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Is your hiring process a level playing field?

Everyone wants to recruit the best person – there’s no question about it.

But, how do you know you’re really attracting the right people if your hiring process isn’t accessible to everyone from the get-go?

Almost 70% of business leaders rate diversity and inclusion as an important issue. Yet many organisations lack the insight to change their hiring process, where arguably, it matters most.

Your hiring process is your first impression – so make it a good one!

What steps can your business take to ensure your hiring process is a level playing field for all candidates?

Use gender-neutral language in your job adverts

“We’re looking for a salesman to create aggressive growth and lead our fearless sales team”.

I’m sure you’ve seen something like the above before in a job description. Believe it or not, there are three words in that sentence that make it immediately male-bias.

  • Salesman
  • Aggressive
  • Fearless

The word ‘Salesman’ focuses on the male gender. This immediately excludes any other gender from feeling included, thus massively limiting the talent pool.

A more inclusive title would be ‘Salesperson’ or ‘Sales Representative’.

Next, we have the words ‘aggressive’ and ‘fearless’. Research suggests that certain words are more appealing to different genders. In this case, ‘aggressive’ and ‘fearless’ are more male-bias. Ultimately, other genders are less likely to apply.

ZipRecruiter found that gender-neutral job adverts receive up to 42% more applications than their biased counterparts.

Top tip: Take a thorough look through your current job adverts. Swap any gender-bias titles and words with gender-neutral alternatives.

For instant results on gender bias in your job ads, use free software like this ‘Gender Bias Decoder’.

Tackle unconscious bias with blind screening

Some hiring processes are majorly flawed – wouldn’t it be great if candidates weren’t automatically turned away because of their ethnicity, gender, and parental status?

Both the society we live in and the UK job market hugely favour white British job seekers: minority ethnic applicants have to send in around 80% more CVs to get a job interview than a white person of British origin.

People with Pakistani, Chinese or Indian-sounding names are 28% less likely to be invited to a job interview than those with English-sounding names.

Women with children are almost 36% less likely to be called for a job interview than men.

Blind screening is a method within the hiring process to tackle any biases, whether conscious or unconscious. Candidates’ personal information is concealed to prevent influencing decisions.

Details hidden to avoid bias may include:

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Previous employers
  • Colleges and universities attended

Recruitment tools like Recruit are a fantastic way to create blind screening processes and establish a fairer hiring process for all candidates.

Do your interview panel need training?

According to CV-Library, almost 30% of UK workers want interviewers to have better training; no matter how much experience hiring managers have, they can always improve.

With a new generation storming their way into the workplace (Gen Z, we’re looking at you!), interviewers must know how to conduct interviews appropriately for different people within the workplace.

Top tip: offer managers unconscious bias training. A bite-sized, interactive course will help managers understand what unconscious bias is, how they can tackle it within themselves, and ways hiring processes can be unfairly altered by unconscious bias.

Recommended training:

  • How to give honest feedback effectively
  • Preparing for an interview (questions, time management, the ins and outs of the company culture, etc)
  • Avoiding discriminatory questions (“Are you planning on having children?” is a classic!)

Review your hiring process and get honest feedback

Now’s your chance to really look at your hiring strategy.

Go through your hiring process with a fine-tooth comb. Get others around the organisation to give you the pros, the cons and the downright gritty details about how your hiring process works – or doesn’t work.

Do your interviewers seem prepared? Are you sharing vacancies on the right social channels to reach the right people? Is the language in the job description too gender-biased? Are you offering feedback to candidates? Better yet – are you getting feedback from candidates?

Conduct the research. Consolidate your findings. Adjust your hiring process.

We’ve got so much more to show you…

Our new eBook focuses on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace – and it has your name on it!

Discover how to support neurodiverse employees, the fight for LGBTQIA+ in the workplace and, take our quick quiz to see how inclusive your workplace really is.

Grab a free copy now

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Written by Mara Swann

Mara has a passion for promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion across global workplaces and hopes to inspire learners to focus on their own careers with self-directed learning content.


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