The recruitment strategies you need to build a diverse workforce

If you want to create an equitable and inclusive team, diversity needs to be embedded within the complete employee lifecycle, and that starts with your recruitment strategy.

A diverse recruitment strategy means all stages of the recruitment process are designed to promote rather than hinder diversity. It sounds simple, but it is easy to get overwhelmed when you need to consider every stage of the process, especially if you work within an organisation that has been around for a long time. How do your current hiring practices make certain that hiring is based on merit, and biases related to a candidate’s age, race, or sexual orientation are reduced? Auditing and then dismantling current hiring policies and procedures can seem like an impossible task – even if everyone agrees that diversity is the way forward!

That’s why we’ve broken down the process into small, manageable steps which you can start taking today to improve your recruitment strategies. As a specialist scientific recruiter, these are the practices we’re seeing many organisations achieve positive results with.

  1. Diversify your Job Adverts

Your recruitment posts are the first things that a jobseeker will see, so let’s start with those. First, make sure you are promoting your diversity-friendly characteristics (e.g. flexible working), and check your benefits are not divisive (e.g. an extra day off at Christmas might not be appealing to all faiths).  Next, check that your language is gender-neutral, for instance, use ‘they’ instead of he/she where appropriate. If you want to be extra cautious, use one of the free online tools to make sure there is no subtle bias in your language, like the Gender Decoder. You should also take steps to ensure that your adverts are seen in as many places as possible by as many different types of people as possible – you can’t just rely on one website.

  1. Make your Screening Stage Fair

Once you have a pool of applicants to pick from, you need to work on your screening process. If you have been clear when deciding the criteria you will measure the applicants against, this stage should be easy. However, it can help to have at least two people work through the pool to help ensure no assumptions are made. If you struggle at this stage, there are ‘blind hiring’ tools which anonymise applications to help reduce any unconscious bias in your screening processes.

  1. Practice Inclusive Interviewing

It’s good practice to check if an interviewee requires any special arrangements to be made in order to attend the interview – whether virtual or in person. As well as preparing for their individual needs, you should prepare your questions, scoring criteria, and interview personnel in advance in order to prevent any bias in how you interview the applicants. Having standardised questions, and reading them exactly as written may seem pedantic but it’s one of the keys to an inclusive interview process.

Remember, workplace diversity doesn’t end at hiring. You get the most out of a diverse workplace by appreciating the differences between individuals, and ensuring that their attributes and characteristics are valued and that their participation is equal.

As recruiters, the CY Partners team fully understand the role that we play in D&I, and as a business we are 100% committed to promoting diversity and inclusion both internally and when working with businesses and jobseekers. If you’d like guidance on how to improve your recruitment practices, please contact us here.

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