Evidence shows that having a more diverse workforce can have a huge positive impact on a business. McKinsey’s Diversity Matters report found that companies with a high level of cultural and ethnic diversity were 33% more likely to outperform their competitors. However, achieving a genuinely diverse recruitment process is a difficult task for many companies. With things like unconscious bias creeping in, how can we help to ensure our recruitment practices are as diverse as they can be? Here are 5 steps to take to improve your diversity hiring process.
The best place to start is by taking a look at what your current recruitment process is. Start with looking at your job adverts – is the language as neutral as possible? Research has found that the words used in job adverts can have gender associations. For example, the word ‘leader’ and ‘expert’ are masculine-focused, whilst terms such as ‘support’ and ‘together’ appeal to women more. Furthermore, it’s not just gendered wording you need to be careful of, make sure you’re being inclusive to everyone, no matter what their background is. Try not to use too much corporate language, and make sure the job advert is formatted in an accessible way too. There are many tools available which can help to analyse your job adverts and make recommendations on where to improve them.
As well as the job adverts themselves, it’s a good idea to review the recruitment journey which a candidate will go through. Do you ask people for any access requirements/adjustments they might need before an interview? Is the interviewing panel as diverse as possible?
Bias can’t be avoided, it’s an ingrained part of being human. However, there are steps you can take to ensure that bias is minimised in your recruitment process as much as possible. The best way to do this is to have a standardised hiring process for all vacancies. Things like blind hiring can be a really useful tool in achieving this. Blind hiring is when all identifying details are removed from an application form/CV. This allows recruiters to hire someone based on their skills and experience and helps to eliminate any biases which may occur for whatever reason.
Internal unconscious bias training with HR and wider teams involved in the hiring process will also benefit a businesses’ recruitment strategy. Many people do not realise when their own biases are coming into play, but by actively training employees on how to minimise bias, they are more likely to carefully make decisions with as little pre-judgement as possible.
It’s easy to forget that when you’re hiring for a new employee, you are under judgment as much as the candidate is. The information you put on your careers site, job adverts and social media can have a huge impact on whether someone hits that apply button or not. This is especially important when it comes to diverse candidates. For example, if someone from an ethnic minority background looks on your careers site and social media and sees nobody of the same background as them, they may find it difficult to imagine themselves working for you. For these reasons, you could be unknowingly shutting the door to so many potential applicants before you’ve even seen their CVs.
It’s not just imagery you need to look at either, the benefits you list on your site & job adverts can be a huge factor in whether people apply or not. Research has shown that almost half of job adverts fail to mention any benefits at all. This is a huge error, as a potential employee needs to know what you’re offering just as much as what you want from them. According to candidate research by PageGroup, 71% of people ranked flexible working hours as the most-wanted workplace benefits. This is also likely to be a key benefit which diverse candidates seek, such as women who may need a flexible work schedule to fit around family life.
Another way to increase the number of diverse candidates applying to your vacancies is to explicitly seek out these people by targeting where you advertise your roles. Posting to affinity groups on LinkedIn and more niche targeted job boards such as women in tech jobs is likely to have much more impact than posting on generic job sites such as Indeed or Reed. As well as this, consider introducing an employee referral scheme to encourage current employees to refer and recommend people in their own personal professional network. Generally speaking, minority employees are more likely to refer people from a similar background to them, so this is a great way of expanding your talent pool.
Instead of setting a general target to improve your diversity, consider what individual goals you can set as a company. For example, could you pledge to increase female employees in tech by 10% in the next year? By setting specific goals, you increase accountability for the recruitment team across the business. Going back to your ‘brand’ to a potential employee, if they see you are actively working to improve your diversity, this may well encourage them to make that application.
It’s clear to see that a diverse and inclusive company is more likely to be successful than one with no strategy in this area. By taking these five steps and thoughtfully considering your recruitment process, you should attract more candidates from minority and diverse backgrounds.
Find out more about how to attract diverse talent in tech.