Introducing Inclusive Hiring Practices Into Your Company's Hiring Process
As with all decisions in life, the corporate hiring process can be persuaded by unconscious biases—these biases are something we ask Boundless Awareness clients to work to disassemble both in the workshop and in their daily lives. However, we understand that some biases may (re)appear when an individual is asked to make a high-stakes decision, such as when asked to judge employee applications. And as more companies turn to Artificial Intelligence (AI) programs to write and post job descriptions and more quickly screen large numbers of applicants, the more covert corporate bias becomes.
In the effort to build a company culture that espouses diversity, equity, and inclusion, hiring teams should consider implementing inclusive hiring practices in their onboarding process.
Inclusive hiring is the “process [of] actively recogniz[ing] diversity and embrac[ing] a wide range of qualities and perspectives that candidates bring to the organization,” and understands that diversity comes from a group rather than a single person. This process also pays as much attention to skill as it does background—it considers how previously unrecognized skills can be accommodated for and used to enhance company performance.
Below are some steps you can take to introduce inclusivity in your next employee search:
Make Advertisements Accessible - Where does your company post its job openings? Online via job search websites? Stuck onto a café’s corkboard? Wherever it may be, consider how your current advertisement might inadvertently exclude certain groups of people. Not everyone has access to a stable internet connection or a computer, nor does everyone have access to cafés. So how might your company make its application more accessible to commonly ignored crowds?
Use Inclusive Language in Job Descriptions - When writing job descriptions, use language that doesn’t exclude any group of persons—avoid using gendered pronouns when outlining responsibilities.
Do: employees should be able to lift more than 50lbs of merchandise.
Don’t: he/she should be able to lift more than 50lbs of merchandise.
Additionally, consider noting the company’s willingness to make reasonable accommodations to certain responsibilities (i.e. lifting certain amounts of weight or standing for extended periods of time), and follow through on these accommodations!
Conduct an Inclusive Interview - Before the interview period, build a panel of interviewers that mirrors the applicant pool and train them in diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI) skills. Additionally, consider preparing a set bank of questions to ask each applicant. Doing so will prevent interviewers from (un)knowingly relying on language and questions that might be biased to the current interviewee.
Offer Career Opportunities to all Interviewees - Make sure all interviewees are aware of any mentorship, training, and internal recruiting programs the company has—don’t limit these programs to any single position/hierarchy level. All employees should be able to seek greater opportunities within the company.
Promote and Maintain Inclusivity in Company Culture - Inclusivity must continue beyond the interviews. Build a company culture that stresses DEI and addresses any barriers to employee success.
Hiring is a stressful and demanding process, but taking the necessary steps to eliminate the unconscious bias in your company's hiring practices will benefit all current and potential employees. In doing so, you also signal to your clients that your company is open and accessible to all.