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Tips on Hiring for an Inclusive Workplace

Posted by Keith Van Auken on Nov 22, 2019 9:00:00 AM

In ICS insights, client, Hiring Tips

You need much more than a diversity statement on your website or job posts if you hope to create an inclusive workplace. Hiring for inclusivity requires you as an employer to engage with candidates who can offer the right balance of skills, attitude, and potential for growth, regardless of where they come from. Hence, your recruitment should include crafting a hiring process that attracts and welcomes a diverse range of candidates from different communities. Here are several tips you can follow to ensure that you are hiring for an inclusive workplace:

Make Your Entry Point Diverse

As you look to hire talented candidates, try to consider posting job openings on different websites. If you only post open positions on sites within your area of expertise (AngelList for startups, for example), chances are you'll only get like-minded individuals and won't be able to expand your team's diversity. Remember that most people searching for jobs may be looking through broad search engines, leading them to Indeed or LinkedIn. So, it is crucial to cast a wide net to get access to a diverse pool of talent. You may also want to consider posting to college and community job boards, or even reaching out to industry-specific job boards. There are many ways available to broaden your search for potential team members. By breaking out into new communities, you have a better chance to get unique employees who can help you cultivate an inclusive workplace culture.

Be Careful with Your Language

Save the words "ninja" or "rockstar" for your company event themes, but when hiring, better if you can avoid words and phrases that may be deemed offensive or aggressive and can scare off potential candidates. Studies have revealed that aggressive phrases may reduce the number of women who will apply to your open positions. Thus, it might be more fitting instead to craft a direct and descriptive posting. Also, consider using gender-neutral language when explaining the role and responsibilities. If you are specific and clear in the job posting, then you can gain interest from highly skilled yet more diverse applicants.

Re-Examine Your Check List

Hiring for diversity requires a level of commitment to searching far-and-wide for the right candidate. To achieve this, you should ensure that the criteria listed in the job description are updated and relevant to your company setting. Avoid copying from your previous postings or other websites; you have to tailor fit the criteria to the company's needs. Ask: Do your open roles really depend on a degree or certification? How much experience do applicants need? Are all of the listed criteria non-negotiable for the role? Or the candidate can make up for something they lack after onboarding? By questioning your current criteria, you can identify which skills and requirements are imperative and which you can mark as optional. Think of also limiting the "checkbox" requirements for applying, so you can be more open to different unique applicants.

Maintain a Timeline

Apart from working on revising your job descriptions, you should also have a clear timeline for the hiring process. Rather than maintaining a rolling evaluation process, you can leave the application window open for a certain amount of time, then close it once you begin evaluating applicants. Above all, you should explicitly tell candidates about the timeline by including it in your job post. This will provide every applicant with an equal opportunity to submit their resume and help your team avoid settling for an early applicant.

Reduce the Bias

Once you have created a pool of resumes, make sure to remove any aspect that may result in bias during the review process. For example, omit indicators of ethnicity, gender, or race by eliminating uses of he or she, or even names of sorority or fraternity affiliations. Likewise, you can also remove the names of schools, colleges, and former employers to reduce the emotional favor and prestige attached to them. Consider reformatting cover letters and resumes to a uniform style to avoid visual bias and let the hiring team focus on only the content (such as past roles, skills, etc.) This will require dedication from your review team, but it will help equal the playing field. These steps will equip you in moving towards an inclusive workplace culture.

Rely on a Competency-Based Approach During Interviews

This interviewing style is also commonly referred to as behavioral interviewing. Through it, the interviewer focuses on asking the applicant about their skills and values. If you want to implement this form of interviewing, you have to take into account the candidates' skills necessary for success with your company, anything they need to be competent in, and also how they will need to interact with others to build relationships. You can assemble a review team that offers a diverse representation of your business. By including employees from every company unit that's involved in performing the job, you can gather valuable insights and agree on the best decision. You must ensure that the selection team is adequately briefed to focus on the candidates' skills and whether their values fit with your company during the interview. This is essential in hiring for diversity and onboarding workers who align with your company's culture.

That said, the culture of your company toward inclusiveness cannot change overnight. If you feel challenged to uncover highly competent candidates who can help you create an inclusive workplace, let Infinity Consulting Solutions (ICS) help you. Get started today with your search by clicking the link below!

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