Workplace Diversity begins with Recruitment.

Why is diversity within recruitment important?

An essential step to the diversity and inclusion process begins with recruitment. It is important as a company, that you are looking at the ways in which you are recruiting your workforce. The strategies you have in place will effect your ability to attract a diverse group of people.

Many organisations are unaware that applicants can often be discouraged from applying to a position because they feel they will not be able to integrate within the company, particularly if inclusion isn’t shown at the forefront of a company’s values.

Developing and fostering a diverse work force allows for individuals from different backgrounds to work together, bring forward a host of contrasting thoughts, ideas and opinions. Many of which will help your business to create better products and services, and show customers and competitors that you are dedicated to diversity within the workplace. These more varied ideas will create innovate ways to problem solve, challenge group thinking as well adding value to your organisations.

How biases can be detrimental to recruiting diverse

Hiring biases are one of the biggest barriers organisations often face when it comes to recruiting new employees. It has been shown that through selection processes such as interviews, it is common for the interviewers to be more comfortable with applicants who look and behave like themselves rather than those who do not.

There are many different types of biases that will stop a recruiter from connecting with a candidate, whether that is race or gender etc. possibly because of a stigma, stereotype, or because they cannot see any similarities between themselves and the candidate.

Biases can also be unconscious, this means you may not even realise you have these biases towards a certain group or groups of minorities, which may be affecting your decision making within the recruitment process. There are a number of strategies to counter unconscious bias for example, remove name, age and gender from CV applications when a recruiting manager is reviewing them for a post.

Initial assumptions can also create another type of bias- a confirmation bias, where a hiring professional or recruiter makes an initial assumption about a candidate. They then look for a way to confirm their assumption within the candidates exhibited behaviours, despite them having the skills and attributes suited to the job role.

How to combat biases

Educating your teams is a key way to eliminate hiring biases. Create a diversity strategy that promotes involving the entire management team, communicating on the initiative, and measurable objectives. Implementing it among your workforce will help ensure you are working towards your aims. Talk to your teams about the importance of a diverse work place. Provide proper training and education amongst the entire workforce not just recruiting, to ensure you are all working towards identifying biases and creating an objective way of thinking within your organisation.

Using a diverse group of people within the recruitment process from a range of different backgrounds can also help to eliminate biases. Whether that is using employees across all departments, and having more than one interviewer, it will help to gain different perspectives when hiring your candidates.

Attracting a diverse candidate selection

It is also important when recruiting to attract a diverse range of applicants. Often recruiters will recruit from the same pool of potential applicants, whether that is from the same schools and universities and advertising agencies. This will in turn create a candidate selection that is not diverse, and innovation and different opinions in the company can be stifled.

To ensure you are reaching a wider demographic, switch up the way you usually advertise for a job post, using multiple job boards and utilising social media to reach candidates that way you can open up the job role to a much more varied set of candidates. If you often recruit from the same pool, widen your search, for example, for an entry position, connect with students from universities in different areas.

Review your old job adverts and think about if the language used alienates any groups, when you create your next advert make sure you use language that does not have confusing business jargon, otherwise it could put off younger applicants or less experienced applicants. Be sure to use a mix of female and male pronouns, and be wary of using certain terms that can exclude either gender if they come over as overly masculine or feminine.

Within your job advert, creating some guidelines for your job opening is fine however making them too strict could be stopping people from applying. For example, someone may not have the desired 5 years experience as required but have other strong skills and fill requirements which would put them ahead for the role.

Keep your talent pool on file so you can refer back to it, in case someone who wasn’t a fit for one role is actually a great fit for another role in the company, which will make the hiring process easier.

Review your talent pool and look out for groups who you aren’t connecting with, therefore you can implement a new strategy to reach out to groups of people who aren’t responding to your job adverts, and encourage them to apply.

A form of recruitment to be wary of is informal recruitment, where a candidate is likely to have been selected on the basis of an affinity with the recruiter rather than by fair and objective selection, Therefore it is important to have proper recruitment processes in place to avoid this.

To summarise

Working towards diversity should be about making your workplace more inclusive and effective, not about ticking check boxes.

Diversity and inclusion should be an integral part of your recruitment process. It will help your company to prosper in the long run, through improving employee engagement, reflecting positively on company reputation, and improving cultural insights and creativity.



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