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7 Steps to an Inclusive Hiring Process

Does your company have an inclusive hiring process? Here are 7 key steps to help you hire diverse talent.

6 minutes

4th of March, 2022 Adecco

Is your company implementing an inclusive hiring process? Take a look at these 7 key steps to make sure you’re finding diverse talent.

diverse workforce

Diversity and inclusion strategies have become popular over the last couple of years, and their use and implementation in workplaces across Canada have been accelerated during the pandemic. Some studies show that diverse workforces are more creative, efficient and innovative than their non-diverse counterparts. HR leaders believe that developing an inclusive workplace can help companies grow and perform better.

When it comes to areas of a company that can benefit from inclusion, the hiring process is no exception. In fact, it might be the first place you want to re-assess. Hiring from a diverse talent pool is the first step towards an inclusive workplace that’s equipped to compete in the marketplace.

If your organization is struggling to recruit diverse talent, it could be that your hiring process needs a make-over. In this article, we identify 7 key steps to developing an inclusive hiring process that will help you attract, recruit and retain top talent.

Define the needs of your hiring process

When you have a job vacancy at your organization, it’s important to understand the kind of person you need to fill it. This will help you to evaluate every candidate the same way and avoid any unconscious bias during the hiring process.

You can do this by defining the kind of professional behaviours and skills you’re looking for in a candidate. It’s important to be realistic about your expectations. Making a long list of 20+ characteristics that your ideal candidate absolutely must meet is not realistic. Think about what skills are most essential to the job at hand, and keep those on the shortlist of must-haves.

Don’t forget to take into account your company culture, though. Will this candidate fit into your organization and be able to work alongside others from day one? Don’t overlook the interpersonal aspect of the work, as it’s just as important as your candidate’s skillset and work experience!

Attract diverse talent with inclusive job descriptions

Once you understand what you need from your candidate, you’re ready to write an inclusive job description (p.s. detailed job descriptions are also included in our guide to recruiting qualified talent). This should be a detailed guideline rather than an intimidating list of concrete requirements.

You can write an inclusive job description by using neutral and easy-to-understand language. Avoid industry jargon or acronyms that the candidate might not understand if they are not a native English speaker.

Writing job descriptions with diverse talent in mind means steering clear of language that might only be commonly used by certain demographics. Take the time to think about the person who will be reading the ad.

To pique a job seeker’s interest in your organization, talk about the importance of the role in the wider context of the company. This allows candidates to gain a better understanding of the meaning behind the role and the impact they’ll have if they’re hired.

Widen your search to source diverse talent

When you put your job vacancy out into the world, make sure it reaches a wide enough audience so that a diverse range of applicants see it. This is a fundamental piece of an inclusive hiring process!

To ensure you’re casting a wide enough net, you might need to think outside of the box when promoting your open positions. Local organizations that help minorities find work like youth employment programs and female leadership organizations are the kind of groups that could help you reach a more diverse candidate pool, either online or with job boards at physical locations.

Design inclusivity into the hiring process

An inclusive hiring process doesn’t happen by accident. Inclusivity happens when it’s an intentionally designed approach to candidate search and hire. Your organization must purposefully seek talent regardless of background, culture, gender and other factors.

Achieve this by taking the time to train your HR team on inclusive interviewing (learn more about inclusive interviewing here). Believe it or not, many traditional interview evaluation criteria penalize cultural differences. If your recruiters know what these disadvantages can be, they’ll be able to look past the status quo to see what soft, technical and digital skills the candidate has to offer.

Create a diverse hiring team

Once your hiring process has been designed and set up inclusively, you can start thinking about which candidates should move through to the final stages of talent selection.

An important part of an inclusive hiring process is being mindful of biases. Phenomena like confirmation bias and halo effect bias should be avoided by implementing a more structured recruitment strategy. For example, you may consider involving a range of hiring managers and HR professionals rather than just one recruiter in the hiring process. A collective hiring decision is more likely to be inclusive and equitable than one made by a single person.

Create a panel of decision-makers who can review candidates together and come to a more objective conclusion as to who gets the job and who doesn’t. This panel should be well informed about each candidate and have access to their resumes, work experience and results from previous interview stages.

Inclusive interviews are consistent interviews

The job interview is one of the most important parts of the inclusive hiring process for candidates and employers alike. That means you should put extra effort into making interviews inclusive and objective.

Interviews should be carried out consistently across different candidates to avoid giving job seekers a different or unbalanced experience. This ensures that all candidates have an equal opportunity to show why they’re right for the job. Ask the same questions to all candidates, offer them the same amount of interview time and give them the same resources and information beforehand.

A pre-established scorecard may help you evaluate a candidate. By writing down the skills and experiences that you’re looking for, you make it easier for interviewers to evaluate people objectively. Here are a few ideas of what you could include on your scorecard:

  • What skills are we rating the candidate on?
  • What are the candidate’s strengths?
  • What are the candidate’s weaknesses?
  • Is the candidate well suited to the company culture?
  • What sets this candidate apart from others?

Accessibility is a huge area of improvement in many companies when it comes to job interviews. Does your candidate have a disability? Is your candidate able to attend an interview during working hours? Does your candidate have access to childcare on the day of the interview?

Your candidates may have accessibility issues or may have specific needs that you have a responsibility to help them with if you want to build an inclusive hiring process. Be mindful of this fact and ask your candidates whether they need special accommodations to make the interview possible.

Continually reassess your hiring process

Improvement in inclusivity doesn’t happen overnight. Change happens incrementally, by continually re-assessing your processes.

Think about the way you portray your organization in your job posts, during interviews and at other points during the process. Are you being welcoming to a wide range of job seekers?

Maintain continuous communication with candidates so that they’re well informed about the status of their job applications. Offer feedback to unsuccessful candidates so they’re aware of the reasons they weren’t hired and are better prepared for their job search in the future.

Is your hiring process unnecessarily complex? If so, then candidates may be discouraged from applying or continuing to later stages of the selection process.

If you regularly evaluate and adapt your hiring process with these points in mind, you’re well on your way to an inclusive workplace.

Hiring help is here

The Canadian job market in 2022 is more competitive than ever. By implementing the 7 steps that we’ve outlined in this blog post, you’ll have a better chance of finding top talent and growing a diverse company. For more expert employer tips from the Adecco Canada team, check out our other blog posts!