. While there are many types of biases that may be present throughout the recruiting process, affinity bias (the tendency to favor those who are like us) and confirmation bias (the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs or values) are the two most common biases

To become aware of how you may fall prey to affinity and confirmation bias, spend time noticing your behaviors over the course of one week:

  • Start to notice if you exhibit biases in meetings, before a particularly tough decision; over email, when you talk to a specific group or person; or when you’re in a certain mood (hungry, stressed or tired). 
  • Pay attention whenever you have a strong reaction to someone (positive or negative) and ask yourself why.
  • Note situations where you give more weight to information that supports your beliefs and discard information that does not.

With more appreciation and awareness of how easily our biases influence us, embrace these strategies to minimize their impact throughout critical steps of the recruiting process.

Clarify criteria

Explicitly defining criteria for a role upfront makes it harder for bias to creep in and also opens the door to considering “non-traditional” candidates.  Think deeply about the skills, capabilities and values you want the person to bring into the role and distinguish must-have versus nice-to-have criteria. This exercise may reveal that certain criteria such as educational attainment or lack of direct experience are not deal breakers, enabling you to be open to broader and more diverse candidate pools.

Rework your job descriptions

The job description provides the first impression of your company’s culture. Even subtle word choices can have a strong impact on the application pool. Be thoughtful about words you choose to reflect your inclusive intentions. Research has shown that we unconsciously associate certain words with masculine or feminine roles. Job descriptions that are skewed with gender-coded words can make candidates assume that they fit one gender over another. To avoid this pitfall, invite multiple people who can offer varied and diverse perspectives provide feedback on their reactions after reading the descriptions.

Rethink resumé review

We rely heavily on resumés, yet the information they provide can lead to unconscious bias and they aren’t always reliable indicators of future success. Here are ways to re-think your resumé review:

  • Conduct a blind review. Select demographic information to hide, obscure academic information and avoid social media pre-screening.
  • Ask for a work sample. Work samples or work sample tests that mimic the kinds of tasks the candidate will be doing in the job are better indicators of future job performance. In addition, work samples from multiple applicants also helps to minimize bias when comparing candidates by focusing on the quality of a candidate’s work versus unconsciously judging them based on appearance, gender, age, and even personality.

Standardize interviews

Structured interviews, whereby each candidate is asked the same set of defined questions, standardize the interview process and minimize bias by allowing employers to focus on the factors that have a direct impact on performance. Ask all candidates the same questions and use an interview scorecard that grades candidates’ responses to each question on a predetermined scale. In addition, select interviewers from a diverse slice of the organization to participate in these standardized interviews to minimize bias in final decision-making.

Taking these steps will help your organization move toward a more inclusive recruiting process that will result in a more diverse workforce. Learn more about fostering more inclusivity in the workplace at thebrimfullife.com 

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Beth Ridley is a former corporate executive turned organizational transformation consultant, speaker and author. Beth combines 25 years of global leadership and management consulting experience with expertise in diversity and inclusion and positive psychology to partner with leaders to transform workplace cultures to better achieve their vision and goals. Beth’s work is featured in national publications and she frequently delivers keynotes and workshops at events around the world. Beth lives with her husband and three children in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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