Inclusive hiring is exactly what it sounds like. A process of building your team and growing your company by being purposeful about who you hire. Inclusive hiring proactively takes into account how you can speak to the most diverse range of candidates, and evaluate them fairly.
Companies with diversity problems often claim their C-suite are exclusively white men (for example) because the pool of candidates is so small, or that these people were the only ones who applied. But that’s often only half the story. Inclusive hiring starts way before the interviews even take place, and continues throughout the whole process.
Here are the steps to inclusive hiring:
1. Be purposeful about how you write the job description
Inclusive hiring starts with how you write the job description. A survey from LinkedIn found that women were less likely to apply for more senior positions than men. It can be tempting to write a long list of qualifications and “must have” skills for any position, as well as to give positions inflated seniority. But instead consider who will actually be successful in this role, and creating a job description for that instead. Ask yourself:
- Is this qualification necessary to be successful in this role? Is this qualification relevant for this role? Eg. senior marketing roles will list a degree in marketing as an “essential”, but anything learnt in a marketing degree 10+ years ago probably isn’t relevant anymore and predates SEO, social media marketing, and TikTok….
- Does the next employee need to come to this job with this skill, or can it be taught? Eg. must the next admin assistant need to know how to work Marketo, or can they be taught the software once they start?
- Am I explaining the working patterns, hours, and expectations of the role upfront? Eg. if the role has flexible hours, are the expectations explained? People with caring responsibilities should know up front if a job is able to work around their commitments.
2. Practice blind screening for candidates
In life we tend to gravitate towards people who are similar to ourselves. The same thing happens at work. Unconscious bias can lead to interviewers preferring candidates who they have in common with themselves. If we want to create an inclusive workplace full of diversity, we have to practice inclusive hiring and blind screening.
Blind screening is the process of removing all identifying details from a resume before the hiring manager reviews them. This means removing:
- The candidates name
- The candidates age or address, if given
- The years a candidate worked for companies
- The name of the university a candidate attended
My taking away opportunities for bias, the idea is that candidates can be evaluated on skills and experience – not opportunities they have received.
3. Proactively offer adjustments to candidates
Being inclusive during hiring should be a proactive process, not a reactive series of adjustments. When arranging interviews with your candidates, make sure that you ask about any adjustments you can make. It can also be good practice to provide examples of adjustments you can make. This can be:
- Sharing details of how to get into your office building, including information about stairs, layouts, or a link to a building accessibility breakdown
- Sharing the schedule of the interview with details of what to expect in each section
- Offering to share the questions in written format as well as spoken to help comprehension
- Explaining to a candidate that they can take breaks or thinking room during the interview, and sharing locations of where quiet spaces to decompress can be found, if necessary
Every person is different and no two sets of inclusion adjustments will be the same. It’s best to engage the candidate in a discussion of how you can best help them.