Are you looking to create a more diverse and welcoming workplace? Start with inclusive hiring practices. An open and inviting recruitment process can go a long way in creating an equitable environment — and help you find the most qualified talent available.
Inclusive hiring, an essential element of a diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy, takes your talent acquisition practice to the next level. You need a diverse workforce to build a successful business, and inclusive hiring practices help you get there.
Here's a look at why inclusive hiring practices are so important and how you can get started.
What Is Inclusive Hiring?
Inclusive hiring refers to the process of managing bias when recruiting and hiring job candidates. This means employers are creating an environment where job seekers from diverse backgrounds feel welcome and are given equal opportunities to apply and be considered for a job.
Inclusive hiring strives to prevent discrimination based on factors such as race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, and disability. Practices such as blind hiring and standardized interview questions also can help employers create a more diverse and inclusive hiring process.
Why Is Inclusive Hiring Important?
Inclusive hiring is important because it helps attract a more diverse slate of candidates that reflects the makeup of your community. Achieving greater workplace diversity means your organization enjoys a wider array of perspectives and builds human connection, leading to more creativity, better decision-making, and improved business outcomes. A diverse, inclusive workforce also can position companies to better understand customer needs and wants.
Beyond attracting candidates, inclusive hiring practices produce a fairer hiring process where candidates are assessed based on their skills and ability to perform in the role. Each candidate deserves a fair shot at a job opening, regardless of differences in their identities and backgrounds.
6 Barriers to Inclusive Hiring
Barriers to inclusive hiring refer to any bias or obstacle that limits access to jobs for underrepresented groups. Barriers can exist in the form of recruitment policies, workplace culture, and other systemic issues that hinder diversity in the workplace. Consider some of the barriers to a successful diversity recruiting strategy in your organization.
Unconscious Bias in Hiring
Unconscious bias in hiring can result in decisions influenced by preconceived notions or stereotypes, rather than evaluating each applicant's qualifications and merit. Such biases can foster hiring choices that don’t mirror a diverse range of applicants, resulting in a uniform workforce.
Additionally, unconscious bias may influence how hiring managers evaluate candidates from various backgrounds. For example, a hiring manager may be biased toward someone with an educational background similar to their own, even if their formal education has no bearing on their ability to perform the job.
Job Description Language and Accessibility
How your job description is written can create a barrier to inclusive hiring if some otherwise qualified candidates can’t easily understand and interpret the requirements. Additionally, if a job description is only available in one language, this could exclude potential candidates who may not be fluent in that language.
Lack of Diversity in Recruitment Channels
Lack of diversity in recruitment channels can be a barrier to inclusive hiring because it limits the pool of potential candidates to a narrow demographic. For example, if a company only recruits graduate candidates from elite private universities, it’s far less likely to attract candidates from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds.
Culture Fit Over Skill Fit
Prioritizing culture fit over skill fit in hiring can be a barrier to inclusive hiring because it can lead to a homogenous workplace where only certain types of people are hired. This can limit the potential of the organization and can stifle innovation. If a hiring manager hires someone because they’re similar to the rest of the team, they’re missing out on an opportunity to introduce new ideas and perspectives.
Lack of Inclusive Hiring Processes
Inclusive hiring processes help ensure that all applicants have an equal opportunity to be considered for job positions, regardless of their race, gender, religion, age, disability, or ethnicity. Requiring a formal four-year degree for an entry-level position, for example, may exclude dozens of perfectly qualified, diverse applicants who may not have had access to a college education. Using a variety of screening processes, like assessments, on the other hand, ensures that all applicants have a fair opportunity to showcase their skills and qualifications.
Onboarding falls under the hiring process, too, and requires an intentional effort to be inclusive. Designing onboarding for multi-generational hires, for example, helps you consider ways to make everyone feel welcome during the onboarding process, regardless of their age.
Overreliance on Referrals
Many employers encourage job referrals from their workforce, but if your employee base isn’t diverse, too many referrals can exacerbate this problem. It also can lead to a lack of access to knowledge and experience from other backgrounds that could benefit the company.
5 Inclusive Recruiting Practices for a Diverse Workforce
By embracing diversity in the recruitment process, businesses can create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all employees. Here are six best practices to get you started with inclusive recruitment and hiring.
Targeted Advertising to Diverse Candidates
Targeted advertising can help employers reach out to a larger pool of diverse candidates, which can increase the chances of finding the perfect candidate for a role. Posting jobs on specialized job boards, like The Mom Project, which targets candidates who are mothers, helps you attract specific candidate populations. Similarly, hosting job fairs at historically Black and Hispanic universities can help you attract more diverse teams.
Inclusive Job Descriptions
Job descriptions should accurately reflect the qualifications and skills needed for the role and avoid any assumptions about the experiences a candidate may have. Write them in clear, concise, and neutral language. Only include job functions in the posting to prevent potential discrimination. Heavy lifting isn’t an essential job function if it’s only occasionally required, for instance, and shouldn’t automatically exclude candidates with physical disabilities if you can reasonably accommodate them.
Diverse Interview Panels
A diverse interview panel can better rate candidates on an unbiased basis, as different perspectives can help identify and address unconscious biases. Spreading the decision-making authority across a diverse group helps you achieve more objective selection decisions since each panelist has to align on criteria for their decision.
Unconscious Bias Training
Unconscious bias training also can help employers recognize any potential bias that may influence their decision-making processes and provide them with strategies to address it. The training can help create more equitable hiring practices that allow employers to make decisions that aren't based on preconceived notions or stereotypes but rather on the candidate’s merit and qualifications.
Once you understand that everyone brings biases to their decisions — and where those biases are most likely to creep in — you can design intentional processes for overcoming them. A set of standardized interview questions designed to elicit information about a candidate’s ability to perform in the role, for example, keeps the interview process more objective than if hiring managers ask each candidate different questions.
Accessible Hiring Processes
Accessible hiring practices can support inclusive hiring by removing barriers to the hiring process. This may include providing reasonable accommodations for job interviews, such as making remote interviews available for those who might not be able to travel to the office. Think deeply about the type of support different candidates need. Neurodivergent candidates, for example, may require support from a buddy to navigate the hiring process or a greater reliance on objective assessment information than traditional interview processes.
How Can HR Software Facilitate Inclusive Hiring?
HR software can help organizations create a more inclusive workplace by streamlining hiring processes and providing tools to ensure equitable decision-making practices. By leveraging the power of technology, HR software can help HR teams make hiring decisions that promote diversity and create a more equitable workplace.
Reduces Bias in Screening Processes
HR software can reduce bias in candidate screening processes by ranking applicants’ skills and abilities against a shared set of objective criteria, minimizing the potential for human bias. Additionally, HR software can help track your hiring processes to make sure that they’re fair and inclusive of different types of people.
Supports Blind Hiring
Blind hiring is a recruitment process that minimizes bias by removing a candidate's name, gender, age, and other personal information from resumes and applications. Automating the initial screening of resumes can reduce bias by removing these personal identifying characteristics.
Embeds Skills-Based Assessments
HR software can embed skills-based assessments by letting users create and customize assessments tailored to the specific job role or skills they are looking for. By integrating assessments into the HR software, users can quickly and easily assess the skills and knowledge of their applicants to ensure the best candidate is chosen for the job. Selecting candidates based on their objective qualifications rather than how hiring managers feel about them results in more effective hires — and higher employee retention.
Promotes the Candidate Experience
HR software can improve the candidate experience by providing a centralized platform for communication between recruiters and candidates and by automating the onboarding and hiring processes. One way to use such platforms is by sending timely automated emails to candidates with updates on their application status, interview notifications, and other important information.
Power Business Results Through Diversity
By implementing diversity hiring best practices, you can attract the right talent and create a workforce that's both diverse and productive. By creating an environment that's open to all, you have an opportunity to tap into a wealth of knowledge and skills that can add value to your organization. This can lead to increased productivity, improved employee morale, and, ultimately, a more successful business.
Through inclusive hiring, companies can open up opportunities to candidates from different backgrounds, abilities, and perspectives, which can create a more unified workforce. By creating a workforce that's diverse and connected, companies can benefit from increased productivity and innovation.
Want to learn more? Discover three kinds of connections that cultivate belonging.