How to ensure your recruitment process embraces diversity

An article looking into diversity. Its importance for companies and how to act decisively to create a recruitment process that includes rather than excludes.

Talent attraction
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15
 Min read
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November 22, 2021

Improving diversity within the workplace is an increasingly significant priority for businesses. For example, 37% of recruiters ranked hiring more diverse candidates as a fast-growing trend of companies. Their attempts to foster a more inclusive environment rely upon respecting and embracing this approach. 

For businesses and broader society, ensuring organizations provide equal opportunities to all candidates and employees regardless of their background is long overdue. To create equality in the workplace, teams must reflect the general makeup of society. And to make the diverse and exciting workforces of the present and future, companies need to create a recruiting experience that is both comfortable and accessible for all. 😃

So, this article will look at how a business can improve its recruiting process to increase its reach and cater to a wide range of demographics. It will seek to help companies implement methods to enhance the diversity of their workforce so that the many and not the few stand to benefit. We will explore how the following can positively affect the diversifying of the recruitment process:

  • By establishing a businesses' goals when it comes to diversity and understanding what it seeks to achieve
  • Providing unconscious bias training across the company
  • The embracing of new strategies for job advertising to appeal to as broad an audience as possible.
  • How the employer brand is vital in showcasing the diversity
  • The techniques to utilize in the recruiting and interview process to impress the value companies place on improving the diversity of the workforce.

So, with all this fascinating insight into the world of diversity to look forward to, let's get started! 🏃‍♀️


But first, what is diversity hiring?

Diversity hiring focuses on making sure recruitment is free from bias, based on merit and provides everyone with an equal opportunity. There is particular emphasis on preventing preference relating to a candidate's age, race, religion, sexual orientation and other personal characteristics.

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Ultimately, these differences are unrelated to how capably the individual can fulfil the job specifications or deliver excellent work performance. 


And, the benefits of embracing diversity for a company?

Well, let these stone-cold statistics sink in:

  • Gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to have a financial performance above the industry mean.
  • Ethnically diverse businesses are 35% more likely to have a financial performance above the industry mean.
  • The businesses with the highest level of ethical diversity will bring in, wait for it, 15 times the sales revenue than those with the lowest level of racial diversity!

In addition, diverse perspectives can enrich an organization. A diverse workforce can improve the processes of daily working life. With a mosaic of voices and backgrounds, businesses can leave behind the echo chamber. And instead introduce different methods that challenge the status quo and improve creativity, innovation and hopefully, performance. 🤩

So, with these benefits in mind, what can a business do to increase its focus on diversity in recruiting? 📝


Taking a long-term approach to diversifying recruitment

🙋 What does a company seek to achieve? 

It is a big question, but businesses must take a more extensive perspective when tackling sensitive subjects such as diversity. A company needs to establish its goals and strategy for guaranteeing diversity targets can be achieved in its recruitment.

Knowing what the end goal is, is far better than running around blind. Checkbox diversity or hiring diversely for the sake of variety won't challenge the root cause of the issue. But will only add to the problem.


Map out the future direction

For businesses, a long-term plan to improve diversity in the workplace can have many advantages. First, it will help boost the recruitment process, identifying and reducing potential biases in candidate selection. Which can help make qualified, diverse candidates know that this business is right for them and that they have as equal a chance to be hired as anyone. 

By focusing internally on how a business can improve its diversity, you can look at how it interacts within its processes, especially during recruitment. By analyzing how they have worked previously, what has worked and what needs amending—engaging with one another to learn and grow due to open dialogue. 🤔

Businesses seek to be the most attractive proposition for would-be candidates. And so, finding solutions, setting out targets and metrics to make diversity a number one priority is an essential first step. 🧗‍♀️

How to help the workforce understand the value of diversity

For employees, diversity is of paramount importance in the workplace. And to turn these ideals into actionable outcomes, businesses should look to increase the opportunity to discuss and understand diversity within a safe space.

To help employees recognize attributes of an environment that doesn't cater to diversity:

  1. Look to increase training and education related to the subject.
  2. Discuss how to understand unconscious bias alongside its negative impact upon a workplace.
  3. Encourage, in a supportive and responsible manner, the workforce to speak about their experiences.
  4. Learn from one another's testimonies, mistakes and progress. And action positive change.

During these open discussions, there may be uncomfortable conversations. But it is vital to remember that out of these, enlightened outcomes could arise. 💬

Why it is important for employees to talk about diversity

Providing a platform for employees to speak about their diversity experiences highlights an environment bent on progression and understanding. Educating the workforce on having more of an eye on diversity can help the recruitment process improve with a renewed focus on avoiding past missteps and providing an excellent experience for all. 

And this may create increased support among the workforce. The staff feel this is a company where their voice and experiences are respected. And this can be a massive benefit for businesses. 🤝

Supportive of a company's embrace of diversity, employees can become advocates and spokespersons in future recruitment. They can explain why this company is different, and through the training and focus on diversity, they say what they mean. The sharing of their experience can be a valuable tool to attract further diverse candidates. Promoting the company within their networks and providing tools to help employees and candidates alike feel that they value their opinion and presence.


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How to advertise jobs to speak to as broad an audience as possible

The language of the job specification 🔤

A simple proposition. But one that can affect candidates' desire to apply for a job. Therefore, the language and tone used must speak to as broad a range of candidates as possible. 

However, sometimes language can be geared towards specific demographics to the detriment of others, marginalizing these individuals and making them feel that they wouldn't fit or couldn't do the job correctly. If a business is serious about encouraging diversity in its recruitment, this needs to change. 🙅

So, businesses need to consider the job postings and how they may appear to potential candidates. An excellent way to start is to look at past recruitment advertisements. 

  • How is the ideal candidate described? 
  • What traits does one associate with the role? 
  • Do the words traditionally associated with a role speak to a particular type of individual? 
  • If so, how can you adapt this to become more inclusive?

How the right style can attract more variety in applicants

The language and tone used are vital. Consider the importance of tone and gender-neutral word selection when writing, which has helped engage 42% more candidates. An individual with different traits and experience may bring a fresh perspective to the role, so think about making the role description into a more welcoming, middle ground.

Doing this can help remove any elements of unconscious bias from job specifications and postings, which can help grow appeal, include rather than exclude and attract candidates different to the status quo. 

Thus, a more inclusive attitude can increase the number of those applying for the role. With more interest the organization has more scope and range to find the perfect candidate.

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Widen the search, advertise in new places 🔎

To source candidates from diverse backgrounds, look to expand the company's horizons. 

For a business, this means going beyond the traditional forms of advertising their positions, the same job sites, careers pages, even newspapers. This rinse and repeat attitude to job advertising may work in finding suitable candidates, but it limits the talent pool who may access or know of these sources. 

To appeal to a more diverse audience, take the initiative and identify channels where a wider pool can view the company vacancies or even speak directly to audiences of underrepresented demographics within the organization. 🗺️

To broaden the applicant base, be imaginative in how new audiences can find the roles. For example, 79% of job seekers use social media as their primary job-searching tool; a business needs to establish an online social presence. As a result, it is easy for applicants to connect and learn about the company and its roles. 

Furthermore, research recruitment websites that are tailor-made for specific demographics. Businesses must adapt to a new age, going beyond the traditional, to find the talent the organization may have been missing.


How the employer brand can highlight diversity

How would-be candidates perceive businesses can impact their decision making to apply for a position. And so, the employer brand is critical. Strike the right tone, and it can bring candidates knocking on the door. 🚪

So, when it comes to appealing to a diverse audience, businesses need to think about how they can show candidates that there is a culture that values the contribution of people from all different backgrounds. 👍

It is essential to consider how the company appears from an outside perspective. For example, the marketing material, website and branding, what kind of impression are you making on would-be applicants? Does the material reflect the diverse audience the business is trying to encourage to join? 

How the employer brand can offer insight into a diverse and exciting organization

Businesses must look to address these concerns. For example, would potential candidates wish to work in a place where they may feel under-represented or isolated? It is crucial, therefore, to showcase the right environment.

 In addition, explore the stories of those currently part of the organization and their accounts of life within different business areas. Promoting diverse lives and stories will help speak to a broader audience that the organization is a home for many and not the few. And the diversity of the company is a strength, encouraged by different perspectives and innovative ideas to drive it into the future.

Bernie Sanders Diversity GIF by Democratic National Convention

For audiences, this is a powerful story. Finally, an organic employer brand is proudly detailing its diverse organization. For prospective candidates, such a mission and culture can be a significant appeal. Thus, bringing the best talent into the recruitment process, seeking out this exciting opportunity. 🤗


How to encourage diversity within the recruitment process

The University of Bristol completed a study that found that Muslim men are 76% less likely to be employed than white Christian males, and Muslim women are 65% less likely to be hired

To prevent a biased assessment of candidates, even if not done consciously, needs to be a priority of companies. In order to deliver equal opportunity for all candidates, businesses should consider these techniques within the recruitment process to reduce the potential for bias:

During the recruitment process

  • Remove identifying features of candidates—information related to name, location, date of birth or school. The candidate's details are a blank canvas. Blind techniques level the field. All businesses have regarding the candidates is their qualifications and skills.
  • The use of AI to screen applications. AI can help search for the specific skills and experience that the role requires. AI works within the parameters decided by the relevant departments and hiring teams. The independent search can provide a completely impartial list of candidates, reducing the potential for human bias.🤖
  • Within early conversations with candidates, keep things text-based. The questions a business may have for candidates as part of their recruitment process allow for anonymous answering. Avoid personal information and interaction via phone or in person. 

These are practical examples of eliminating the personal focus upon candidates, especially early within the process. Instead, the focus during this stage should be to identify the candidate with the right skill set for the role. The later stages are for establishing the right personality to contribute to the workplace culture.

During the interview stage

  • Preparation is key. Prepare for the interview as a candidate might. Know precisely what a new hire needs to have. In regards to experience, skills, personal attributes. As well as how to question the candidates to obtain this information.
  • Have a scoring system in place so to judge candidates on set criteria. 📝
  • During the interview, ask the same questions in the same order to all candidates. It may be boring, but it ensures all candidates receive the same treatment, and it is easier to compare their answers.
  • When possible, utilize a diverse interview panel. For candidates, this is important. It can put them at ease, reassuring them that the organization employs people who are the same. And that they can expect fair analysis and judgement on their viability for the role. Based on their abilities rather than any differences. It also highlights that the business they are looking to join is a diverse organization. 

A standardized interview experience will help to mitigate the possibility of unconscious bias affecting the recruitment process. In addition, a process that has everything ready to make an evidence-based decision will prevent a biased decision regarding selecting a candidate.🔥


How to make sure businesses have an eye out for diversity

Diversity is vital for businesses. From a business perspective, a workforce consisting of individuals with different experiences and backgrounds encourages an environment to be innovative. In addition, it can facilitate opportunities for employees to think outside of the box, embrace new ideas and creatively plot future directions an organization may travel. 

And so, for a company to benefit from this, it is crucial they are dedicated to ensuring equal opportunity and a recruitment process that includes rather than excludes a broad spectrum of candidates applying for their positions.

For businesses to create a recruitment process that aims to deliver on diversity, organizations should consider these alterations:

  • Setting out from the beginning the goals a business wants to achieve when it comes to diversity. Establishing long-term aspirations keeps minds focussed on the importance of diversity and how to get there.
  • Educating the workforce on unconscious bias. Awareness and understanding of how diversity can grow a business and the impact of unconscious bias upon individuals.
  • Advertise jobs to appeal to a diverse audience. The language, tone, location of job postings and branding are vital in attracting candidates, so they need to be more inclusive.
  • How the recruiting and interview stages of the recruitment process can be more aligned with a company's diversity targets. So the company can prevent biased decisions from polluting the process.

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